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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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Help Getting An Increase



My husband had surgery during active duty on his ankle. He feel out of a tree during some training and broke all the tendons and ligaments in his right ankle. This was in 2001. In 2005 he applied for disability from the VA and got a rating of 10% in 2006. Since then it has been horrible just trying to get anything accomplished with them. He works so much that I've been left doing most of the leg work for him so that he doesn't have to take as much time off of work to do this (the VA takes almost half the day when he goes for an appointment). He wanted to get an increase in his rating to 20% because he feels that 10 just isn't enough.

He had surgery in Sept 2001 to take tendons from his calf to wrap around his ankle to support it. That and some screws are the only thing he has holding his ankle together. As a result of injuring his ankle he has osteoarthritis. As a result of the surgery and the arthritis he was given Naproxen to aid with the daily swelling and pain. The naproxen has gastro side effects (chronic heartburn and chronic diarrhea are his two main problems).

I sent in the paperwork to get an increase and at the end of december last year got a letter stating that one of the gastro side effects (GERD) would not be added as they don't feel it could be related to his LEFT ankle sprain and they added the chronic diarrhea with no rating until it comes with more frequent episodes and abdominal pain.

The letter they sent states that the GERD is not covered because he has been asymptomatic since starting the medication the doctor gave him at his first visit. I think they gave him prevacid or prilosec and he takes it daily and it works for him. It further states that at his VA exam he told the doctor that he had chest pain and heartburn before he started taking the naproxen (which gives him heartburn). He never told the doctor that and has always said that the diarrhea and heartburn didn't start until March of 2001 when he was given naproxen to take while he waited for surgery. It's like the doctor that he saw for the rating increase just pulled this info out of the air.

They also stated that for his ankle the rating of 10% continues because the degree of movement he can move his ankle without pain. He can move his ankle to the ceiling 20 degrees with no pain, to the floor 40 degrees with no pain, inversion is 25 degrees and eversion is 20 degrees. He also does not have a change in his gait. It goes on to say that when marked limited motion of the ankle is seen they will assign a 20% rating.

Since we received this letter he has been able to go back to the VA to get a stronger pain medication. Naproxen was the only pain reliever he was using because he works in the automotive industry and drives cars and a narcotic pain reliever just isn't practical for him. They gave him Ultram at his last visit and he has been taking that several times a week and it has given him great pain relief. He also went to see an orthopedic surgeon at the VA this week and they gave him an injection into the joint of his ankle to help with the arthritis and to see if that provides him with more relief before they move on to surgery.

In 2005 I didn't really trust the VA so I had him go to an orthopedic surgeon that several people in the family use and he did an evaluation and found that he has a bone spur growing on the front of his ankle (a result from the surgery he had). This bone spur catches the joint when my husband moves in certain ways and causes a great deal of pain. The dr at that time informed us that in a few years he will need to have surgery to get rid of the bone spur because it will continue to get bigger and cause problems and pain.

My husband lives in pain on a daily basis but it seems that VA figures if he can move it he's fine and 10% is enough. On an average day his pain is about a 5 on a scale of 1-10. I would like to dispute the decision but I'm not sure if the VA will take into consideration the level of pain that is constantly there and will never go away. He has learned to live with the pain and knows that the pain will always be there.

I'm sorry this is so long but I wanted to give the details so I could get some opinions based on as many of the facts as possible. Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to give.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Thank you for helping your veteran.

You have a good claim since the VA prescrived the medication that is common for gerd. Appeal the decision if you are not happy with it. From your post you probably should get an increase and also a rating for Gerd.

Good Luck

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