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Seven Compensable Disabilities Face Elimination

Dr. taking notes on clipboard

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides U.S. Armed Forces veterans access to disability compensation for a variety of medical conditions that occur or worsen during active-duty military service, but compensation for several conditions designated as service-connected may be disappearing in the near future.

In its recent “Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2017 to 2026” report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proposed narrowing eligibility for disability compensation by excluding seven conditions deemed by the Government Accountability Office as being unlikely to be caused or exacerbated by military service. This option would eliminate VA disability compensation for the following conditions, beginning in January 2018:

  • Arteriosclerotic heart disease;
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Hemorrhoids;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Osteoarthritis; and
  • Uterine fibroids.

In 2015, the VA paid approximately 716,000 veterans a total of $3.7 billion to compensate for these medical conditions, the CBO reported. Under this proposal, not only would veterans who apply for compensation for these conditions in the future be denied, but compensation for those currently receiving benefits would be reduced or even eliminated.

The CBO estimated that this option would reduce outlays by $26 billion from 2018 to 2026, with most savings resulting from curtailing payments to current recipients of disability compensation. It also added that a broader option eliminating compensation for all disabilities unrelated to military duties could result in more savings but might also be more difficult to administer, depending on the VA’s eligibility criteria.

The Department of Defense offers a separate disability compensation system for service members who can no longer fulfill their military duties because of a disability. The CBO proposal would not impact this system.

While the option would make the disability compensation system for military veterans more comparable to civilian systems – as few employers offer long-term disability benefits – the CBO noted that, unlike a civilian job, military service “confers unique benefits to society and imposes extraordinary risk on service members.”

10 Comments

  1. Cheryl R Gumulauski says:

    Degenerative disk disease is not only service connected, but probably the number one bodily injury as a result of military service.Moreover, when people work for years under high stress, with half the amount of sleep needed, lousy diets due to mission, and work 60-80 plus hour work weeks, it most definitely contributes toheart disease. Removing these things will result in ,massive appeals, and will easily be shown to be service connected. These proposals have no correlation to reality and are budget centered, and an ultimate betrayal of vets/

    • Mike says:

      Degenerative disc disease is a secondary condition, inless a whack doc from the VA. My left leg ACL went with a large meniscal tear and a fractured ankle with incomplete healing. Between putting off surgery and the knee giving out and the ankle which healed inward causing a rolling ankle which gives out when wants. This also,caused a gait change. I have fallen many times causing neck and back injuries. Surgery made better and also a service dog, but when you fall and injure yourself 10-20 years ago? Causes degenerative changes everywhere. So I have even fell in the hospital, one time from too much lidocaine in my hip from a cortisone injection. The told me to leave and 3 steps out the door my hip collapsed injuring my neck. I have moderate degenerative changes in multiple discs, that should not be service connected? Anytime cartilages is damaged, the body counters with building bone. When these they grow large enough for spurring that causes pain and inflammation. This is degenerative change? This should not be SC?

  2. Joseph Delgado says:

    My DAD WAS caused by trauma during falling of a truck during the gulf war it’s documented the trauma caused annul tears around the dicsc. Eventually the disc. Ruptured and required surgery , now the only way I can get rating on this condition is what doctors rarely prescribe bed rest docs. Want you to move around isn’t this way of rating kind of rigging the rules.

  3. We veterans need to be more proactive against these kinds of backdoor grabs at what we are supposed to be receiving.

  4. James W. Doran says:

    I agree with Cheryl. I have Osteoarthritis in the Lumbar Spine from doing heavy lifting of 250# to 1000# bombs on the flight deck; Osteoarthritis in the cervical spine caused being blown headfirst into the side of a taxiing aircraft on the flight; L Ankle do to a sprain suffered when being knocked down by an arresting gear cable. Doing away with Osteoarthritis would give me a $540 per month pay cut (from 80% to 60%) as a 70 year old + vet on a fixed income I would have to file bankruptcy.

  5. Cheryl homer says:

    I never had hemmoroids until I deployed. I always had the runs there had to be something about the food. I know it was something over there. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t get anything for hemmoroids but for those that do I do believe you have a reason for service connection. Sorry Va.

  6. Sammie Hunter says:

    COPD is definitely a disability from being on the flight lines and inhaling smoke from the burn pits. Coronary Artery Disease is also a definite result of stress, poor food, and agent orange.

  7. Francis pepin says:

    Let’s take away bonuses and employment comp for moving expenses for management and govt. employess. This would reduce the debt of the vs and allow disabled veteran’s their disability. Cut out communication stay at home days instead of showing up at the job. Reduce travel expenses for higher management and use video conferences to hold meetings cutting out time lost rooms and food during this period and wear and tear on vehicles. Require va employees to use same medical treatments as they force vets to use..I.e. Appointments. Too many expenses on their use of a 8 hr day….

  8. chiquita says:

    My husband is currently 100% for his MS. He is in a wheel chair and slowly losing functionality. Not sure what we will do if he loses his compensation. When will we know if this is happening?

  9. Charles Degnan says:

    There are many conditions that are given disability by the VA that require further examination. Some should be granted treatment only. Hysterectomy is one that could be eliminated because it has no affect on the individual’s earning capacity and does not justify the 50% rating for a total hysterectomy ( that’s almost $1100.00 per month ), also the occurrence among women in the private sector is much higher than for women in the service. PTSD is another condition to be looked at and examined closely. There are many veterans rated at 50% and 70% that are employed by police departments and other law enforcement organizations as well as EMT’s and fire departments, HIGH STRESS jobs when they are collecting disability for a condition that by definition indicates they cannot handle stressful situations.

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