There is a VA rating for Phlebitis, but it can be tricky to explain to the VA.
Do you ever notice that random spots on your body seem to swell up and get red for a few days before going back to normal with no explanation? Maybe you wake up with shooting pain in your legs, especially your calves? Do you ever find yourself short of breath for no reason?
If any of this sounds familiar, you could be suffering some of the complications of phlebitis. If you served in the military and that’s what caused it, the VA may owe you some disability compensation. Read on to learn more about phlebitis VA ratings and how to manage this condition.
In this article about service-connected phlebitis:
- What Is Phlebitis?
- Symptoms of Phlebitis in Veterans
- Causes of Phlebitis
- Risk Factors for Phlebitis in Men and Women
- Phlebitis Complications
- How to Qualify for VA Disability
- How It’s Diagnosed
- Preparing for Your Appointment
- What to Expect
- Proving a Service Connection
- Showing a Medical Nexus
- VA Disability Rating Schedules
- Disability Ratings for Phlebitis
- VA Disability Compensation Rates
- Learn More About Phlebitis VA Ratings
What Is Phlebitis?
Phlebitis is a term that simply means inflammation of a vein. Your veins are the blood vessels responsible for carrying oxygen-depleted blood from your organ and limbs back to your heart, where it can be reoxygenated. You can see your veins underneath your skin as the thin bluish lines that may be visible on the back of your hands, ankles, or in the crook of your elbow.
There are a few different types of phlebitis. If the inflammation of the vein is caused by a clot or air bubble, the condition is known as thrombophlebitis and can be life-threatening. If that blood clot is located in a vein deep in your body, it’s known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Symptoms of Phlebitis in Veterans
Symptoms of phlebitis can vary depending on where in your body the inflammation is. If it’s close to the surface, you may notice redness or swelling as blood collects around that area. The affected area may also become tender or warm to the touch.
You might notice a visible red “streaking” on your arm or leg as a result of phlebitis. You may also be able to feel something like a rope or cord through your skin. If you notice an unexplained pain in your leg that lasts for several hours, seek medical attention immediately; you could have a clot deep in your leg.
Causes of Phlebitis
Phlebitis is usually the result of some injury to or irritation of a blood vessel. This can sometimes be caused by the placement of an IV when you’re in the hospital or donating blood. The IV needle breaks the wall of the vessel, causing irritation and swelling.
You could also get phlebitis as the result of certain medications that can irritate your veins. Small clots and infections can cause a vein to swell, too. DVT may be the result of a more serious injury, such as a broken bone, as well as a sedentary lifestyle and/or medications that put you at higher risk for clotting.
Risk Factors for Phlebitis in Men and Women
There are a few things that can leave you at higher risk for phlebitis than most. If you are on some form of hormone therapy or hormonal birth control, your risk of developing a blood clot may increase. You may also be at higher risk of a blood clot if you are obese, you smoke, you’re pregnant, or you spend long periods of time sitting in one place.
Of course, one of the biggest risk factors for phlebitis is if you’ve recently been in the hospital, especially for an operation. First of all, you’ll have had an IV to deliver your medications and keep you hydrated, which damaged one of your veins. Then, you had to stay still for a long period of time while you recovered, which can raise your risk of clotting.
Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.
In many cases, superficial phlebitis doesn’t carry many complications. You may get an infection in the skin surrounding the vein, a wound on the skin, or even a bloodstream infection. But once you start getting into thrombophlebitis and DVT, things can get very dangerous.
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One of the biggest complications of DVT is a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism happens when a blood clot breaks off from the vessel where it formed and makes its way into your lungs. This can be deadly, and there will often be very few or no warning symptoms before it happens.
How to Qualify for VA Disability
If you served in the military and you think you may have phlebitis, you may be entitled to disability compensation. In order to qualify for VA disability, you must meet three criteria. You must have an official diagnosis, you must prove a service connection, and you must have a medical nexus connecting the two.
You must have an official diagnosis for your condition from a VA-approved medical professional. In most cases, your family doctor will meet all the criteria the VA requires.
You must also be able to point to a specific incident in your service record that could have caused your condition. In the case of phlebitis, this may have been anything from a hospitalization where you had to have an IV to time you spent in captivity, forced to sit in one place for long periods at a time.
Finally, your doctor must confirm that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by the incident in your military service that you indicated. This is to avoid someone claiming VA disability for a concussion they got in a car accident five years after they left the service.
How It’s Diagnosed
Diagnosing phlebitis is usually a fairly straightforward process, especially if it’s superficial phlebitis. Your doctor will need to perform an examination and make a list of your symptoms. If your doctor suspects a blood clot is the reason for your phlebitis, things may get a little more complicated.
Your doctor may need to perform an ultrasound or some additional tests to look for the blood clot. They may also need to take some blood samples to look for substances that indicate you have a clotting disorder or that a clot recently dissolved. Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor may want to perform an MRI, a CT scan, or venography to look for the clot in question.
