The intense nature of the work veterans do and the kinds of exercises they participate in to remain strong and fit put them at risk of severe injuries. Examples of common injuries that veterans sustain include joint injuries. These injuries escalate into chronic injuries or conditions, which degenerate over time. The complications significantly affect veterans' mobility and earning capacity, threatening their financial stability.

The good news is that veterans can apply for disability benefits that cover all kinds of joint injuries and arthritis. However, the disability has to be directly related to their service in the military. The benefits can help you seek treatment and support your financial needs. You could receive a monthly stipend, a housing grant, or Dependency & Indemnity Compensation, depending on the financial needs the joint injury has necessitated.

It helps to work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your eligibility for VA disability benefits. An attorney will also help you file a claim with the VA and navigate the legal process until you receive the benefits you deserve.

Types of Joint Injuries The Military Sustain

The military personnel undergo intensive physical training to strengthen and prepare them for the challenging operations they undertake. This training and the operations subject them to all manner of injuries. Some injuries are treated immediately, and the affected person resumes work. However, some injuries worsen, making it difficult for the military to continue working or engaging in other gainful employment.

It becomes difficult for a once-strong and vibrant veteran to return home and depend on the support of their family. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs compensates injured veterans to enable them to seek treatment and cater to their financial needs.

Joint injuries are prevalent among military men. The resulting debilitating condition is arthritis, which occurs when the cartilage in the joints becomes inflamed. Though arthritis is mainly associated with old age, active veterans who take part in strenuous physical activities during training and after deployment can develop it while they are still young.

When you injure your joints, you could experience a mild case of arthritis, which is not inhibitive. You can continue training and working as you receive treatment to manage pain. However, the injury can worsen with time, prolonged training, or more strenuous activities. Once arthritis advances, it could degrade some of your main joint groups, making it more painful and inhibitive. Your ability to perform physical activity is affected, including your work and typical daily tasks.

Here are some common types of arthritis veterans experience and how you can obtain VA disability benefits for them:

VA Disability Benefits for Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a widespread, severe joint injury veterans sustain during training and duty. It is a chronic disease or condition, as the injury escalates with time. It gradually and eventually decreases your mobility and earning capacity, affecting your financial stability.

The condition starts with a simple joint injury, which gradually advances to a severe condition. In its advanced stage, osteoarthritis can break down the joints or cause them to develop osteophytes or bone spurs. It is also an excruciating condition that will limit how much work you do every day. You can benefit greatly from VA disability benefits if the nature of your work has caused you to suffer from osteoarthritis.

The law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve benefits claims for degenerative arthritis based on an injured veteran’s limited mobility. However, you must demonstrate a connection between military service and your condition to receive the benefits. You could also receive an extra 10% of the disability benefits for every major joint or group of joints that have been affected.

Here are some of the indications you could have osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis:

  • Your joints are stiffening.
  • Pain in the joints.
  • Tender joints.
  • Decreased mobility or flexibility.
  • Inflammation of soft tissues.

VA Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis

This, too, is very common with veterans. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects your immunity. For that reason, it can cause more disabilities and other health conditions than any other joint condition.

When you develop rheumatoid arthritis, it prompts your body to impart the synovial membranes around different components of your joints. Since these membranes protect the joint’s anatomical components, the disease leaves them bare and vulnerable. Rheumatoid arthritis can potentially cause more damage to vital organs, including the lungs, heart, skin, blood vessels, and eyes. It causes a significant deterioration of your bones and could cause joint deformities.

Thus, this is a condition that can significantly impair the life of a veteran. However, the VA offers financial help to veterans with rheumatoid arthritis. If the condition makes you incapacitated, you could be eligible for total disability benefits due to unemployability. The benefits will help you maintain your financial security and that of your family.

Here are some of the indications of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pain, aching, and stiffness in the joints.
  • General body weakness.
  • Weight loss.

VA Disability Benefits for Joint Ankylosis

Ankylosis is arthritis that damages the invaluable cartilage in the joints. The cartilage separates bones in your joints, but once it is damaged, the friction between the bones results in significant damage. The condition is minor in the beginning, worsening over time and resulting in an even more severe disease. Ankylosis causes a fusion of your joints, especially in the spine column. The resulting symptoms include the following:

  • Disabling back pain.
  • Neck pain.
  • Hip pain.
  • Limited motion, especially in your fingers.
  • Breathing difficulties.

A severe ankylosis can result in the amputation of affected digits, especially if it limits motion in the fingers. Since the disease affects veterans differently, the VA awards benefits on a case-to-case basis. You will likely receive more benefits if the disease has severely affected you.

VA Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Some activities undertaken by veterans involve excessive and continuous compression of a particular median nerve close to the wrist. This is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve is crucial for sensory perception and forearm motility. Its compression and damage can significantly impact your life. The compression starts mildly but deteriorates over time, resulting in a severe case of nerve damage.

