As we mentioned inour blog about Parkinson's disease through contact with Agent Orange, the accurate assessment of Parkinson's disease in a veteran's disability claim is more complicated than in other disabilities. This makes it difficult for you to know if you are receiving the correct level of benefits.
Due to the complexity, there is a good chance that the VA has not assigned the correct percentage of the disability rating. It is even more important that you understand what is involved in proper disability classification. You can then reread your classification decision to see if VA followed the correct methodology to classify Parkinson's disease.
3 Basic Steps to a VA Disability Assessment for Parkinson's Disease
The evaluation of Parkinson's disease for VA purposes can be broken down into a few basic steps:
- Start with the Parkinson's disease diagnosis code to find the "minimum score."
- Rate each of the symptoms that you have associated with Parkinson's disease
- Calculate the combined disability score for these symptoms
- Use the higher of the "minimum score" for the disease itself or the combined score for the symptoms
What is the VA diagnosis code for Parkinson's disease?
As with all illnesses and disabilities that qualify veterans for VA disability benefits, VA uses disability assessment plans within theCode of Federal Regulations("C.F.R."). Generally, each condition has a separate diagnostic code. The diagnostic code consists of a four-digit number and a name.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy to look up "Parkinson's" within the CFR. Instead, Parkinson's disease is coded 8004 - Shaking Palsy - which is another name for Parkinson's disease. This diagnostic code assigns a grade of 30%.
VA can stop there and give you only a 30% rating without further consideration. If so, they probably made a mistake. The 30% rating is only the first step, not the last, toward an appropriate VA disability rating for Parkinson's disease.
Also, if the VA assigns a disability rating of less than 30%, that's a big red flag that they got it wrong. You'll notice that the handicap table refers to this as the "minimum rating." So a Parkinson's diagnosis means oneautomatic minimum30% rating. Unless you have minimal problems as a result of Parkinson's disease, you will likely qualify for a score above the minimum 30%.
How do I get a score greater than 30% for my Parkinson's disease?
The next step is to look at the symptoms you are experiencing related to Parkinson's disease. However, if you look at the diagnostic codes immediately before and after "8004 Shaking Paralysis", you won't see anything else related to this disease. So what are the other symptoms for VA to look out for?
The Parkinson's Disability Benefits Questionnaire ("DBQ"), also known asVA-Form 21-0960C-1, provides a good road map to a higher rating. These are the criteria a doctor should use in their C&P evaluation to fully assess your particular stage of disease. The symptoms include four main motor symptoms:
- Bradykinesia (slow movement)
- postural instability
For upper extremity problems, see diagnostic code 8514 and 8515. For lower extremity problems, see diagnostic code 8520.
Other symptoms associated with the different stages of Parkinson's disease include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or speech problems (dysarthria): Use diagnosis code 7203 or 8210 respectively.
- Paralysis of facial muscles: Use diagnosis code 8207.
- Cognitive disorders causing occupational or social impairment: Use diagnosis code 9310 or 9326.
- Bladder incontinence (neurogenic bladder) - diagnosis code 7542.
- Intestinal problems: Used diagnosis code 7332.
So my VA score for Parkinson's disease is equal to all the scores combined?
Unfortunately not. By VA rules, 4 plus 2 does not equal 6. Instead, it's more like 40% + 20% equals 50%. This is because VA uses composite disability ratings.
If you have advanced stages of Parkinson's disease with several of the symptoms listed above, you should probably qualify for a 100% disability rating.
If the VA does not award you 100% but assesses a disability of 60% or more, or a disability of 40% and a total of 70% or more, you may qualify for a total disability of 100% based on individual unemployment (TDIU).
Another thing the VA might not tell you: You may be entitled to it.special monthly allowance, which means a higher payout than a 100% rating. Most veterans with Parkinson's will probably qualify for SMC at some point.
What should I do if I think I should get more VA credit?
Parkinson's is a terrible disease with many different possible symptoms. Each symptom should be scored individually and then the combined score should be compared to the minimum score of 30%. If you already have a score but your Parkinson's disease is advanced, you may need to request an upgraded score if your current score is less than 100%.
