Thursday, February 6, 2014

VA Findings Expand Service-Connected Illnesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) linked five more illnesses to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The good news for veterans suffering from these illnesses, as well as TBI, is that they will have an easier time getting much-needed additional disability benefits.

The five conditions linked to moderate to severe TBI were: Parkinson’s disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures, and certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

Those secondary illnesses will be considered service-connected and won’t require medical opinions to establish whether there is correlation to TBI. However, the findings come with some caveats to receiving benefits.

The severity of a TBI must be “moderate to severe” and three of the five illnesses need to manifest themselves within a certain length of time from the TBI. Dementia must manifest within 15 years of a TBI. For depression, it’s three years (or 12 months for a mild TBI). For hormone deficiencies of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands it’s 12 months.

Still, the VA encourages veterans to file claims even if they don’t meet the severity of TBI or length of time between TBI and the secondary illness.

For more information on veteran benefits and answers to FAQs, visit and be sure to check out our e-books as well.

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