Knee pain. It really should be in the recruiting brochure. I have service-connected disabilities for both my knees, and I would bet you have knee issues as well. Today we will discuss how you file AND WIN a VA claim for knee pain.
My buddy (Army veteran) told me he didn’t bother filing a VA claim for knee pain because he didn’t see it as “worth it.” He went on and on about how “of course” ruck marches destroyed his knees. In short, he had already decided the VA had won. As a result, he never tried to win. He made a stupid choice, but you don’t need to accept his weak suck attitude.
The military is responsible for your health when you are on active duty. You went to MEPS, got naked, and then they spent a full day trying to see if you had any health issues. As a result, they own any issues that develop on active duty. Consequently, you started with two good knees, but now you have at least one bad knee. Now what? Now you file a VA claim for knee issues.
3 Keys to a Successful VA Claim for Knee Pain
When you file your VA claim for knee pain you will need three key things:
1) A current disability diagnosis
2) Proof that the disability occurred on active duty (service-connection)
3) “Nexus” (Proof that the current disability is continuation of the active-duty injury)
How Do I Start My VA Claim for Knee Pain?
Your VA claim for “knee pain” needs to get a bit more specific. The VA likes to rate knee issues under “Limitation of Flexion of the Knee.” However, this is a generic rating that the VA uses when you file a claim for knee issues. You need to start with a diagnosis, and this starts with a trip to the doctor.
I get it. You sucked it up and never went to sick call. You did not want to be the pussy that went to sick call. That is the normal way to handle it on active duty, but that is screwing yourself as a veteran. As a result, you need to get a diagnosis, and that can only happen if you see your VA provider.
My personal diagnosis is currently “patellar subluxation.” I do not believe the VA properly diagnosed me, but I worked with-in that diagnosis to maximize my disability rating. I believe arthritis was the correct diagnosis, but the VA disagreed. However, the percentage was the same for either diagnosis.
As a result, my percentage is correct, but I disagree with the exact diagnosis. You can not get bogged down in details, and you need to maximize anything the VA gives you. It is ok to disagree with the VA’s diagnosis, but it is not ok to be underrated.
How Will the VA Rate My Claim for Knee Pain?
At the end of this claim, you will attend a C&P exam (compensation and pension exam- the doctor visit that determines your disability rating). The doctor will rate your knee issue based on ROM (range of motion). The doctor uses a goniometer to determine range of motion. It looks like two clear rulers with a circle connecting them. Regardless of your diagnosis, that goniometer will probably determine your VA disability rating for knee pain. Consequently, the doctor will rate your ability to straighten your knee as follows:
- 50% – extension limited to 45 degrees
- 40% – extension limited to 30 degrees
- 30% – extension limited to 20 degrees
- 20% – extension limited to 15 degrees
- 10% – extension limited to 10 degrees
- 0% – extension limited to 5 degrees
I Have My Diagnosis! What’s Next? Can I File Yet?
Not yet. You need to prove service-connection. You need to prove that you are filing a VA claim for a knee issue that started on active duty. In a perfect world, you will have multiple doctor visits on active duty for knee issues. However, this is not always possible. You can use “buddy statements” and “personal statements” to strengthen your claim.
A buddy statement is a statement from friends, other troops, family, etc. that provides support that your knee issue started on active duty. In addition, your personal statement is your opportunity to explain how your knee issue started on active duty. Be direct. Be concise. Don’t exaggerate. However, if you choose to exaggerate your claim- the VA will decline to use your letters as supporting evidence.
But my barracks lawyer said I don’t need a nexus! Well, my barracks lawyer said I wasn’t eligible for any type of disability (I am currently rated at 90%, and actively working toward 100%). A “nexus” is a medical opinion that military service caused or aggravated your current disability. The VA does not require you to submit a nexus letter.
However, your claim will be stronger with a nexus letter. Above all, we want you well armed and ready to battle the VA. The nexus letter can be a critical piece of evidence that swings a decision in your favor. As a result, you need to examine your current evidence, and then you can decide if you need a nexus letter.
I’m Ready! Will Combat Craig File
My VA Claim For Knee Pain?
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