VA Finalizes Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions

Gregory M. Rada Disability Compensation, Legal Update

After a long wait, the Department of Veterans Affairs has finalized and released regulations that establish a presumption of service connection for certain conditions caused by contaminants in the water supply at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  The amended regulations apply to veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members who served for at least 30 …

VA Issues Updated Guidelines for Partial Knee Replacements

Gregory M. Rada Disability Compensation, Legal Update

This past November, the VA updated the portion of the M21-1 Manual that instructs VA raters how to process claims for evaluations of partial knee replacements. This update is a response to a decision by the Federal Circuit in Hudgens v. McDonald, which I wrote about in a previous post. In Hudgens, the Federal Circuit held that partial knee replacements qualify for …

VA Offers New TBI Exams to Thousands of Veterans

Gregory M. Rada Disability Compensation

The VA is offering new TBI exams to thousands of veterans who did not have their initial examination performed by either a psychiatrist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon, or neurologist. This action impacts more than 24,000 veterans and will ensure these veterans receive a proper initial TBI examination and a new rating decision. The VA is offering new initial TBI exams because it …

Federal Circuit Rules Partial Knee Replacements Qualify for Temporary 100 Percent Rating

Gregory M. Rada Disability Compensation, Legal Update

On May 18, 2016, in Hudgens v. McDonald, the Federal Circuit ruled that partial knee joint replacements qualify for ratings under Diagnostic Code (DC) 5055, which is the diagnostic code that grants a temporary 100% rating for the year following a knee joint replacement, and then a minimum 30% rating thereafter. This is a great outcome for veterans undergoing partial knee replacement surgery, because …

Update on Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions

Gregory M. Rada Disability Compensation, Legal Update

Secretary McDonald recently revealed more details regarding VA’s plan to expand disability compensation eligibility to veterans who were exposed to contaminated water while stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987, including Reserve and National Guard personnel who would not normally be eligible for VA disability compensation benefits. The Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic …