The VA doesn’t have a specific diagnostic code for chronic pain, but it does pay benefits for veterans who experience it. Therefore, VA disability benefits for chronic pain are based on the symptoms or impairments that result from your pain.
Chronic pain manifests as aching, burning, stiffness, stinging, or throbbing. It’s sometimes also shooting pain. It can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or severe mood swings. It often causes fatigue because people experiencing it have a difficult time sleeping.
Chronic pain can also be connected as a secondary condition. So, for example, chronic pain may lead to insomnia due to the inability to sleep while suffering pain. Similarly, chronic pain may lead to depression about the pain. In this example, chronic pain would be your primary service-connected disability, and depression or insomnia would be your secondary service-connected disability.
Applying this example, the VA would first rate the source of chronic pain using the ratings schedule for the body part or system affected by the pain. The VA would then rate the mental disability (depression or insomnia) using the mental disorder ratings schedule. The VA uses these two ratings to determine an overall VA disability rating for chronic pain syndrome.
An interesting and frustrating thing about chronic pain is that doctors often can’t explain its cause. Sometimes there’s an apparent cause for chronic pain, like arthritis or cancer. Other times, there’s no obvious reason for the pain to exist, but it’s there.
If you are unable to work due to your service-connected disabilities, you may qualify for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU). Contact us to see if you are eligible. Give us a call and receive a free legal consultation.
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