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My question: Should all items that impact his disability be listed on the VA Form 21-526EZ? If something is secondary such as pain, that should be listed? BACKGROUND: I need assistance with VA Form 21-526EZ. On page 8 section 13, it asks for the list of disabilities. Does this mean ALL items from his problem list (VA medical records)? For example I can easily extract 20 items from his VA medical problem list BUT the VA Veterans Advisor only posted 4 line items which do NOT give a complete picture. 1. paralysis external nerve (mild) 2. lumoscaral strain (mild) 3. paralysis median nerve (mild) 4. degenerative arthritis of spine (mild) After 10+ years of progressive degeneration, a year ago, we submitted a form for re-evaluation of his service-connected medical conditions. The MRI from the 2009 determination is missing from his records. The comp&pen Dr indicated that it was our responsibility to provide documentation to him on what changed. We assumed that the comp&pen doctor would conduct an exam/order MRI or could extract the information from his records. He also indicated that pain (consistently documented as 9/10) is not a consideration for disability, that it is immaterial to VA. Only one (from the 4 listed) line items was increased 10%. The current MRI indicates his spine has moderate to severe degeneration. The VA Veterans Advisor indicated that we should NOT resubmit again unless we can get a doctors statement specifically indicating which line item has progressed from mild. I have asked the Spinal Cord Injury Primary Care doctor for assistance, provided her with research documentation and she said she would but that was 2 months ago and nothing was put in his records. In advance, thank you
Question: VA Form 21-526EZ page 8 section 13. Should all the items from the VA Problem list (medical records) be included on the form, including secondary problems and other items such as diabetes or ONLY the service connected problems? Post Vietnam, no AO My spouse's condition has deteriorated in the last 10 years and we need to be re-evaluated. Last year, the VA Rep submitted a claim and the Comp&Pen Doctor asked us for an MRI. From there it gets murky trying to get assistance for documentation.
Seems the VA can on occasion consider obesity merely as a "symptom"* and perhaps even the type of symptom that the VA alleges is caused by the Veteran's own willful misconduct of overeating or being inactive so it can deny the claim. However, since the American Medical Association ( AMA ) recently in June of 2013 has officially declared that "obesity is a disease", might that allow disabled veterans whose service connected condition(s) led to excessive weight gain to now find more success claiming obesity as a ratable secondary medical condition or a disease aggravated by the Veteran's service connected condition(s)? *"Obesity Service connection is not warranted for obesity. Claiming service connection for obesity amounts to claiming service connection for a symptom, rather than for an underlying disease or injury which may have caused the symptom. In this respect, obesity, in and of itself, is not a disability for which service connection may be granted. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has defined "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force." See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003), citing Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 901 (29th Ed. 2000). Thus, obesity caused by overeating or lack of exercise is the result of the veteran's own behavior, and as such is not an "injury" as defined for VA purposes. See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (defining "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force"). The Federal Circuit also defined "disease" as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ, or system of the body." Terry, 340 F.3d at 1384, citing Dorland's at 511. Obesity that is not due to an underlying pathology cannot be considered to be due to "disease," defined as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ or system of the body." Id. The body's normal storage of calories for future use represents the body working at what it is designed to do. It is well settled that symptoms alone, without a finding of an underlying disorder, cannot be service-connected. See Sanchez-Benitez v. Principi, 259 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2001)." - from a BVA 2009 Decision ---and--- "Obesity or being overweight, a particularity of body type, alone, is not considered a disability for which service connection may be granted. See generally 38 C.F.R. Part 4 (VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities) (2009) (does not contemplate a separate disability rating for obesity). Rather, applicable VA regulations use the term "disability" to refer to the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from diseases or injuries encountered as a result of or incident to military service. Allen v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 439, 448 (1995); Hunt v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 292, 296 (1991); 38 C.F.R. § 4.1 (2009). The question is thus whether the current obesity is a disability-i.e. a condition causing impairment in earning capacity. In this case, there is no such evidence. The veteran has not asserted that obesity causes impairment of earning capacity; instead he asserts that his obesity has caused other disabilities to manifest. There is also no other evidence that the claimed obesity is a disability. Inasmuch as the Veteran does not have a disability manifested by obesity and obesity is not a disease or disability for which service connection may be granted, the Board concludes that obesity was not incurred in or aggravated by service and may not be presumed to have been so incurred. This claim is not in relative equipoise; therefore, the Veteran may not be afforded the benefit of the doubt in the resolution thereof. Rather, as a preponderance of the evidence is against the claim, it must be denied. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107(b) (West 2002)" - from a 2010 BVA Decision But didn't the VA as early as 2006 already characterize obesity as a disease? "Obesity is a complex and chronic disease that develops from an interaction between the individual’s genotype and the environment." - http://www.healthquality.va.gov/obesity/obe06_final1.pdf "The AMA's decision essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation." - Los Angeles Times http://www.today.com/health/obesity-disease-doctors-group-says-6C10371394