Post Surgery Ratings


Vietnam vet exposed to agent orange. Was classified as having 100% disability as a result of bladder cancer. A recent review of my case reduced my disability rating to 40%. Recently my urologist found another growth in my bladder, fortunately it is benign and I will be tested again in 6 months. Today I am having an ablation performed and discovered that this is rated as 10% disability...also I have a pacemaker, is this also covered by VA disability rulings? Thanks you so much.


Jim's Reply:

When we have a rated service connected cancer that requires surgery, VA rates us as 100% while we recuperate. Then a few months later we're examined by the usual C & P exam process and a permanent rating is assigned that should reflect any post treatment disabling conditions.

Your 40% rating is pretty typical and of course, it's way too low. You likely heard language that indicated that your cancer was cured and that you had some scarring or urinary flow issues but that you're mostly OK. Your VA ignores the overall negative impact to the rest of your body and mental health (anxiety, depression, sleep issues) for the rest of your life.

The only answer to your questions is that in order to gain a rating that reflects all that's going on in your life you'll have to appeal the lowball ratings and continue to file claims and appeals as you go along. For example, if you're getting a pacemaker that isn't presumptive to agent orange there won't be a service connection thus no rating.

However, if you have service connected agent orange presumptive IHD (Ischemic Heart Disease) and the pacemaker is documented as necessary because of the IHD, then the pacemaker becomes a secondary service connected condition and you get a 100% rating.

I understand that this is a complex path that you'll have to travel but there really isn't any other choice. If we want our service connected conditions to be rated properly, we have to keep at it and file the appeal  paperwork, often again and again.

Good luck sir.



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