Who Va Form 21
VA instructions on this form advise those submitting a claim for increased disability compensation or for those who disagree with an evaluation decided more than one year ago to complete and submit VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. But not all can use this form.
Those who disagree with a VA evaluation decided within the past year and have new and relevant evidence OR for those who need to file a supplemental claim, will need to file VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim.
Tdiu For Hearing Loss
If your service-connected conditions prevent you from working, you may be entitled to total disability based on individual unemployability . For example, if you need full range of hearing for your job , and your hearing loss impacts your ability to work, you can explain that issue to VA. It is important to note that you can also have multiple service-connected conditions where hearing loss is only one of them, but the effects of hearing loss can be positive evidence in favor of entitlement to TDIU.
References For Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Australia. Department of Veterans Affairs: medical research in relation to the Statement of Principles concerning Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which cites the following as references:
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How Do They Determine The Severity Of Hearing Loss
There are two different hearing tests that are used to evaluate how bad your hearing loss is and whether or not you can make a VA disability claim.
The first test is called the Maryland CNC test and tests your ability to hear spoken words.
The second test is a pure tone audiometry test, which checks your ability to hear different frequencies ranging from high to low. Both ears are tested even if youre only suffering from hearing loss in one of them and they should be performed by a licensed audiologist.
Next, the VA analyzes the results of these tests and uses a formula to assign a rating to your hearing loss through a percent disability rating. This rating ranges from 0 to 100 percent in increments of 10. The higher to number, the more disability benefits youre entitled to. Minor hearing loss is typically assigned 0 which is no compensation or 10% which is a small amount every month. Obviously, the higher your rating, the less likely it is you can support yourself so more severe disabilities receive increasing levels of assistance and benefits. If you have a rating of 30% or higher, your dependents may also be qualified for coverage since you are likely unable to work enough to support them.
Remember, hearing loss severity is determined by how well your ears function together. The tests monitor overall hearing, not one ear at a time. If you have severe hearing loss in one ear but your other ear isnt as bad, your disability will likely not be rated as high.
Treatment For Hearing Loss
According to the VA, there are two types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is due to damage to the eardrum and middle ear structures. It is reversible with medication or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear and auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is permanent but can be reduced with the use of hearing aids.
Patients might even experience both types of hearing loss.
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There Are 2 Types Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects about a third of U.S. citizens between the ages of 65 and 75. About half of adults over 75 have some form of hearing loss. People with hearing loss may notice that speech seems more muffled, they have trouble hearing consonants, they have trouble understanding words, and they have to turn up the volume on the television or radio.
There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss involves your outer and/or middle ear and may be caused by everything from excessive earwax to abnormal bone growths. Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear, and mixed hearing loss involves a combination of the two.
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Veterans Hearing Loss And Tinnitus Claims
Hearing loss is a common lasting effect of active service in the military, as at minimum all active duty personnel must undergo basic training that exposes soldiers, sailors, and airmen to live fire. Veterans who have spent time on active duty may have also endured loud explosions, wounds that affect the ear canals, or trauma resulting from violent blows to the head.
As a result, many veterans now suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus that is traceable to their time on active duty. Fortunately, you can pursue a physical condition claim for veterans compensation benefits if you currently have hearing loss or tinnitus because of your service even if you do not have an official diagnosis. A knowledgeable member of our team could help you pursue your veterans hearing loss and tinnitus claim or appeal by explaining the qualifying criteria for the program, helping you file a claim, and pursuing an appeal if you have already received a denial.
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Establishing Direct Service Connection For Hearing Or Vision Problems
To qualify for disability benefits for a visual or auditory problem caused by service on the basis of direct service connection, you need to prove the condition was caused by your military duty. The following must be established to prove the disability is service-connected:
- a current diagnosis of a hearing or vision condition
- evidence of an event in service that caused the condition, and
- a medical opinion linking the current vision or hearing condition to the event in service.
References For Conductive Hearing Loss
Australia. Department of Veterans Affairs: medical research in relation to the Statement of Principles concerning Conductive Hearing Loss, which cites the following as references:
- Date modified:
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Va Ratings For Disabilities
Veterans may be entitled to compensation for disabilities they develop during their time in active service. The task of determining how much money veterans receive goes to the VA. By using a percentage-based rating system ranging from 0-100 using increments of 10 , the VA decides upon a disability rating that encompasses all of an individuals conditions. These ratings depend on the severity of a disability, which part of the body is affected, and how much of a hindrance the disability is to an individuals daily life.
How Does Va Rate Hearing Loss
Once service connection is established, VA will assign a disability rating based on severity. Specifically, VA takes the results of veterans pure tone threshold test and averages it for each ear. To do so, VA uses a grid chart with different frequencies and lines up the thresholds, using the Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Puretone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination, to determine a Roman numeral designation for hearing impairment based on a combination of the percent of speech discrimination and the puretone threshold average . The Roman numeral is located at the point where the percentage of speech discrimination and puretone threshold average intersect.
Veterans can find the above-mentioned intersection using the table below. To do so, veterans should first find the Roman numeral going down the left side for the ear that has greater auditory function. Next, veterans should locate the Roman numeral of the ear with less auditory functioning, which can be found across the top of the table. Finally, veterans should locate the rating where the two Roman numerals intersect Please note that VA rates both ears together, resulting in only one rating for hearing loss.
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If You Don’t Have Hearing Loss Until You Are Older
If you don’t suffer hearing loss until many years after leaving the service, don’t assume that you will be denied benefits on the basis that your hearing loss is related to your age. If you can show that you were exposed to loud noise during service, you may still be able to establish service connection for your hearing loss.
