Vets who have suffered traumatic brain injuries now have an easier time receiving disability benefits.

It is a sobering statistic.  More than 20 percent of U.S. troops wounded in battle sustained a traumatic brain injury.  A TBI is caused by a sudden blow to the head which causes damage to the brain and often is accompanied by bleeding inside the head or swelling of the brain.  If you have suffered a TBI you may feel confused and disoriented, or you may even go into a coma. You might also lose your memory about what happened immediately before and after the injury. A TBI can range from mild to severe A whole host of serious medical problems can result from a TBI – stroke and epilepsy among them.

The symptoms of a TBI last longer for veterans than for civilians. Some veterans are reported to have symptoms for up to two years after a TBI. Often, a veteran who experiences a mild TBI will recover completely. But it’s also possible for veterans to develop the many lasting symptoms even after a mild TBI including difficulty concentrating, memory loss, feeling dizzy, and getting angry easily.

In January 2014, the VA issued a new regulation to help veterans receive benefits for a TBI. Veterans who suffer from a TBI and are diagnosed with one of five specific conditions now have an easier time receiving disability benefits. The VA recognizes the following diseases as “presumed service-connected” to TBIs:

Number One is Parkinson’s disease. This disease is presumed to be a service-connected condition related to a TBI if it’s diagnosed following a moderate or severe brain injury.

Number Two is seizures. The VA will recognize seizures if no cause has been found for them after the veteran experiences a moderate or severe TBI.

Number Three covers certain dementias. The VA will award benefits for these dementias if the veteran is diagnosed within 15 years following a moderate or severe TBI.

Number Four is depression. The VA recognizes depression if it’s diagnosed within one year of a mild TBI or three years of a moderate or severe TBI.

And Number Five is hormone deficiency diseases. Certain diseases of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands are eligible for disability if they’re diagnosed within 12 months of a moderate or severe TBI.

Depending on the extent of the injury, TBI vets are now eligible up to a 100% disability rating.  If you believe you have suffered a service-related TBI but have been turned down for disability benefits by the VA, you have the right to appeal.  Contact us at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your situation.  At Cuddigan Law you have a team of professionals in your corner who will fight for your rights.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska