If you were exposed to irritants like smoke, fumes, gasses, or sandstorms during your military service and now have problems breathing, you may qualify for VA disability benefits. The VA rates Reactive Airway Disease at 10%, 30%, 60%, and 100%, depending on the severity of your breathing issue. This post explains more.
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You were exposed to burn pits during your military service. Now you have problems breathing but don’t qualify for an asthma diagnosis. You can still receive VA benefits through a catch-all respiratory concept called Reactive Airway Disease. The Reactive Airway Disease VA rating is up to 100%, depending on the severity of your breathing problem.
In this article about VA disability for reactive airway disease:
What is Reactive Airway Disease?
Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) is a generic, non-medical term experts use to describe various respiratory illnesses. It’s essentially a respiratory condition where the bronchial tubes in the lungs overreact to an irritant. Those irritants may include smoke, fumes, gasses, pet dander, mold, or mildew.
Doctors use RAD to describe breathing issues associated with:
- Excessive mucus production
- Limited or difficulty breathing
- Viral upper respiratory infection
- Congestive heart failure
RAD is associated with wheezing, shortness of breath, and an ongoing cough. Its symptoms can be mild or life-threatening, depending on the situation. Treatment may include oxygen, breathing treatments, inhalers, or other methods, depending on the specifics of the issue.
RAD isn’t the same as Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS). Both conditions share similar symptoms, but the causes aren’t the same. RADS typically are a one-time issue resulting from inhaling corrosive gas or vapors. It’s not chronic like RAD.
Reactive Airway Disease vs. asthma
Reactive airway disease isn’t asthma, although the concept and the official asthma diagnosis share many of the same symptoms. Doctors tend to use RAD conceptually when a patient has most asthma symptoms but doesn’t qualify for a full diagnosis, or an asthma diagnosis isn’t yet confirmed. RAD also is a common diagnosis in children who aren’t old enough for an asthma diagnosis. Some doctors may even use the terms interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. You can think of RAD as a slang way of discussing the symptoms associated with asthma.
Service connecting Reactive Airway Disease
RADs include chronic bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory conditions such as those that are presumptive conditions related to burn pit exposure. Also, veterans exposed to particulate matter in sandstorms or a 2003 sulfur mine fire in Iraq may also be able to service connect the condition.
For the VA to consider disability benefits for RAD, you must file a claim. The VA will usually request a Compensation and Pension exam. A physician will examine your lungs and ask questions about your symptoms and service. If the VA schedules a C&P exam, you need to attend the exam, or the VA may deny your claim.
Once the VA processes your claim, you will receive a grant or denial. You may want to appeal if the VA denies your benefits. If you win your appeal, you should receive monthly compensation and compensation back when you filed your claim.
Respiratory disability rating scale
In many cases, the VA has rated Reactive Airway Disease under the diagnostic code for asthma (6602) in the Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
The lowest respiratory disease rating is 10%, and the highest is 100%. The rating is based on your FEV1/FVC ratio, which represents how well you can exhale.
Ratings and compensation for RAD
|Description||VA rating||Monthly payment(veteran only)|
|FEV-1 less than 40% predicted, ORFEV-1/FVC less than 40%, OR more than one attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure, ORRequires daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immuno-suppressive medications||100%||$3,621.95|
|FEV-1 of 40% to 55% predicted, OR FEV-1/FVC of 40-55%, OR at least monthly visits to a physician for required care of exacerbations, OR Intermittent (at least three per year) courses of systemic (oral or parenteral) corticosteroids||60%||$1,319.65|
|FEV-1 of 56-70% predicted, OR FEV-1/FVC of 56-70%, OR Daily inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy, OR Inhalational anti-inflammatory medication||30%||$508.05|
|FEV-1 of 71-80% predicted, OR FEV-1/FVC of 71-80%, OR Intermittent inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy||10%||$165.92|
The note that follows this table in the ratings schedule says, “In the absence of clinical findings of asthma at time of examination, a verified history of asthmatic attacks must be of record.”
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Woods and Woods can help
If you have Reactive Airway Disease or another respiratory-related illness resulting from your military service, you deserve VA disability benefits. Woods and Woods can help you know what you’re entitled to and assist you in getting that payment. Contact us for a free consultation if you need help filing for initial benefits or think you were unfairly denied. You only pay if you win.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, the VA offers disability benefits to veterans with Reactive Airway Disease. The VA rates the condition at 10%, 30%, 60%, and 100%, depending on the severity of the breathing issue.
Medical professionals use Reactive Airway Disease as an informal or catchall term for respiratory-related illnesses. So, while it’s not a formal medical diagnosis, the VA uses RAD to describe some respiratory illnesses that are eligible for disability benefits.