Neck Pain Veterans Disability Benefits
Veterans can obtain benefits related to neck pain VA disability. In most veterans, the neck pain is a result of a spinal injury that occurred during active military duty. During active service, veterans can be injured in a number of ways, including repetitive strain injuries, spinal cord damage, spinal disc injuries and whiplash and nerve injuries. If you had neck pain or injury prior to your active military duty, and your service aggravated your injury, you may also be eligible for benefits.
Disability is awarded for chronic neck pain conditions. You will not receive disability for a minor injury that causes neck pain for a couple of days and then resolves. The VA wants to ensure that veterans with chronic neck pain first get the necessary medical treatment and then the disability benefits they deserve.
It is a common misconception that veteran injuries must occur during combat duty. This is not the case. The injury can occur during any type of active duty. For example, we see lots of cases where veterans were injured in training falling off a truck or tank, and many veteran neck injuries are the result of vehicle crashes. We also see lots of neck injuries due to repetitive motion injuries. We’ve even seen neck injuries caused by slipping on a wet floor on the base.
The VA rates disabilities on a percentage scale of 0 to 100. The higher the number is, the more your benefit payout for neck pain VA disability will be. Currently, the maximum monthly benefit is around $3,000 for a 100 percent rating. The VA will also consider whether your injury affects your ability to work. Furthermore, benefits are not just available for you, they’re also available for your spouse, and dependent children and parents.
Here are some of the common neck conditions that are listed in the ratings for neck pain VA disability:
Arthritis occurs from natural wear and tear on the joints, and on-the-job duties can accelerate these injuries. For many veterans, a neck injury incurred while on active duty is now creating arthritis (called cervical spondylosis). Joint swelling can occur, and bone spurs can grow on the spine. VA will look at pain levels, neck strength and weakness, range of motion and functional limitations in cases of cervical spine arthritis in the neck to determine your disability rating.
As you age, the discs between each spinal vertebra degenerate. As a result, discs can herniated and nerves can be trapped and pinched in between the degenerating bones in the spine. Your active duty could have created or contributed to the disc condition.
A specific kind of neck pain called radiculopathy occurs when nerves are compressed in the cervical (neck) spinal region. As a result, you can have weakness or numbness and tingling that radiates into the arms, shoulders, hands and fingers.
Many veterans also suffer from spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal canal’s nerve passageway narrows and pinches the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. When the stenosis becomes severe enough, a surgery called a laminectomy is performed to create space to reduce the nerve inflammation.
A veteran can also qualify for neck pain VA disability based on neck muscle injuries. The VA groups muscles based on function and you can qualify for disability with injuries in any of the following muscle groups:
• paraspinal muscles located on either side of the spine to control spinal posture
• neck muscles that assist with breathing
• neck muscles that control head movements (forward, side-to-side and rotation)
• neck muscles that move the head backward and stabilize the shoulders
The VA also uses a percentage rating scale for these muscle injuries, ranking slight, moderate, moderately severe and severe ratings.
It is also possible to get secondary service-related disability payments, in cases where the neck pain causes depression, migraine headaches or other conditions.
In our experience, we see many veterans who suffered neck injuries, and at the time, didn’t think much about it because it wasn’t’ really a big deal at the time. But over time, arthritis or another condition has developed that is related to that original injury. When filing a claim, it is important to give a specific diagnosis, such as “radiculopathy” rather than just listing “neck pain”.
Our firm helps many veterans who filed an original neck pain VA disability claim only to be denied. If you were denied within the last 12 months, we will help you with the appeal process to refile your claim. Even if it has been longer than 12 months, we can help you file a new claim. If we are able to successfully get your claim approved, VA will provide you retroactive benefits pay, meaning you will receive all the money you were entitled to from the date of your original claim. VA benefits are tax-free as well.
We’ve helped many veterans recover neck pain VA disability benefits they are rightfully owed, and we’d like to help you too.