Are there VA benefits for stroke victims?
Struggling with the aftermath of a stroke is a daunting journey, but for veterans, the path holds potential support through VA benefits.
Understanding the VA disability ratings for strokes and the compensation available can make a world of difference for veterans and their families.
In this Quick Guide, we’ll take a look at VA benefits for stroke victims, including how the VA rates strokes, service connection, stroke residuals, and more.
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VA Benefits for Stroke Victims
For veterans affected by strokes, the VA offers disability benefits tailored to the lingering impact strokes can cause.
These benefits are designed to provide financial support and aid in recovery, addressing both immediate needs and long-term care.
The key lies in understanding how the VA assesses disability ratings for stroke-related impairments.
VA Service Connection for Strokes
In order to qualify for a stroke VA disability rating, you need to have:
1. a current diagnosis
2. evidence of an in-service event, injury, illness, or aggravation,
3. A connection between #1 and #2 via competent medical evidence, which is called a medical nexus.
If you don’t think your stroke was directly connected to your military service, you may be able to prove a secondary service connection.
A stroke that has a direct service connection occurs during or after military service (on active duty or while on leave) and is a direct result of service-related activities.
A stroke that has a secondary service connection is caused by a service-connected condition. Examples of conditions that can lead to secondary service connections for stroke include PTSD, TBI, and hypertension.
Veterans who are former prisoners of war (POWs) can be service-connected for a stroke as a presumptive condition, which means the VA presumes a certain disability was caused by a veteran’s military service because of unique circumstances.
If you are a former POW, you may be eligible for VA benefits for stroke, regardless of the amount of time you were imprisoned.
What’s the VA Disability Rating for a Stroke?
Under 38 CFR § 4.124a, the VA employs a rating system to measure the extent of disabilities resulting from strokes—and determine VA benefits for stroke victims.
According to diagnostic codes 8007, 8008, and 8009, the VA rates strokes at 100% for six months after the veteran’s final treatment following a stroke and then re-evaluates the veteran’s overall condition.
Any lingering cognitive effects are rated separately as residual conditions that are evaluated during a compensation and pension (C&P) examination.
The minimum rating for residual conditions is 10%. These lingering effects can be (but aren’t limited to) depression, weakness on one side of your body, problems forming speech, memory problems, and pain in your hands and feet.
VA disability for stroke residuals
VA Disability Benefits for Stroke Residuals
Stroke residuals are the negative effects a person experiences following a stroke. Residuals can greatly affect your speech, vision, movement, eating, and memory for the rest of your life.
The VA only gives stroke residuals a VA rating if the stroke itself is service-connected.
After you’ve had a stroke, the VA gives a 100% stroke VA rating for the first six months following your final treatment. After that, you will be re-evaluated for your residual conditions via a C&P exam.
Residual conditions receive a minimum stroke VA rating of 10%.
VA Disability for Mini Stroke
Even though Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), often referred to as mini-strokes, may not result in permanent disabilities, they can serve as precursors to future, potentially more severe strokes.
Veterans who experience TIAs might still qualify for VA disability for mini-strokes, particularly if these incidents have a connection to their service or lead to additional impairments.
VA benefits for stroke victims affected by service-related TIAs are available.
These short episodes, similar to strokes, occur due to temporary blockages or reduced blood flow to the brain, typically lasting from seconds to minutes.
According to the CDC, the chances of having a stroke within 90 days of a TIA can be as high as 17%.
While the symptoms resemble a stroke, they usually dissipate within one to 24 hours. Unfortunately, because TIAs come and go swiftly, many veterans tend to overlook them.
However, recognizing and acknowledging a TIA’s occurrence is crucial as it can serve as an ominous signal for a potentially more severe stroke in the future.
VA Rating for Stroke Appeals
Appealing Your Stroke VA Disability Rating
In cases where your stroke VA disability rating doesn’t align with the severity of your condition, appeals can be pursued.
Providing additional medical evidence or seeking a reevaluation can potentially result in an increase in VA benefits for stroke victims.
Understanding the appeals process and seeking expert guidance can be instrumental in achieving a fair assessment.
VA benefits for stroke victims exist to provide compensation and other VA benefits to veterans who have experienced a stroke due to their military service.
Understanding stroke VA disability ratings, especially the crucial link between military service and the stroke’s occurrence, known as “service connection,” is key.
These VA benefits address lasting effects, offering compensation and ongoing care.
Stroke VA disability ratings, outlined in 38 CFR § 4.124a, determine initial VA ratings and subsequent reevaluations for stroke residuals.
Gathering substantial medical evidence is important when filing a claim for all VA benefits—including VA benefits for stroke victims.
VA appeals can be pursued if your stroke VA disability rating doesn’t align with the severity of your symptoms.
Veterans can find guidance and support from an education-based company like VA Claims Insider, making it easier to navigate the VA disability process and obtain the VA compensation and care they rightfully deserve for their service-related challenges.
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Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST!
If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!
A former US Army translator in Iraq (2006-2009) and an ex-commissioned Iraqi officer, Asaad graduated from the Royal Australian Military College (2010-2014). Asaad holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Arts and currently serves as a content writer at VACI, leveraging military experience with linguistic skills to create impactful content.