I would be happy to speak with you if you have any questions or would like your claim reviewed. The best way to do this, with no commitment or cost on your part, is with a free veteran disability consultation.
Travis Studardis an attorney focused on representing veterans in VA disability claims. He writes regularly on issues important to veterans and their families.
You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.
00:03 20. January 22
This is a great group of people who genuinely care about your well-being. They all treated me like family and helped me with my employment reference in more than average ways. Thanks Jason and thanks Tina! For doing a great job.
18:09 29. dic. 21
I am a veteran of the United States Air Force and received my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rank for 26 years. I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 when my mother had a horrible incident and she was put under a lot of anesthesia and through GODS Grace her life was saved, she has been disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and problems. and I still don't have them all I called the law office for about 10 minutes or acted rude anytime I brought this up because I understood knowing Jessica more than a phone call and Mr. Studdard was always available when he wasn't working on other cases or in court. They always called back and never had to call again. My assessment is simple in life there are ups and downs and it doesn't stop because you have problems, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019. In 2021 I received my 100% VA, I was never rude, never promised success, never lied to and always I was treated with respect kindness and kindness are the real things not (money) if you want a law firm that cares about the client and will take your case even during a pandemic don't lie don't promise anything please communicate your case and gives you the best of himself. THIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST Firm for VETERANS Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% We have had 5 calls in total Case taking care of business
14:29 12. September 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and in their prime when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I was trying to do it on my own and the insurance company pushed me. They refused further physical therapy. They refused the injections that the doctor recommended to relieve my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason, things went FAST. They were attentive and aware of my case at all times. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff highly enough. If he is injured on the job, this is the law firm he wants on HIS side.
23:11 12. May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a labor association. My case is now closed and I really appreciate the hard work Jason and his office did on my case, he was always there to help me with any questions he had or needed. Jason is an excellent attorney and if I ever needed someone else I would only go to Perkins because I believe they can help me in whatever situation I need.
23:16 13. September 15
I recommend the Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very friendly. Kim was very helpful and whenever she had a question she made sure she got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain everything to me.
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What if I have additional questions about my VA claim?
You say you want your VA application to be processed as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal: winning your VA disability claim.
He may eventually get there on his own, but perhaps only after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and the Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are disputed and returned multiple times, which can result in a claim dragging on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delays with your claim and want to do everything in your power to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea to contact a licensed disability attorney.
We'd love to talk to you. if you want onefree consultationwith our Perkins Studdard veterans attorneys just clickaquíocall usto start the process.
What is the VA rating scale for Parkinson's disease? ›
Disability Compensation for Veterans with Parkinson's
The minimum VA disability rating for Parkinson's disease is 30%. However, you must consider other important factors that can increase this rating to 100%. While you may be awarded 30%, that rating alone may be incomplete. The 30% rating is the starting point.
If your essential tremor disability is so severe that it prevents you from maintaining substantially gainful employment, then you may be eligible for a 100% VA disability rating through Individual Unemployability (TDIU).What are secondary conditions to Parkinson's VA? ›
Below are some conditions which may be considered secondary to Parkinson's Disease: Hypertension. Irregular Heartbeat. Ischemic Heart Disease.Does the VA offer special monthly compensation for Parkinson's? ›
It can be as much as $3,332.06 per month for a veteran with severe Parkinson's (based on veteran alone rate). In addition to disability compensation, the VA also provides health care and other benefits to veterans with Parkinson's disease.What category does Parkinson's fall under? ›
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don't produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine.Can Parkinson's be service connected? ›
The VA determined that veterans should not have to wait for their condition to worsen before filing for benefits. Therefore, if you have documented symptoms of Parkinsonism but have not yet been officially diagnosed with Parkinson's, you can still receive service connection for Parkinson's disease.How do you prove Parkinson's? ›
No tests can conclusively show that you have Parkinson's disease. Your doctor will base a diagnosis on your symptoms, medical history and a detailed physical examination.When can you not drive with Parkinson's? ›
However, if you experience any excessive daytime sleepiness or falling asleep suddenly, you should not drive and you should inform your GP, specialist, or Parkinson's nurse.Is Parkinson's an automatic disability? ›
Parkinson's Disease is located in section 11.06 of the SSA's Blue Book. If you have Parkinson's and you are not able to work for at least 12 months or longer because of your disease, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits and be considered disabled by the SSA.What is the 55 year rule for VA disability? ›
Based on the results of the exam, your disability rating may increase, decrease, or stay the same. Once you turn 55, you are typically "protected" and will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition has not changed unless there is reason to suspect fraud. This is sometimes called the 55-year rule.
