Ten years ago, Ted (name has been changed for the privacy of the client) returned from Iraq with a back injury that left him disabled. At the time, the Department of Veterans Affairs evaluated Ted’s condition and assigned him a disability rating of 15 percent. Ted was dissatisfied with the rating because he has frequent flare-ups of his back problem which make it difficult for him to work. Though he has a desk job, when his back is bad he cannot sit or stand for any length of time. Each year he quickly exhausts his sick days and has to take time off without pay.
A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has made it easier for veterans like Ted to ask to be re-evaluated and have their disability ratings raised. In the case Sharp v. Shulkin, the court found the medical examinations veteran Bobby Sharp received were inadequate because they did not consider the frequency and length of the flare-ups he experienced due to his musculoskeletal injuries. The result of the case is that the VA must now set up measures to ensure Compensation and Pension (C&P) examiners consider the impact flare-ups cause veterans in terms of pain and loss of function during the episode.
The VA now has to try to schedule a C&P examination when a veteran is having a flare-up, which is the best time to make an accurate assessment of the veteran’s disability. If this is not possible, veterans themselves can submit evidence, including statements from people who know the person and have seen the impact of his or her flare-ups. If you think this applies to you, contact our law offices and we will help you build a case to prove you deserve a higher disability rating.