This guide to VA disability ratings for tuberculosis can help veterans better understand their legal rights. We will discuss applying, appeals, evidence, and a few tips we have learned through the years of representing disabled veterans.
One of the most important items we will cover is secondary service-connected conditions from TB. This is the best way for veterans to obtain higher ratings.
In This Article About Disability for Vets with TB:
- Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Military Disability Benefits
- How to Apply for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
- What Evidence is Needed to Obtain VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis?
- How to File a Claim for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
- Secondary Service-Connected Conditions and VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
- Basic Qualification Requirements for Military Disability Benefits
- The Amount of Benefits Awarded for TB Ratings
- Why You May be Ineligible for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
- The Basics of VA Military Disability Compensation
- What is Tuberculosis?
- Getting Help with Your VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Military Disability Benefits
Each type of tuberculosis is assigned a code by the U.S. military (along with other illnesses and injuries that may qualify for benefits).
Tuberculosis Pleurisy – Code 6732
This is an infection of the lining of your lungs causing them to swell and develop hard growths. As these growths become bigger, you may experience pain when breathing. If the condition is active, it is rated code 6730, and if it is inactive 6731.
The final code given for this condition will be either 6732-6730 or 6732-6731. The initial number lets you know it is tuberculosis pleurisy and the second number lets you know how it is rated.
Pulmonary Tuberculosis – Code 6730
All other types of pulmonary tuberculosis are found under this code. For conditions that are active, they will be given a 100% VA disability rating. (this rating is discussed above).
If your pulmonary tuberculosis moves into an inactive state, the VA is going to require another exam to determine a new rating. For cases of tuberculosis that are not related to your service time in the military, the condition is not ratable. There are a few exceptions to this.
This is not the case if one of the following is also present or has taken place:
- It was cured but came back
- Active nonpulmonary tuberculosis
- Lung lesions getting worse with treatment
- Severe symptoms
- Condition not improving after hospitalization period of six months
Understanding how the military classifies your tuberculosis is key to getting disability benefits for the condition.
How to Apply for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
If tuberculosis occurs during your years of service, you can apply for disability benefits. However, this disease can also be covered if it occurs within three years of being discharged from the military.
If you are ready to apply for military disability benefits, this is a multi-step process. The first step is to determine if you are eligible (eligibility requirements are listed above). You also need to gather evidence and supporting documents to submit when you file your disability claim.
Make sure your claim application is completed correctly and that all supporting documents are ready to be sent. Doing this will ensure there is no delay in the processing of your claim.
What Evidence is Needed to Obtain VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis?
There are several documents you can use to support your military disability claim. One of the most important documents that can help with your case is those that relate to medical or hospital records that relate to the injuries or illness or that indicate your already rated disability has progressed and gotten worse.
You can also include supporting lay statements from clergy members, friends, family members, those in law enforcement, and others. You can even get statements from people you served in the military with who can provide insight about your condition and how it has gotten worse.
It’s important to note, you don’t have to provide evidence to support your claim. However, not providing evidence is why veterans get stuck in an endless cycle of denials and low ratings. To obtain your VA disability ratings for tuberculosis, it is essential you submit evidence from treating doctors and even medical experts.
VA disability attorney Mike Woods explains why using experts will help your tuberculosis claim:
How to File a Claim for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
To receive military disability benefits, you must file the VA Form 21-526, which is the Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension. You can find this form on the Department of Veterans Affairs website and then submit it at a nearby Regional Office, but we recommend you send it in digitally.
With the application, the DD214 form must be submitted for all periods of service and all copies of your medical records, the evidence of your tuberculosis diagnosis, and evidence that proves the condition resulted from your military service.
If you are an active service member who is nearing your discharge and you are applying for benefits through the BDD process also have to submit the medical separation exam, along with related paperwork.
One of the easiest ways to apply for your VA disability ratings for tuberculosis is to contact Woods & Woods. We never charge for help with your VA disability application. Our law firm is proud to have helped thousands of veterans obtain VA benefits at no cost.
In this video, VA disability attorney Lori Underwoods discusses how to apply for veterans benefits:
Secondary Service-Connected Conditions and VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
Permanent Lung Damage From TB
Veterans that experience permanent lung damage from TB may experience complications in their pulmonary system from being inactive. Studies show that heart problems are often secondary to a TB infection.
Infections Throughout the Body From TB
TB can cause infections outside the lungs in places like bones, spine, brain, spinal cord, and lymph glands. If one of the secondary infections caused long-term damage to other parts of the body, those conditions might also be considered service-connected.
Death From Secondary Complications
If a veteran was diagnosed with tuberculosis, had it service-connected, and years later died from a secondary condition, like heart problems, their widow may be eligible for DIC benefits from the VA.
Get Your TDIU Pay Chart
Download and print this free pay chart of TDIU monthly payments. We show you what it takes to win Total Disability because of Individual Unemployability. This chart details the monthly pay that veterans get when they win IU for their VA disability claim.
Basic Qualification Requirements for Military Disability Benefits
Before diving into the specific requirements for tuberculosis military disability benefits, you need to know the basic requirements.
At a basic level, you can receive military disability benefits or compensation if you have a current injury or illness that affects your mind or body and if you meet at least one of the requirements listed here.
