The regs


Cochlear implant impact on VA disability benefits. My husband has an 80% disability due to service related hearing loss. I cannot find a regulation that provides any type of clarity as to how having a cochlear implant will impact his disability rating. He was evaluated last year at UNC and was told that he was a candidate for the implant and that insurance would cover it due to his hearing loss. My argument for continuing the disability is that 1) the surgery is destructive and he would be totally deaf in the ear with the implant. Unless 2) he were wearing his processor. Which is, in fact, a prosthesis. I would just like to find something in the refs clarifying this.


Jim's Reply:

There is no such clarity of definition of these benefits. These are government regulations and these are often open ended just because it may take years for new devices and science to be fully developed and coordinated into daily use. Each claim and/or appeal will be decided on the individual merits of such and action.

You are absolutely correct that the residual effects of such a surgery should be considered and they are. However these residual effects aren't always incorporated into the post-surgery evaluations and thus, you have to clearly and distinctly ask for each benefit you believe is required. 

The post-operative veteran may file for or appeal for scarring, mental health issues related to the rated surgical procedures, etc. 

All too often VA will ignore or deny such things as claims for the deteriorating mental health of a totally deaf veteran but that's what the appeals process is for and we urge vets to use it.

Good luck!