Veterans suffering from kidney disease should find out if their condition is service connected. If so, they can receive VA disability benefits every month.
These days, we hear a lot about cleanses, detoxes, and “clean” diets that supposedly remove dangerous toxins from our bodies and leave us feeling more energetic and healthier. But did you know your body has its own natural detox system? Your kidneys are responsible for removing unneeded waste from your body, but what happens when this system breaks down?
Kidney disease is a serious condition, and if you served in the military, you could be eligible for compensation from the VA for this disease. Read on to learn more about kidney disease and answer the question, “What is the VA disability rating for kidney disease?”
In This Article About Kidney Disease VA Ratings:
- What Is Kidney Disease?
- Symptoms of Kidney Disease
- What Causes Kidney Disease in Veterans?
- Risk Factors for Veterans
- Complications from Kidney Disease
- How the VA Rates Kidney Disease
- How VA Disability Ratings Work
- Qualifying for VA Disability
- Getting a Diagnosis
- Preparing for Your Appointment
- Understanding Test Results
- Proving a Service Connection
- Getting a Medical Nexus
- VA Disability Compensation Rates
- If Your Claim Is Denied
- What Is the VA Disability Rating for Kidney Disease? Now You Know
What Is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease is an umbrella term that covers a variety of conditions in which you gradually lose kidney function. Your kidneys are your body’s natural detox system, removing waste and excess fluids from your bloodstream. That waste then gets flushed out in your urine, keeping your system from getting overloaded.
As your kidneys shut down, those waste materials can start to build up in your body, along with excess electrolytes. This can cause a variety of problems. Chronic kidney disease can lead to end-stage kidney failure, in which your kidneys cease functioning altogether; without dialysis or a kidney transplant, this condition is fatal.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
There are a number of symptoms that kidney disease may cause, depending on your specific condition and which stage you’re in. Many people experience nausea and vomiting as their kidneys slow down, and you might start to lose your appetite. You may also find yourself having trouble sleeping or you may just be tired and weak all the time.
As the disease progresses, some people notice a decline in their mental acuity, as well as muscle twitches and cramps. You may notice your feet and ankles swelling up, you might be itchy all the time, and your blood pressure may go up. As fluid builds up in different areas of your body, you might also notice chest pain or shortness of breath.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
What Causes Kidney Disease in Veterans?
One of the most common causes of kidney failure is diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2. Diabetes causes parts of the kidneys to become scarred and begin to leak albumin, a natural protein, into your bloodstream. Over time, untreated diabetes can scar the kidneys beyond repair, and patients enter end-stage kidney failure.
Kidney disease can also be the result of high blood pressure and a number of other diseases that cause parts of the kidney to become inflamed. Polycystic kidney disease can cause your kidneys to swell and develop small growths all over them. Obstruction of the urinary tract due to things like an enlarged prostate or kidney stones can also lead to kidney disease.
All of these are common service-connected disabilities. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are at risk of diabetes. High blood pressure can be caused by stress or trauma and is on the one year out presumptive list.
Risk Factors for Veterans
Of course, diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the biggest risk factors for kidney disease. If you have either of these conditions, it’s a good idea to have your urine tested to ensure your kidneys are staying healthy. Heart disease and obesity can also increase your risk of kidney disease and failure.
Smoking can raise your risk of developing kidney disease, as can a family history of kidney disease. As you get older, your risk will increase. African Americans, First Nations people, and people of Asian descent are also at higher risk. Abnormal kidney structure may place you at higher risk of kidney disease, though you may not know about this until your disease starts showing symptoms.
Complications from Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can have a variety of complications which make it especially dangerous. For one thing, the fluid retention kidney disease causes could lead to swelling in your arms and legs, as well as fluid in your lungs. It may also increase your risk of developing high blood pressure or heart disease.
Your bones may become weaker as a result of kidney disease, increasing your risk of a fracture. You may become anemic, and you may notice a decrease in your sex drive. Untreated kidney disease can also cause damage to your central nervous system, which could cause everything from changes in your personality to seizures.
How the VA Rates Kidney Disease
The VA rates kidney disease at one of five levels: 0 percent, 30 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent, and 100 percent. If you have kidney disease, but it has no noticeable symptoms, you’ll receive a 0 percent rating. If you have fluid retention, swelling, and high blood pressure, you’ll get a 30 percent disability rating.
If there is a marked decrease in your kidney function, in addition to the symptoms we mentioned previously, you’ll get a VA rating of 60 percent. If you become weak, lose your appetite, and are limited in how much you can do each day, you’ll get an 80 percent rating. And if you have to start dialysis or your kidney disease is so severe that it renders you sedentary, you’ll get a 100 percent disability rating.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
How VA Disability Ratings Work
We’ve mentioned a few different disability ratings, but what are those, and what do they mean? When your disability claim gets approved, the VA will assign you a rating to reflect the severity of your condition. These ratings are expressed as percentages and range between 10 percent and 100 percent, with ratings being rounded to the nearest 10 percent for compensation purposes.
