If a veteran on the Agent Orange registry has been diagnosed with type ll diabetes they presumptively are granted the VA disability benefit. Agreed? If the diabetic vet develops aortic stenosis (Which can be caused or exacerbated by diabetes) does that create that create possibility of an increase in the benefit?


Jim's Reply:


You are correct in the direction that you're thinking about this. Diabetes is the cause of many other conditions that we refer to as secondary conditions. The most common secondary condition that is a direct result of diabetes is hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. The blood vessels most often affected are those of the heart, the carotid arteries, the kidneys and the legs. 

I agree that aortic stenosis is more likely than not exacerbated, not caused, by diabetes although this isn't one of the more frequent claims for a secondary condition that I'm aware of.

While we can file a claim to have an aortic stenosis rated as secondary to diabetes, the VA won't accept that at face value. You'll have to prove the nexus of cause and effect by having an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) or a 'nexus letter' from an expert physician that agrees with that conclusion and provides science to back that up. If you'll click the link I provided you'll learn more about the IMO.

Whether or not an increase in the existing benefit would result in a successful claim and an increase in the monetary benefit would depend on the degree of disability the AS condition is causing and how that will combine with the existing rating.

Good luck sir.