To qualify at least one of the following statements must be true:
- You became injured or sick while serving in the military or you can link the condition to your military service.
- Had an injury or illness before joining in the military and serving made it worse.
- Suffered a disability-related to active-duty service that didn’t appear until service was ended.
Each of these situations has a name. From the top of the list, it is an in-service disability claim, preservice disability claim, and postservice disability claim. Each one is based on when the injury or illness occurred in relation to your time serving in the military.
VA disability attorney Lori Underwood explains the different types of veterans benefits available:
The Amount of Benefits Awarded for TB Ratings
After your paperwork is submitted, your file is reviewed by claim processors. They will determine if you qualify for disability benefits. If you qualify for benefits, you will receive a disability rating ranging from 10 to 100%.
Your VA disability ratings for tuberculosis directly correlate to a pre-determined monthly payment amount that is determined by law. For example, if you receive a disability rating of 10%, you receive $152.64 per month. If you receive a 50% disability rating, you receive $958.44 each month.
For VA disability ratings for tuberculosis of 100%, you receive a monthly payment of $3,332.06. If you are rated as 30% or more disabled and you have a spouse and/or dependent children, the payment you receive is going to be higher than the amounts above. Also, for disabilities or injuries that are more serious, such as the loss of a limb or blindness, you can receive more compensation, but this isn’t offered for a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Why You May be Ineligible for VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
In some situations, you may not be eligible to receive VA disability ratings for tuberculosis. There are several situations where this may be the case. These situations include:
- Disease or disability caused by the person’s misconduct
- The individual was dishonorably discharged
- The injury occurred while avoiding duty (i.e. deserting or AWOL)
- Occurred while in prison or being detained because of a civil court felony or court-martial
If any of the above situations apply to your tuberculosis, then your disability claim is going to be denied.
The Basics of VA Military Disability Compensation
In August 2018, approximately 4.7 million veterans, or 25 percent of all veterans, suffered from a service-connected disability. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and/or the U.S. Department of Defense assigns a disability rating to each veteran ranging from zero to 100% in increments of 10. The percentage points given depends on the severity of their condition.
For military disability, for any reason, you must meet certain standards and qualifications. The injury or illness has to have been caused by or worsened because of your service in the military. The compensation you receive includes financial support, along with other benefits, including health care.
While there is an array of conditions you may receive military disability benefits for, the one being discussed here is Tuberculosis. Keep reading to learn about tuberculosis, how you can apply for benefits, and what you may receive if you are diagnosed with this condition. Being informed can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your condition.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that commonly affects the lungs (called pulmonary), but it may also affect other organs in the body (called nonpulmonary). It’s caused by air-borne bacteria.
Some strains of tuberculosis are resistant to treatment from drugs. If you have this condition, you will probably have to take multiple medications over several months to get rid of it and to prevent antibiotic resistance.
While your body may be harboring the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system can keep you from being sick. As a result, there’s a distinction made by doctors regarding the type of tuberculosis you have. The distinction is:
With latent TB, you have the TB infection, but the bacteria in your body is in an inactive state, which means you experience no symptoms. It’s also called inactive TB or TB infection and it is not contagious.
Latent TB may turn into active TB, which means treatment is essential for anyone with it, which helps control the spread of TB. It’s estimated that 13 million people in the U.S. have latent TB.
If you have active TB, then you are likely sick and contagious. It usually occurs within the first few weeks after the infection occurs. It may also be several years before symptoms are noticed.
Some signs and symptoms of active TB include:
- Coughing for three weeks or more
- Chest pain or pain when coughing or breathing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
Tuberculosis may also affect other parts of your body, including your spine, kidneys, and even your brain. When TB occurs in locations beyond the lungs, the symptoms you experience vary based on what organs are involved.
For example, if you have tuberculosis in your spine, you may suffer from back pain. Tuberculosis in the kidneys can cause blood in your urine.
Signs You Should See a Doctor
If you have a persistent cough, drenching night sweats, unexplained weight loss, or fever, make an appointment with your doctor. These are all signs of TB; however, they can also be caused by other medical issues. Your doctor can conduct tests to figure out the cause of your symptoms.
There are also individuals who have an increased risk of being affected by tuberculosis, such as individuals who travel to other countries with the military. The recommendation extends to those who:
- Use of IV drugs
- Individuals with AIDS/HIV
- Individuals in contact with others who have TB
- Who travel to certain countries
- Live or work in locations where TB is common
- Work with people at high risk for TB
It’s important not to let symptoms persist without seeking care, especially if your tuberculosis relates to your service or time in the military.
Getting Help with Your VA Disability Ratings for Tuberculosis
If you are unsure of how to move forward with your military disability claim after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, you can hire a VA disability compensation lawyer to help.
Woods & Woods VA benefits appeals lawyers have decades of experience in helping military service members with their disability claims. Our goal is to ensure that the men and women who served our country get the disability benefits they deserve. While the process often seems difficult and tedious, with our help, we can take some stress out of the application process.
Tuberculosis is a serious condition that can affect you for the rest of your life. As a result, you need to ensure you file for military disability benefits to receive the compensation you need for your condition. Contact our VA certified and accredited attorneys today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help your case and situation.