I retired from the military in 2003. Since then, I developed Type 2 diabetes. I put in a disability claim prior to retiring and was rated at 60 percent for other items. I put in a new claim for diabetes after the VA diagnosed it, but was turned down. After reviewing my medical record I found a statement from a doctor that said I was diabetic. I went to the DAV with this and was told that I could not claim it. Is there anything I can do?


Jim's Reply:

If you have turned up evidence that you had diabetes while on active duty and you are within one year of the date of the denial of benefits, you should appeal. If more than one year has passed since a denial of benefits, you should file a new claim.

The issue you'll encounter is whether or not what you've turned up is a diagnosis of diabetes that then led to treatment and other diagnostic tests. If you have only a single remark or one blood test that shows a high sugar, you probably didn't have diabetes at that time. Proving that you have diabetes...or any other disease...takes more than a single test or comment from a doctor.

And many or even most of us will develop what is called Type Two Diabetes or DM2 as we age. What was once called pre-diabetes is now usually called diabetes so there may be confusion in your record as to what you actually did have. From the VBA perspective if you had been diagnosed with DM2 prior to 2003 we could assume you'd have been placed on medicine and a restricted diet since then.

In the final analysis, if you want the best chance to win this appeal, talk with a veterans law attorney. Click Good luck!


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