3 tips for a lifestyle impact claim

A lifestyle impact claim is a high-value secondary disability claim to a VA rated disability 0 percent or higher, which causes mental illness aggravation due to chronic pain or any other chronic disability. A lot of us do not think about the mental aspects that chronic pain causes us.

Are you eligible for VA Claim compensation?

In order to be eligible for compensation through the VA, you must qualify with three specific things.

  1. Medical diagnosis of a condition or disability
  2. The disability was caused or made worse through your service (NEXUS)
  3. Persistent and reoccurring symptoms of the disability into the present day (severity of symptoms)

While there is, of course, more that goes into submitting your disability claim, these are the three main things that you MUST have before proceeding with a VA Disability Claim.

What is a lifestyle impact claim?

A Lifestyle Impact Claim is a high-value secondary claim that many veterans are eligible for due to one or more primary service-connected disabilities. Many veterans, lawyers, and VSOs DON’T know about secondary claims, which are eligible for compensation under the law, just like any other ratable disability.

It is also actually called Somatic Symptom Disorder according to DSM-V, and the VA used to call it “Chronic Pain Syndrome with Depression/Anxiety.” You are eligible for this if you already have a rating from the VA as 0% or higher, and you have specific, rated, disabilities. Ultimately, this results in your current, primary service-connected disabilities being the cause of you becoming increasingly depressed and anxious.

For example, you are rated at 20% for your left shoulder, 10% for your right knee, and 0% for your back. If these disabilities have caused chronic pain and negatively limiting your life, then you may qualify for a secondary claim to mental health. You will need a certification from one of our board-certified psychologists for depression/anxiety, which will link the two together.

However, say you have never filed a mental claim before. But you believe that you do qualify for some sort of mental health claim. This is the perfect opportunity for you. It is very likely that just by filing for a lifestyle impact claim, you will receive 30% off the back for this secondary claim.

What causes a lifestyle impact claim?

Many times a lifestyle impact claim can be linked to chronic pain. Chronic pain often causes depression as the daily activities we once enjoyed now causes those activities to be limited to how we are feeling at that given time. Often those enjoyments are gone without supplementing with pain medications that will allow us to even get out of bed to handle some of our daily needs; let alone allow us to participate in social or family functions.

Playing catch, throwing that football, or running around chasing the kids or grandkids. These things are often frustrating as we want to do them but physically and mentally can’t do them. These emotions take their toll, and we do not even realize that amount of mental anguish that the pain causes. These emotions are often not thought of as a link to our physical injuries, however, they are significantly impacted.

How many of you limit your exposure to activities simply because you know your pain will get worse by participating? Simple tasks as mowing the lawn or standing in the kitchen cooking dinner can sometimes be limited to a person with physical injuries. Something to think about when considering increasing your rating for a physical injury is, what is the mental toll these injuries take on you? This is the bases of a lifestyle impact claim. What is the impact of your chronic pain or illness on your mental state?

Lifestyle impact claim C&P exam

  1. Know what is in your medical records
  2. Review the DBQ for mental health conditions
  3. Review the eCFR, Title 38, Schedule 4 for mental health symptoms
  4. Do not have your best day
  5. Be uncomfortably vulnerable
  6. Know your story cold, the chronic pain with depression which makes you eligible for a lifestyle impact claim

Bottom line, you need medical documents and a clear NEXUS from our doctors. Want more information about lifestyle impact claims? Brian Reese filmed a video about how to file, what to include, and preparation for your lifestyle impact claim. It is the top watched YouTube video for lifestyle impact claims!

Interested in filing but still need more information? Fill out our simple intake form and one of our Veteran Coaches will contact you within the week!

Dan Quick is a retired U.S. Army Disabled Veteran. You can contact him at [email protected].

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