Preparing for Your Appointment
There are a few things you can do to make sure your doctor’s appointment goes as smoothly as possible. First of all, you should start making a list of any symptoms you’re experiencing. Try to note when and how often they happen and if you notice anything that makes them better or worse – walking, sitting still, or flexing your feet, for instance.
You should also bring a complete medical history, including any procedures you had done while you were in the military. Make sure you also take along a complete list of any medications, vitamins, or supplements you’re currently taking. Having this information on hand will help give your doctor everything they need to make an accurate diagnosis.
What to Expect
When you go for your doctor’s appointment, they will begin by asking you about your medical history and your symptoms. Be sure you tell your doctor about any unusual symptoms you’re having, no matter how unrelated you may think they are. They’ll also perform a physical examination, especially if you have a particular area that seems inflamed or warm.
Depending on what your doctor finds on your initial examination, they may want to order further tests. They will likely start with an ultrasound, a painless and non-invasive test that uses a small wand to send sound waves into your body in order to get a visual of where your clot may be. They may take some blood during your appointment or request that you come back to have an MRI or CT scan, both more involved testing procedures, done.
Proving a Service Connection
Once you have a diagnosis from your doctor, the next step in qualifying for VA disability compensation is proving a service connection. This connection will be a specific incident in your military history that caused your condition. IV treatment, certain medications, and long periods of inactivity can all serve as service connections for phlebitis.
In order to prove a service connection, you’ll need to get your hands on an official record of your military service. The easiest way to do this is to contact the National Personnel Records Center by mail or fax and request a copy of your service record. You can also contact your local VA office for assistance with getting your service record.
Showing a Medical Nexus
With your diagnosis and service records in hand, it’s time to get your medical nexus documentation. Your doctor must fill out a form testifying that your condition is at least as likely as not caused by the event in your military service. Even if your condition doesn’t appear until years later, your doctor must still be able to connect it to your military service.
It may be a good idea to get your service records before your doctor’s appointment if you suspect your symptoms are connected to your military service. That way, your doctor can provide your medical nexus at the same appointment when you get your diagnosis, rather than having to make another appointment. Your service records may also help your doctor to come to an appropriate diagnosis.
We have doctors on staff that know what to look for in your application. They deal with VA appeals and applications every day and know how to explain your disability to the VA if it is service-connected. We may even have our doctor’s talk to you while we work on your case to make sure we get every detail possible for your best case.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about one of the most important parts of a winning veteran’s disability claim: the nexus letter.
VA Disability Rating Schedules
Once you’re approved for VA disability compensation, you’ll be given a disability rating. These ratings are expressed as percentages and are designed to reflect the amount your condition impacts your ability to live a normal life. Ratings range from 10 percent to 100 percent and are usually rounded to the nearest 10 percent.
The VA will use your disability rating, among other factors, to determine how much compensation you get each month. If the rating you receive when you get your disability award letter seems too low, don’t worry. You can always appeal for a higher disability rating if needed.
Disability Ratings for Phlebitis
Under VA standards, phlebitis is rated as a residual symptom from vein and artery conditions. Each affected limb receives its own individual rating, which can then be combined to get an overall disability rating. When your veins can be felt or seen, but there are no additional symptoms, you will receive a disability rating of 0 percent.
You may receive a rating of 10 percent or 20 percent, depending on whether rest and elevation improve your symptoms and only occasional pain or swelling due to phlebitis. If you have persistent swelling and an open wound, you may receive a 40 percent or 60 percent rating, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If your limb is so swollen that it’s completely stiff and you have constant pain, you may receive a disability rating of 100 percent.
It may be difficult to get 100% TDIU from one disability, but here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about common disabilities that add up to a 100% combined rating.
VA Disability Compensation Rates
The VA will use your disability rating to determine how much compensation you get each month. You can see on our veteran’s disability calculator that you have a 10 percent rating, you will get $152.64 per month. For a 20 percent rating, you will receive $301.74 per month.
When a veteran has a rating above 30 percent, the VA also considers whether you have family members who depend on you financially. For example, if you have a rating of 60 percent and a spouse relying on you, you will receive $1,214.03 per month for just you and more for your dependents.
Learn More About Phlebitis VA Ratings
Phlebitis in and of itself is not always a serious or life-threatening condition. But if you have thrombophlebitis or DVT, you could begin to develop very painful or dangerous symptoms. If you believe you may have phlebitis, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you’d like help getting the highest phlebitis VA ratings possible, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you don’t pay unless we win. Contact us today to start getting the compensation you deserve.
It would take a very special case to get that, but let’s look at it. The VA may rate it as an all-over condition rather than in specific regions. We might look at the cause of it to see if that could also receive a rating.
Probably not, but the pain would help your claim for a higher rating for any of those conditions. VA ratings for pain are issued when the source of the pain is difficult to narrow down. Usually the actual pain-causing disability is what carries the rating instead of the pain related to it.