What Is The Average Va Compensation For Hearing Loss
According to Veterans United, the average veteran receives $435 per month at a 30% disability rating.
Meanwhile, the same veteran at a 50% disability rating would receive nearly $900 per month.
The VA determines your disability rating after a medical review of the condition and the compensation levels are subject to change.
Moreover, the compensation rates do change based on the number of dependents.
For example, a veteran claiming a spouse only will receive less in monthly disability compared to a veteran with a spouse and other dependents.
Contact a VA representative for more information on the claims process and potential disability payouts.
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Risk Factors Of Hearing Problems
Aging increases your chances of developing hearing loss, but certain genetic properties may also place you at higher risk for hearing loss even from the time youre born. Certain diseases that produce a high fever can also cause damage to your inner ear, leaving you susceptible to hearing loss. And if medications like Viagra and specific antibiotics can cause damage to your inner ear.
Loud noise exposure can come from either professional or personal noises. It will come as no surprise to you that veterans, who are exposed to everything from gunfire to explosions, often with no hearing protection, are at higher risk of hearing loss. Hobbies like carpentry, motorcycling, snowmobiling, and listening to loud music can also cause damage to your inner ear.
Of 10 Common Va Disability Claims: Limitation Of Flexion Knee
Based on the latest 2018-2019 VA data, Limitation of Flexion of the Knee was the #5 most common VA disability claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.
92.2% of Veterans are rated between 0% and 20%.
Musculoskeletal system conditions include issues with joints and muscles and must involve limitation of range of motion and/or painful motion.
Symptoms associated with musculoskeletal system conditions include limitation of range of motion , painful motion, arthritis, weakness, easily fatigued, loss of power, lack of coordination and decreased movement control.
Musculoskeletal disabilities can also be filed as secondary VA disability claims, and can be caused or made worse any of the following conditions: medication side effects, depression and anxiety, PTSD, TBI, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder , right side of body injuries affect left side of body and spine, neck, back, hips, arms, legs, and feet, among others.
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Va Ratings For Hearing Loss: The Basics
Hearing loss issues that may be service-connected, and hearing loss issues that are aggravated by military service can be found in the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities, also known by the official title, 38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
There are many reasons why a veteran might need to file a hearing-related VA medical claim aside from tinnitus or loss of hearing or degradation of hearing. These include the following described by the Department of Veterans Affairs as ear disabilities:
- Cancer in the ear
- Inner ear problems that cause dizziness, referred to as peripheral vestibular disorders
- The loss of one or both ears
- Perforated eardrums
- Menieres syndrome or endolymphatic hydrops
- Peripheral vestibular disorder
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
- Chronic otitis externa
- Chronic suppurative otitis media
- Chronic nonsuppurative otitis media
That is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a good example of the types of issues that face many vets. Ear-related issues can also include certain infections, it is best to consult with a doctor to learn which conditions may or may not apply to you.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes hearing loss that may be reversible through medical procedures and the kind of hearing-related medical problems that may be irreversible or managed only through hearing aids. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders maintains that one in five Americans who need hearing aids actually uses the devices.
How Is Hearing Loss Defined
Hearing loss is defined as any degree of hearing impairment of the ability to comprehend sound. If you are diagnosed with both hearing loss and tinnitus, you may be entitled to one separate rating for hearing loss and another separate rating for tinnitus.
The following is needed to establish service connection for VA disability:
Along with the list above, two types of hearing tests are needed to prove a claim for hearing loss. These tests will include a controlled speech discrimination test and a pure tone audiometry test. The Maryland CNC test is a particular word list that is used to test your ability to hear spoken words. A pure tone audiometry test is different tones that must be detected at varying frequencies . Even if you only claim hearing loss in one ear, both ears should be tested. Examinations will be conducted without the use of hearing aids. This will prevent any biased results. These tests should be performed by a state licensed audiologist.
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This Veterans Case For An Extra Schedular Rating For Va Disability Hearing Loss
The Veteran a field artillery guy like myself had bilateral hearing loss that the VA service-connected. Even though his hearing loss had a profound impact on his ability to function in the world, the VA assigned him a 0% rating.
So the Veteran appealed. Ultimately, the case worked its way up to the BVA and CAVC. The VA and the BVA focused on the impact the hearing loss had on the Veterans employability this factor was largely irrelevant to what the Veteran claimed.
The Veterans Court let the VA know that they used the wrong analysis again in deciding an extra schedular rating. The leading case in this area is Thun v Peake, 22 Vet. App 111 . The Thun case says that when the Veteran claims an extra-schedular rating under 38 CFR 3.321, it must perform the following analysis:
1) First, compare the level of severity of the Veterans actual symptoms and limitations with the established criteria in the VA Impairment Ratings Table.
2) Second, if the Impairment Rating schedule fails to consider the symptoms and limitations that the Veteran is experiencing in reality, the VA is to consider whether those symptoms and limitations include what are called related factors: marked interference with employment, and frequent hospitalizations.
3) Third, if those related factors exist, the claim must be referred to the Under Secretary for Benefits or the Director of VA Compensation Service for a decision as to the proper rating to assign.
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What To Do When The Va Exam Doesnt Adequately Compensate The Symptoms Of Your Hearing Loss
Why? Well, heres how the Veterans Court answered that question in a recent case called Doucette:
Doucette v. Shulkin,
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