Jim, I was granted service connected for the left hip degenerative joint disease and was granted with an evaluation of 0 percent effective October 1st, 2010. That is when I officially left the service. I received a 30% service connected for the right hip degenerative joint disease since I had a hip replacement done in Oct 2009 while still on active duty. It has been determined by my physician that the left hip now requires hip replacement surgery. If I get the surgery, can I go back and claim the left hip since it is in my records as service connected? I just turned 55 years old in September and retired on 1 Oct 2010 after serving 28 years. I want to know what I can do to claim this. When they did X-rays and MRIs on both hips, the right side was much worse at the time but the left hip already was showing signs of the hip degenerative joint disease. Now it has gotten much worse. What can I do?
Your left hip is already service connected although rated at 0% disabling. That means that at the time it was rated that the disability didn't cause disabling effects that rose to a 10% rating. Today you should go ahead (prior to any surgery) and file a claim seeking a higher rating for that hip. Be aware that if you do have hip replacement surgery on your service connected joint, you'll be eligible for a months long rating of 100% while you recover.