Kidney disease can have a negative impact on a veteran’s quality of life—creating pain that makes it difficult to work or enjoy everyday activities with family and friends. If your kidney disease is connected to your military service, an experienced veterans benefits attorney can help you get approved for VA disability benefits.
Types of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is a general term used to describe three distinctly different conditions:
Uncontrolled blood sugar damages the capillaries in the kidneys’ glomeruli. This is generally the beginning of a more serious kidney issue.
Chronic kidney disease.
Also known as renal failure, this is a gradual loss of kidney function over an extended time period. Eventually, the person will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Acute kidney failure.
Sometimes, the kidneys will stop functioning very suddenly after an injury or illness. Often, this condition develops after a person has already been hospitalized or sought emergency medical treatment for another condition.
How the VA Rates Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is rated under the genitourinary system with two separate rating schedules: dysfunctions (§4.115a) and diagnoses (§4.115b). Typically, the rating code for diagnoses will reference the dysfunctions rating code.
A veteran is entitled to a 100% rating if they require regular dialysis or meet one of the following criteria:
- They can only handle sedentary activity due to persistent swelling caused by albuminuria.
- They have a significantly decreased function of the kidney or other organ systems, especially the cardiovascular system.
- Their blood tests show a BUN of more than 80 mg or creatinine of more than 8 mg.
A veteran who does not meet the criteria for a 100% schedular rating may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits if their condition prevents them from maintaining substantially gainful employment due to activity limitations or the need for frequent absences for medical care or hospitalization. TDIU benefits provide cash compensation at the 100% disability level. If kidney disease is a veteran’s only disability, they generally need a 60% or higher rating to be eligible for TDIU. Veterans with two or more service-connected disabilities need a combined rating of 70% or higher with one disability that is rated 40% or higher or requires frequent extended hospital stays.
Do You Need to Speak With a Veterans Benefits Lawyer?
If you need to speak with an experienced veterans benefits lawyer, please contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.