Can you get a disabled badge for Parkinson's? ›
If you have a disability or health condition that affects your walking, or you have a hidden disability such as dementia, autism or Parkinson's, you may be able to get a Blue Badge to help you park closer to the places you want to go.Can I get Social Security disability If I have 100 VA disability? ›
A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.How do you classify tremors? ›
Tremors are classified as rest or action tremors. Rest tremor occurs when the affected body part is completely supported against gravity. Action tremors are produced by voluntary muscle contraction and are further divided into postural, isometric, or kinetic tremors.What is tremors disability? ›
Essential tremor is a progressive neurological condition that causes shakes to the head, neck, trunk, arms, legs, voice, and sometimes other parts of the body. As such, in many instances, Essential tremor is considered a disability.What are severe neurological tremors? ›
Tremor is a neurological disorder that causes shaking movements in one or more parts of your body, most often in your hands. It can also occur in your arms, legs, head, vocal cords, and torso. Its rhythmic pattern is caused by unintentional (involuntary) muscle contractions.What is the difference between Parkinson's disease and Parkinsonian syndrome? ›
As mentioned above, Parkinson's syndrome is a general term that refers to any condition that causes the types of movement problems observed in Parkinson's disease. In other words, while Parkinson's disease is the most common cause of Parkinson's syndrome, many other conditions can cause Parkinson's syndrome.What are the two types of Parkinson's? ›
- Idiopathic Parkinson's. Most people with parkinsonism have idiopathic Parkinson's, also known as Parkinson's. ...
- Vascular parkinsonism. ...
- Drug-induced parkinsonism.
The Differences Between Parkinson's Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. The advanced cognitive changes that impact daily living in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are both types of dementia. Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) can occur as Parkinson's advances, after several years of motor symptoms.What benefits are available to Parkinsons sufferers? ›
You may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you do not have a job and cannot work because of your illness. You may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you're aged 64 and under and need help with personal care or have walking difficulties.Can you still drive a car with Parkinson's? ›
Driving with Parkinson's
You will likely be able to drive safely and legally for several years after a Parkinson's diagnosis, depending on your age and general physical condition. However, Parkinson's disease may eventually affect reaction time, ability to handle multiple tasks at once and vision.
Why do veterans get Parkinson's? ›
While the exact cause of Parkinson's is unknown, research suggests that its cause can be linked to genetic and environmental factors. In addition, for some veterans, developing Parkinson's disease can be associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.Does Parkinson's show on brain scan? ›
There is not a specific lab or imaging test that can diagnose PD. However, certain tests such as magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (MRI brain), a dopamine transporter scan (DaT scan), or blood work can be used to support the diagnosis of PD or to rule out other medical conditions that can mimic PD.What is the new Parkinson's drug? ›
January 13, 2023
Levodopa temporarily replaces the dopamine brain chemical, which decreases in Parkinson's, to ease motor symptoms, like tremor, slowness and stiffness. It's currently available as a pill (to take by mouth), inhaler or gel (for infusion into the small intestine).