Your disability rating will be the primary factor in determining how much money you get from the VA each month. The higher your rating, the more your disability impacts your ability to lead a normal, healthy life. And the higher your disability rating is, the more money you’ll get from the VA every month.
Get Your TDIU Pay Chart
Download and print this free pay chart of TDIU monthly payments. We know what it takes to win Total Disability because of Individual Unemployability. This chart details the monthly payment that veterans get when they win IU for their VA disability claim.
Qualifying for VA Disability
In order to qualify for VA disability, you must meet three criteria. First of all, you must have an official diagnosis of your condition from a VA-approved medical professional. In most cases, your family doctor or any other traditionally licensed medical professional will meet these requirements.
You must also be able to point to a specific incident in your military service that could have caused your condition. This event or the conditions you served under that caused your disability must be recorded in your service record. And finally, you must have a medical nexus from your doctor connecting the two.
Getting a Diagnosis
The first step to getting VA disability compensation for your kidney disease is getting a diagnosis. It’s a good idea to start this process with an appointment with your family doctor. If they can’t provide your diagnosis, they’ll be able to refer you to a specialist who can get you the diagnosis you need.
During your diagnosing appointment, your doctor will ask you some questions about your medical history and whether you have any family history of kidney disease. They will likely also perform a physical exam, including checking your heart and performing some neurological tests. They might need to run some additional tests, including a blood test, urine tests, an ultrasound, and potentially a kidney biopsy.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Before you go to your appointment, there are some things you should do to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible and you get the diagnosis you need. Start by putting together a personal and family medical history, including any previous diagnoses you’ve gotten and a list of procedures you’ve had performed. You should also write up a family medical history, being sure to include any cases of a blood relative getting diagnosed with a kidney disease of any sort.
You may also have questions for your doctor throughout the diagnostic process. These can be hard to remember once you’re in the exam room, so make note of them before you go to your appointment. You may also want to take notes during the exam in case you have any follow-up questions later.
Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.
Understanding Test Results
As we mentioned, your doctor may run several tests as part of your diagnostic process. But once you get those results back, you may not have any idea what all those numbers mean. One of the most common tests for kidney conditions, a urine test, measures the levels of a substance called albumin in your urine.
If your urine test comes back with less than 30 mg of albumin in your sample, you have normal, healthy kidneys. Albumin levels between 30 and 300 mg indicate that you have microalbuminuria, meaning you have an abnormality with your kidneys. Levels over 300 mg are called proteinuria and may indicate a more serious condition yet.
Proving a Service Connection
Once you have your diagnosis, it will be time to start proving a service connection. Your service connection is a specific incident or set of conditions in your military service that could have caused your condition.
In the case of kidney disease, you could get a service connection if you experienced kidney infections as a result of your military service conditions. You could also get your kidney disease rated as a secondary condition if you have service-connected diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is included on the list of presumptive conditions for veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service.
Getting a Medical Nexus
With your diagnosis and service connection established, it will be time to get a medical nexus for your condition. In essence, a medical nexus is an official statement from your doctor confirming that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by the incident in your service record. Your diagnosing doctor should be able to provide this nexus for you.
If possible, get a copy of your military service record before you go to your diagnostic appointment. With this in hand, you can get your medical nexus the same day as your diagnosis. This could help to speed along your VA disability application and get you the compensation you deserve sooner.
VA Disability Compensation Rates
As we mentioned, your VA disability rating will be the primary determining factor in how much money you receive from the VA each month. For instance, if you have a rating of 30 percent, you will get $524.31. However, the VA will also consider whether you have any financial dependents when determining compensation rates for veterans with a rating of 30 percent or higher.
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If Your Claim Is Denied
If your VA disability application gets denied, don’t give up hope. You can always appeal this decision, including sending it all the way up to the CAVC if needed. You can also appeal if you feel the rating you got is too low and doesn’t reflect your condition accurately.
If you decide to appeal your VA disability decision, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer specializing in veteran law. For one thing, they can help you navigate the confusing world of deadlines, paperwork, and evidence. But they can also give you inside tips and tricks to get the highest compensation possible.
What Is the VA Disability Rating for Kidney Disease? Now You Know
Kidney disease is a dangerous condition that, if left untreated, could become fatal. Knowing the answer to, “What is the VA disability rating for kidney disease?” could help you get the compensation you deserve for this condition. And if your case is denied, don’t give up hope; you could still get the benefits you’re entitled to.
If you’d like help submitting or appealing a VA disability application, 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 and start getting the compensation you deserve.
At Woods and Woods, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to serve disabled veterans better in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
Talk to Us About Your Claim:
If you apply for a VA rating for fatty liver and it turns out that you have cirrhosis, the VA won’t reject your claim. Your C&P Exam is all about making sure you are applying for the right disability. The nexus doctor is the one that establishes your service connection, your diagnosis, and your degree of disability.
Yes, give us a call right away. We can work with you or her to make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits your dad earned in Vietnam.