In our recent article about the new study titled Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014 published by the Institute of Medicine, we did not have a chance to cover some important information in the study impacting VA Parkinson’s disability claims. This study was the Institute of Medicine’s tenth update on the health effects of Agent Orange and other herbicides on our exposed veterans.
If you or a loved one is a veteran suffering from Parkinson’s-like symptoms but do not have a formal diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, pay attention. The new study included some clarification about the disease and how it is diagnosed that should be helpful in your quest for veterans disability compensation for your Parkinson’s disability.
As noted in the report, Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed “by exclusion.” Doctors diagnose the disease by noting the patient’s symptoms and ruling out other possible diseases that could be causing them. When there is nothing left that could be causing the patient’s problems, the doctors then formally diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
This method means that some patients are caught in the middle. They have the symptoms of this terrible disease, but they have not yet been formally diagnosed. The committee that issued the updated report on Agent Orange and other herbicides made clear that a formal diagnosis should not be important in VA disability compensation claims.
Veterans who have Parkinson’s-like symptoms, even though their doctors may not be to the point of attaching the Parkinson’s label just yet, should be eligible for VA disability benefits under the presumption for Parkinson’s disease.
One of the requirements to a winning VA disability claim is a current disability. You may see VA deny a claim for lack of a formal diagnosis. This study should provide affected veterans with the evidence they need to get the benefits they deserve. From a medical standpoint, it makes no difference whether you have the diagnosis. So, it only makes sense that the law should reflect the current thinking in the medical community.
How to Win a VA Parkinson’s Disability Claim Without a Diagnosis
If you are a veteran without a Parkinson’s diagnosis but you have symptoms of the disease, there are really two ways you can service-connect your disability.
The first way is to use the Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014 to argue that you are entitled to the presumption of service-connection. The argument will be that there is no medical difference between someone who is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and someone who only has the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease since the diagnosis is a diagnosis of exclusion. Anytime you can use a presumption to win your VA disability claim, it is the path of least resistance.
The second way to win is the “old fashioned” way. That is by proving with medical evidence that there is a link between your current symptoms that resemble Parkinson’s disease and your exposure to Agent Orange or one of the other rainbow herbicides. To get the best rating possible, you will need to follow the same game plan as someone with the diagnosis:
- Thoroughly document the type and severity of your symptoms, and
- Have a doctor relate each one to your military service (i.e., the herbicide exposure)
Our Veterans Disability Attorneys Can Help You With Your Parkinson’s Disability Claim for VA Benefits
Parkinson’s disease takes a toll on the patient and the surrounding family. Adding a VA disability claim on top of everything else can be overwhelming.
If you need someone to talk to about your particular VA disability claim, you can contact us to set up a free consultation. We are always happy to review your claim and see if we can assist.
To find out more about how a free consultation works, just read this short article that explains the process. To set up a free consultation, just call us at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit this short request form.