New regulation from the Veterans Affairs Department should make it easier for veterans diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and certain other associated ailments to obtain more disability pay, according to Kellie Lunney from Government Executive.
The change will eliminate the need for veterans diagnosed with TBI and any of five specific illnesses linked to the injury to provide more evidence linking the second illness to the service-connected brain injury. The report says the second diagnosed illness will be considered service-connected “absent clear evidence of the contrary” when calculating disability patients. The five associated ailments include Parkinson’s disease, specific forms of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures, and certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
“Eligibility for expanded benefits will depend upon the severity of the TBI and the time between the injury causing the TBI and the onset of the second illness,” VA said in a press release.
The change will take effect beginning January 17th, 2014, but there is no set time frame for filing claims associated with the onset of Parkinson’s or unprovoked seizures. For dementia, the disease must manifest within 15 years after the injury; depression must manifest within three years of moderate to severe TBI, or within a year of mild TBI; the hypothalumus and pituitary problems must manifest within 12 months of moderate or severe TBI.