Recent studies have found that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to help find and diagnose Parkinson's much earlier than other methods. MRIs look for specific markers in the brain that can indicate Parkinson's. Often, these markers are present even before symptoms of Parkinson's begin.What is punding behavior? ›
Punding is defined as a stereotypic, complex, repetitive and non-goal-oriented activity (2, 3). This symptom is associated with an intense fascination to common objects, which are constantly manipulated, examined, collected, sorted, and stored by the patient that suffers from punding.What organs does Parkinson disease affect? ›
In Parkinson's disease, certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. Many of the symptoms are due to a loss of neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine.Can you drive while taking carbidopa levodopa? ›
Many Parkinson's medicines can also reduce your ability to drive safely. Common medications — including carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet), amantadine, dopamine agonists and anticholinergics — may produce side effects such as sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision and confusion.Does Parkinson's affect your teeth? ›
PD-related rigidity, tremor and dyskinesia can make it hard to brush one's teeth. These symptoms can also cause cracked teeth, tooth wear, changes in the fit and wear of dentures and tooth grinding.What is the VA disability rating for bradykinesia? ›
Severity of the Bradykinesia
For example, the VA rating table for arm paralysis that is used to rate bradykinesia assigns a rating of 20%, 40%, 70%, or 90% based on whether the bradykinesia is “mild,” “moderate,” “severe,” or “complete,” respectively.
Parkinson's-related Vision Changes
Dry eye due to decreased blinking is associated with PD and can cause blurry vision. Blurry vision can also be caused by PD medication, especially anticholinergics (such as trihexyphenidyl/Artane® or benzotropine/Cogentin®).
At what age does VA disability become permanent? ›
20 Years: Continuous Rating
If, after twenty years, a service-connected disability is rated at or above the originally assigned rating level, it may not be lowered below the original level.
Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record.How to go from 70 to 100 VA disability? ›
- Method 1: Appeal the Decision or File a New Claim. The most straightforward approach is to appeal VA's decision on the original claim. ...
- Method 2: Prove Individual Unemployability (TDIU) ...
- Method 3: File for a Secondary Service Connection. ...
- Assistance with Your Claims and Appeals.
Parkinson's disease (PD) can change the way a person walks. Movement Symptoms like stiff muscles, rigidity and slow movement make it harder to take normal steps.What is the most approved disability? ›
What Is the Most Approved Disability? Arthritis and other musculoskeletal system disabilities make up the most commonly approved conditions for social security disability benefits. This is because arthritis is so common. In the United States, over 58 million people suffer from arthritis.How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›
Who is eligible for Social Security bonus? For every year that you delay claiming past full retirement age, your monthly benefits will get an 8% “bonus.” That amounts to a whopping 24% if you wait to file until age 70.Can you draw both VA disability and Social Security? ›
SSDI and VA disability compensations are not affected by each other, so you may be eligible to receive both. However, you must apply for them separately.Is Parkinson's a VA presumptive disability? ›
Parkinson's Disease and Military Exposures
Agent Orange website or call 1-800-749-8387, the Special Health Issues Toll-Free Helpline. Parkinsonism added to list of presumptive service connected conditions associated with Agent Orange.
You may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you do not have a job and cannot work because of your illness. You may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you're aged 64 and under and need help with personal care or have walking difficulties.Is Parkinson's a progressive disability? ›
About Parkinson's. PD's effects on the central nervous system are both chronic (meaning they persist) and progressive (meaning the symptoms grow worse over time).
Can the VA deny a presumptive disability? ›
Any disabilities must have a clear in-service connection, or else the VA will deny the claim.What is the best pain medicine for Parkinson's disease? ›
Gabapentine and pregabaline are well known to be effective in neuropathic pain, to reduce the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate  and therefore are suggested as therapy for this type of pain in PD as well.What is the life expectancy for Parkinson's? ›
Parkinson's disease does not directly cause people to die, but the condition can place great strain on the body, and can make some people more vulnerable to serious and life-threatening infections. But with advances in treatment, most people with Parkinson's disease now have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.What is the best exercise for Parkinson's disease? ›
Biking, running, Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, dance, weight training, non-contact boxing, qi gong and more are included — all have positive effects on PD symptoms.Can you drive a car if you have Parkinson's? ›
Parkinson's shouldn't stop you from getting around – there are different transport and travel schemes you may be able to apply for to make travelling a bit easier, and to keep you on the roads safely. Driving allows you to be independent and maintain a sense of freedom.