If you’re a veteran who is unable to work due to the symptoms of your Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), you may qualify for disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, in order to obtain the maximum compensation, you’ll have to receive a 100 percent disability rating for your Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. VA disability benefits attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates can help.
What is Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that starts in your lymphatic system — the part of your body’s immune system that fights infection and diseases. NHL occurs when the body begins to produce abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
There are two types of lymphocytes: B-cells and T-cells. B-cells create antibodies; T-cells attack germs and abnormal cells and help maintain the body’s immunity. NHLs are categorized according to lymphocyte cell type, but they can also be categorized as indolent or aggressive depending on how quickly the lymphoma grows and spreads.
According to the American Cancer Society, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about 4% of all cancers. Each year, a little over 80,000 people are diagnosed with NHL; a little over 20,000 people will die as a result of NHL.
Symptoms of NHL can include swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, fever and chills, stomach pain, chest pain, weight loss, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted drug therapy are some of the treatment options for NHL.
Qualifying for VA Benefits for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
In order to qualify for VA disability benefits for your NHL, you’ll have to be able to prove that:
- You are a veteran who received an honorable discharge.
- You’ve been diagnosed with NHL.
- The symptoms of your NHL and its treatment prevent you from performing any substantial gainful activity.
- There’s a connection — or nexus — between your military service and your NHL.
In certain circumstances, a veteran may not need to show a direct service connection to their NHL. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War may qualify due to a presumptive service connection. A presumptive service connection means the VA “presumes” that certain specific diseases (including NHL) were caused during your time of military service. This makes it much easier to obtain benefits.
VA Rating for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
So what kind of benefits can you expect if the VA approves your claim? The VA uses Diagnostic Code 7715 to rate a veteran’s NHL. Under Diagnostic Code 7715, a 100 percent rating is assigned for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with active disease or during a treatment process. This 100 percent rating continues beyond the cessation of any surgical, radiation, antineoplastic chemotherapy, or other therapeutic procedures.
(A 100 percent rating means that the veteran is considered to be totally disabled and eligible to receive the maximum in scheduled monthly VA disability benefits compensation.)
Six months after the discontinuance of treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an appropriate disability rating will be determined through a mandatory VA examination. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of § 3.105(e). If the VA finds there has been no local recurrence or metastasis, the disability will be rated on residuals.
Speak to a VA Disability Benefits Lawyer About Your Claim
If you’re a veteran with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the VA disability benefits attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates are here to help you get the VA disability benefits you deserve. Marc Whitehead is certified by the Board of Veterans’ Affairs and has successfully represented disabled veterans in all branches of service at all levels. If your claim for NHL has been denied, we can help you file an appeal.
Contact Marc Whitehead & Associates through our website or call us at (800) 562-9830 today to speak to an experienced VA disability benefits attorney.