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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Galen Rogers



Howdy all. I have a question regarding my rating approved for both of my knees. Originally the VA granted service connection for my right knee torn meniscus and subsequent repair (10% - DC 5259).  My current claim requested an increased rating for my right knee due to increased problems with it. I also requested secondary connection of my left knee due to a fall caused by my right knee giving out. They granted the left knee request at 10% and they left the right knee at 10%. I read on one of the VA law blogs that the BVA has ruled that we can get rated for multiple DCs for our knees if the meet the requirements of each one. I'm planning on submitting a NOD to disagree with the 10% for a single DC. I plan to state the right knee should be rated 10% under DC 5259 for the original medial meniscus tear repair, and 20% under DC 5258 for additional tears to both the medial and lateral meniscus caused by numerous falls by my knee giving out. I have the 2001 original MRI and the current one showing the increased damage.

I also plan to state that I disagree with only the 10% for the left knee due to pain and reduced motion. Not sure which DC they actually used for that one. I will state that I should be given that 10% and also an additional and separate 20% under DC 5258 for the various tears in the left knee meniscus. 

Both knees currently have effusion into the joint, have frequent episodes of locking, and painful motion. 

Finally the decision letter actually confirms I have "degenerative arthritis" in both knees and then states I am not entitled to the higher 20% rating for it so I will also challenge that. 

Should I also add that I should get the additional and separate 20% for the degenerative arthritis und DC 5003?

VA Claim Decision Ltr 08 Nov 2018.PDF

Redacted Right knee New & Old MRI Details.docx

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1 hour ago, broncovet said:

Ok.  Make sure you understand, we dont get paid for a "diagnosis".  While a diagnosis is one of the required Caluza elements, we get paid on "symptoms" not diagnosis.  

"Pain" is a symptom.  "Loss of range of motion" is a symptom.  "loss of use" is a symptom.  

Pyramiding prevents getting paid for a symptom, for the same joint or body part, twice.  

Disorders that are "asymptomatic" (that is, with a diagnosis, but no symptoms) are almost always rated, if at all, at zero percent.  

We dont get paid for suffering an injury in service.  Instead, we get paid for the symptoms this injury may have caused us, on a more permanent bases.  

As an example, I fractured my leg in service.  Do I get paid for that?  Nope.  However, if this fracture develops arthritis in that joint, has painful scars that have not healed properly, or it causes a loss of range of motion preventing me from earning a living, then that is what is compensable.  If you read the schedule of rating disabiliities, you will see that there is a direct relationship between the amount and degree of symptoms, and the disability percentage.  No symptoms equates to no compensation.  Multiple, severe, devastating symptoms garner the higher disability ratings, usually up to and including 100 percent if those symptoms prevent you from maintaining substantial gainful employment, that is, from working.  

I agree. VA Symptomology 101 is in session.

Which is why it's also always beneficial to keep building medical evidence for symptoms related to SC conditions or secondary conditions.

Edited by doc25

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Sorry to hear of your knee issues. I have had 2 major knee surgeries, and in fact need them both replaced. Since I am in my 30s Doc recommended to wait another 10 yrs to get them done. Both SC and well documented with multiple X rays and MRIs and as you can see I only get 10% for Each. For some reason when it comes to the joints, the VA raters do not like to rate them hi. In fact you are lucky that the VA SC both knees. Most Vets have a hard enough time getting 1 SC. Good luck and wish you the best. God Bless

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Thanks for the responses. From everything I have read the raters try to not follow their own rules on what is and isn't pyramiding.  There are DCs for the knees that you actually can be rated for at the same time. Everything I have read is that these claims never get rated that way and you have to file a NOD, get additional medical support, and then hope the next guy up who first reviews the NOD will follow the rules. If not then on to the BVA. They figure most of us will just give up and accept what we get especially since our VSO rep is probably pushing us hard to accept it. Navy04 good luck with your knees and eventually surgery. I'm 62 and looking at that for both knees but much sooner.

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