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TropicLightning125

Did Sciatic Paralysis, Neuralgia, or radiculopathy exist as a rating in 2000?

Question

First I'd like to thank all of you for the great assistance you provide! I'm a long time lurker but finally created an account to post this question to the experts today.

Background:

- Discharged from active duty in September 2000

- Participated in a "VA Pilot Program" where you sat with a VA clerk during out-processing to determine any potential disability claims, which were then submitted by the clerk for you.

- In Jan 2001, received a decision letter with the following rating, back dated to my date of discharge: "Service connection for degenerative disease of low back has been established as directly related to military service. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned under diagnostic code 5293. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned if there are mild symptoms associated with intervertebral disc syndrome."

Fast forward to 2018. I experienced a herniated L4-L5 disc and had a (mostly unsuccessful) discectomy . I applied for an increase for my Degenerative Disease of the lower back and for radiculopathy of the sciatic nerve in both legs. My claim was closed in October 2019 with no increase for the Degenerative Disc Disease (a story for another time, but a bad C&P was involved and I've already filed a supplemental), and new secondary ratings for the radiculopathy: 10% Left Leg and 10% Right Leg back dated to my 2018 surgery and the right leg increased for some unknown reason to 20% on the date of my (bad) C&P exam in August 2019.

My question:

In reviewing my original 2000 claim decision letter today, I found this statement listed under FACTS: "MRI findings have revealed degenerative changes and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine. EMG studies have revealed mild chronic recurrent L-4 root irritation."

Keep in mind, at the time of discharge I was only rated for the Degenerative Disc Disease, not any leg/nerve issues, though it is clear from my Service Medical Records I also had recurring leg pain and numbness.

Is it odd that they literally called out the EMG results in my rating decision but did not grant an award for Sciatic Paralysis/Neuralgia/Radiculopathy back in 2000? Based on the current schedule (http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/lowernerves.html) I think the "mild chronic recurrent L-4 root irritation" would have granted a rating of 10% for incomplete partial paralysis (8520) and/or neuralgia (8720). But...did these codes even exist back in 2000? I certainly was not aware or told that the nerve/leg pain was a separate rating. How would I even go about finding out if these diagnostic codes existed in 2000?

In the event there was a rating available for this back in 2000, would this be something that would be eligible for a CUE? Obviously after almost 20 years I'm well outside the window to appeal the decision, but I feel the clear unmistakable evidence is right in the VA's own decision letter, and 20 years of an additional 10% rating makes this worth my time and energy.

Thanks again for all you do!

Edited by TropicLightning125
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2 hours ago, Vync said:

@Richard1954 You can be granted SC for both asthma and COPD, but under pyramiding they would use the higher rating of the two to be factored (as compensable) into your combined disability rating. if one gets worse to warrant a higher rating, consider filing for an increase.

Yes...  in my case I was at 60% for Asthma and 30% for secondary COPD, which never made sense because both were rated based  on the  Pulmonary Functions test... so both should have been 60%.. So when I did the CUE, the VA severed the rating for COPD, but by the time they severed the rating I was already on Oxygen so they increased me to 100% for do to home oxygen use under 6602 Asthma.  However,  Asthma rating do not include a 100% rating for oxygen use.  Technically,  I still hold the 30% for COPD ( and sleep apnea for 50% ) but they are all lumped in together with one rating. Ironically while they severed the separate 30% rating for the COPD  they did not sever the rating  for sleep apnea.  To have 1 rating for 3 issues really suck. While Asthma and COPD overlap, sleep apnea is not a pulmonary disease it is a sleep disorder.  Even though Asthma & COPD do overlap they are completely different diseases. In Asthma after an attack lungs return to normal, in COPD lungs just continue to go downhill, so technically they should not lump any of the three into one rating.  But the VA is going to do what they want to do.  What really gets me upset about this is that the VA doesn't give any consideration to special compensation and that doesn't seem right. Many people with COPD have a 100% rating due to oxygen use, and that is  bad enough, but to have 3 conditions really makes my life harder. The point I am trying to make is that they all have individual challenges yet the VA treats them  as one disease. It just isn't right.....  anyway sorry for the dissertation.  

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I agree with you. I don't believe it is right for the VA to use pyramiding to get out of paying veterans for all disabilities. It would be really nice if the pyramiding rule can eventually get ruled unconstitutional.

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7 hours ago, Vync said:

I agree with you. I don't believe it is right for the VA to use pyramiding to get out of paying veterans for all disabilities. It would be really nice if the pyramiding rule can eventually get ruled unconstitutional.

Maybe I am just the one to challenge the rule... since in my case its so apparent that the rules were designed to prohibit actually disability ratings and compensations.... 

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If they are part of the same system the highest of tha two awards is fair. It's not possible at some level to separate comorbidities and separate which cause what or which contributes to what. I dont think we need to be compensated for every single condition If they are rating the system already with the highest of two or more possible ratings. Just my two cents. Not popular, but that's what it is. They don't have to pay us at all (Obviously there's a contract, but they didn't have to do that, either). I think the service connection is more important. That way if you happen to succumb to it there is potential DIC for your widow or dependents.

Edited by brokensoldier244th

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4 hours ago, brokensoldier244th said:

that way if you happen to succumb to it there is potential DIC for your widow or dependents.

Thankfully  between my TDIU award in 1999, and my 100% award in 2007.... I have  20 years so DIC is not an issue for me... 

In may case separated countable disability ratings are not going to increase my compensation so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter ...but  principally it should matter 

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