The VA provides benefits to veterans who have become disabled due to a wide range of medical conditions, including kidney disease. To assess your compensation, the VA board will give you a disability rating, but sometimes the rating doesn’t accurately reflect the severity of your kidney disease.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease is the name for a wide range of conditions that cause damage to the kidney and impair its function.
The kidneys filter wastes and excess liquids from the blood, which are then flushed out of the body as urine. Severe health problems can result when a kidney begins to fail and is no longer able to do its job. Symptoms of kidney disease include:
- Changes in urination
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased appetite
- High blood pressure
Acute kidney disease occurs when the kidneys abruptly stop functioning. It’s often the result of another medical condition. Acute kidney care is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate emergency medical treatment.
Persons with chronic kidney disease experience a progressive loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. This loss in function is measured in stages progressing from one to five, one being the earliest and most treatable stage of the disease and five being total kidney failure. Diabetes is an example of chronic kidney disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
- About 37 million U.S. adults are estimated to have CKD and most are undiagnosed.
- 40% of people with severely reduced kidney function are not aware of having CKD.
- Every 24 hours, 350 people begin dialysis treatment for kidney failure.
- In the United States, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure, representing about 3 out of 4 new cases.
- In 2018, treating Medicare beneficiaries with CKD cost over $81.8 billion, and treating people with ESRD cost an additional $36.6 billion.
VA Disability Benefits for Kidney Disease
The VA provides several benefits to qualified veterans with kidney disease, including dialysis care, disability compensation, home improvement and alterations, geriatrics and extended care, and home dialysis to name a few.
If you are a veteran who is unable to work due to the effects of kidney disease, you may be entitled to these benefits if you meet specific qualifications.
To qualify for VA disability compensation and other benefits, you must be able to demonstrate that your disability is service-connected. Your kidney disease must have been incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training or from an injury that occurred during inactive duty training. You must also have separated or been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.
To be considered for benefits, you’ll need to submit the following:
- Your DD214 or other separation documents;
- Your service treatment records; and
- Any medical evidence related to your illness or injury (like doctor’s reports, X-rays, and medical test results).
- Your VA Rating Will Determine How Much Benefits You Will Receive
VA Disability Ratings for Kidney Disease Determine How Much Benefits You Receive
If you are a disabled veteran seeking disability compensation from the VA for kidney disease, how much compensation you qualify for depends on the rating the VA assigns to your condition. The more severe your disability, the higher the rating.
The VA rates kidney disease at one of five levels: 0 percent, 30 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent, and 100 percent.
- 0 percent: If your chronic kidney disease is still in the first stages and has no noticeable symptoms, you’ll receive a zero percent rating, which is non-compensable.
- 30 percent: You can receive a 30 percent rating if your symptoms include fluid retention, swelling, and high blood pressure. These symptoms, along with a marked reduction in kidney function will result in a VA rating of 60 percent.
- 80 percent: If you are experiencing generalized poor health characterized by lethargy, weakness, anorexia, weight loss, or limitation of exertion the VA will rate your kidney disease at 80 percent.number
- 100 percent: If you require regular dialysis or the symptoms of your kidney disease are so severe that you are capable of only sedentary activity due to decreased function of kidney or other organ systems, especially the cardiovascular system, your disease will be rated 100 percent.
Speak to a VA Disability Attorney About Your VA Disability Claim
If the rating you received from the VA board doesn’t correctly reflect the severity of your kidney disease or other impairment, contact the law offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates to discuss your case with an experienced VA disability attorney. We’ll review your claim, answer any questions you may have, and determine what medical evidence you’ll need to supply to get the VA rating your disability warrants.
We have helped veterans from all branches and levels of the military appeal the VA’s decision and obtain a rating that accurately matches the severity of their impairment. Call 800-562-9830 today for a free case evaluation.