Other conditions, including bone fractures and rheumatoid arthritis, make carpal tunnel syndrome worse. Here are some common symptoms of this condition:

  • Tingling or numbness of the hand.
  • The hand becomes weak.
  • Disabling pain in the hand.
  • The pain could radiate even to the shoulder.
  • The affected fingers could swell.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and can connect it to your work as a veteran, you could be eligible for benefits. However, you must support your claim with a diagnosis and demonstrate how the condition connects to your work in the military.

VA Disability Benefits for Gout

Gout is also a form of arthritis that affects a veteran’s joints, causing them to become painful, tender, reddish, and sometimes swollen. Veterans who have already been affected can experience a weekly, monthly, or biweekly flare-up that affects their comfort and mobility. Sadly, grout is an incurable, chronic illness when a buildup of gout crystals (from uric acid) develops and irritates the synovial membrane around the foot joints. It is a condition that worsens over time. Some of its common symptoms include the following:

  • Intense pain in the joints.
  • Extreme sensitivity in the joints.
  • A burning sensation.
  • Redness of the skin around the joint.
  • Itchiness.

The VA awards benefits to affected veterans according to their frequent and intense flare-ups.

VA Disability Benefits for Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis

Veterans are also at risk of post-traumatic conditions due to their terrible experiences in war and imprisonment. Posttraumatic arthritis is one of the conditions the VA presumes veterans would suffer from, especially those who have experienced trauma in the line of their duty. Its symptoms are pretty similar to those of degenerative arthritis, and it occurs right after sustaining a severe physical trauma. The condition will likely affect the following areas:

  • Elbows.
  • Hips.
  • Ankles.
  • Knees.
  • Your other body’s significant joints.

However, you need proof of diagnosis to qualify for VA benefits due to posttraumatic osteoarthritis. You could also be required to participate in a compensation or pension exam to qualify for disability benefits. VA examiners usually conduct these exams.

How The VA Awards Disability Benefits to Affected Veterans

Although all veterans are at risk of sustaining severe joint injuries during training and after deployment, those who sustain these injuries are not affected the same. Since the VA awards disability benefits case-to-case, it assigns a disability rating to every veteran who files for benefits. The amount you receive in benefits will depend on the disability rating you receive. The VA calculates your rating according to the gravity of your injury and any other damage you have incurred due to the injury.

You must prove you have suffered a work-related injury when applying for these benefits. Thus, you need a diagnosis detailing the injury and the likely cause of your injury. The cause of your injury must be related to your active service in the military. Only servicemen who suffered an injury while in the line of duty can access benefits from the VA.

Some conditions, injuries, and diseases directly relate to a specific service, deployment, accident, or operation. In this case, the VA will not ask you to establish the relationship between your injury and your service or duty. The service connection is automatically assumed. However, you will still require a valid diagnosis to receive the benefits.

The Benefits of Working With a Personal Injury Attorney

Even though VA disability benefits are only given to injured veterans, obtaining them is not straightforward. You need legal assistance to file a valid and successful claim to obtain the benefits you deserve. Also, the process of receiving a disability rating is long and tedious. Some deserving veterans lose hope in the middle of the process and, therefore, do not benefit from the system.

If you have a valid claim for VA disability benefits, you must go through several legal processes to be considered. Every process at each level has requirements to be fulfilled before proceeding to the next level. There are forms to fill out and file, and lengthy wait times. You could take a long time to receive the benefits, so you must look for alternative means to cater to your financial needs.

But you can benefit from the help and support of an attorney who comprehends the system well. They can help you navigate the system, including preparing and filing the required documents on your behalf. Your attorney will also conduct follow-ups to ensure your application goes through the system's different levels. They will also submit all the required paperwork to ensure you receive the disability rating you deserve. Here are some of the processes an attorney can assist you with:

  • Filing your claim with the VA and any supplemental claim required from you.
  • Obtaining all medical documents needed to prove diagnosis and cause of your injury.
  • Requesting for high-level reviews if it is required for the VA to approve your claim.
  • Appearing before the VA committee on your behalf and answering all the questions regarding your case.
  • Seeking redress on your behalf from the court of appeals in case the VA rejects your claim.

If you are sick, you do not have to go through the complicated process of applying for VA disability benefits. A trustworthy and reliable attorney can simplify the process for you and ensure you receive the benefits within a shorter time frame.

Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If you or someone you know has a common joint injury related to their service as a veteran in Jacksonville, you could be eligible for VA disability benefits. However, you must provide a diagnosis and demonstrate that your injury or resulting condition is related to your training or deployment in the military. Although the process of obtaining VA disability benefits is complex, you can easily navigate it with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

We handle all VA disability benefits claims at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney. Thus, we can help you navigate the system and file a successful claim for the benefits you deserve. Call us at 904-800-7557 to determine your eligibility and to understand how we can assist you.