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Veteran TBI Claims

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VA Disability Benefits Attorney reviewing TBI ratings and VA brain injury compensation

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any disruption to the normal function of the brain. Brain injuries are not uncommon in military service, and can be caused by severe blows to the head, penetrating head injuries, or nearby explosions. Veteran brain injury cases may involve injuries from combat or basic training.

Up to 17 percent of all veterans may qualify for VA TBI disability benefits, according to a recent study on post-9/11 military veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost half of all veterans reporting brain injuries report more than one head injury, and among those, the majority have higher rates of multiple disabilities, including suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental disorders.

The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that 22 percent of all combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan are brain injuries. TBI injury can often lead to long-term mental and physical health problems that greatly impact veterans’ employment potential and ability to earn a living. Compensation with VA benefits is essential for many injured veterans.

It is critical to contact an experienced VA claims attorney to guide you through this complex process. A proper VA disability rating can mean the difference between a lifetime of struggle and monthly compensation.

Joe Lyon is a Cincinnati, Ohio Veterans Affairs Lawyer investigating Veteran Brain injury cases and filing VA claims on behalf of injured veterans nationwide.

Veteran TBI Brain Injury Causes

The most common causes of veteran traumatic brain injury (TBI) include bomb blasts, objects and projectiles hitting the head, vehicle accidents and falls. Most TBI injuries are considered mild, though any head injury can lead to long-term effects on general well-being, memory, mood, vision and focus.

Mild TBI cases, also known as concussions, can be linked to combat trauma, and has been linked to a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The military screens any veteran suspected of a TBI while in the following situations:

  • Has been in a vehicle damaged by a bomb blast
  • Has been within 50 meters of a blast
  • Has been in a structure hit by an explosive device
  • Has sustained a direct blow to the head

Brain Injury & VA TBI Ratings

Veterans who screen positive on an initial TBI questionnaire are offered a comprehensive TBI evaluation with a medical specialist. The VA will give veterans a TBI disability rating that determines the level of brain injury disability and how that might affect daily life of a veteran.

Screening tests may also measure the accumulation of TBI events. The more brain injuries a person suffers, the greater the risk of developing permanent psychological health conditions. The association with neurodegenerative disease and repetitive brain injury has been established in some studies.

Combat TBI Brain Injury Studies

  1. A 2015 study found that Veterans who were near bomb blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan appear to experience faster brain aging. Even in blasts that did not lead to concussion may have affected veterans in unexpected ways—brain images detected a fraying of white matter in the brain. Early dementia is a concern in these cases.
  2. A 2016 study by researchers identified the cerebellum as particularly vulnerable to repeated blast exposures. The research team looked at veterans’ brain scans, and determines the more blasts they were exposed to, the more likely they were to show cerebellum disruption. In some studies, they revealed the buildup of proteins associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  3. In 2012, researchers from the Boston VA Healthcare System discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of four veterans after their death. CTE is a degenerative brain disease thought to be linked to repeated head traumas such as concussions.
  4. Veterans exposed to blasts from bombs, grenades, and other explosive devices may still have brain damage even without any symptoms of TBI, according to a 2015 study by researchers at VA’s Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC).

Veteran Brain Injury Complications

  • Sensory problems—vision and hearing issues—are common among Veterans who have had TBI. In 2012, VA researchers reported on a study of 21,000 Veterans that of those with TBI, 10 percent reported vision problems, and 31 percent reported hearing impairments.
  • TBI and Epilepsy—In 2015, researchers reported that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with multiple TBIs were about 28 percent more likely to develop epilepsy than those without TBIs. The research showed that veterans who suffered penetrating or severe TBIs had the highest risk.
  • TBI and Suicide—Veterans with a TBI have an increased rate of a suicide attempt, as studies indicate 83 percent of those with a TBI who attempted suicide also had a psychiatric condition.

Some of the secondary conditions the VA considers for service connection head injury claims include:

  • Sleeping Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Bladder and Bowel Control Problems
  • PTSD
  • Cognitive Problems
  • Hearing Problems
  • Memory issues
  • Neurobehavioral Problems
  • Chronic Pain
  • Vision Problems
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Hormone Deficiency
  • Parkinsons Disease
  • Seizures

VA Brain Injury Disability Benefits

Service members and veterans who experience moderate to severe TBI are much more likely to find trouble with employment. If the VA considers a head injury to be service-connected, veterans should receive a TBI rating of 0-100%. The VA considers the medical evidence presented and will determine what rating the veteran deserves.

The VA will require evidence of how severe your current disabilities and impairments are and how they affect your daily life. The Lyon Firm can assist in compiling all the factors and right questions when reviewing your service connected head injury claims.

When veterans file a service connection brain injury claim, they should also list related secondary service connected conditions. Each veteran brain injury case will be different though for the best chance on a claim, veterans are encouraged to apply for benefits as soon as they complete military service and have been diagnosed with a condition.

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A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

VA cases support those who sacrificed to serve our country. Many veterans experience severe implications due to their military experience, creating additional costs in quality of life beyond the years of military service. Veterans deserve quality support and legal counsel to receive compensation for the additional, and sometimes lifelong, suffering their duty caused. 

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VA Disability FAQ

What VA Disability benefits are available?

The following disability compensation benefits are available to Veterans:

Disability Compensation – a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated by active military service. 

Automobile Allowance – financial assistance provided to help eligible severely disabled Servicemembers and Veterans purchase or adapt an automobile to accommodate their disabilities

Clothing Allowance – annual stipend(s) provided to disabled Veterans who have unique clothing needs as a result of a service-connected disability or injury.

Specially Adapted Housing/ Special Home Adaptation Grants – provides monetary benefits to adapt or obtain suitable housing for eligible severely disabled Veterans

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) – provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free insurance premiums and have the opportunity to purchase additional insurance  

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) – provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – provides educational and training services to Veterans with service-connected illnesses and injuries to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment

Education Assistance – provides education benefits to Veterans to assist with obtaining a degree or with pursuing other eligible education and training

Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) – provides assistance to survivors or dependents of Veterans to obtain a degree


Am I eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training. A disability can apply
to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee
condition, as well as a mental health conditions,
such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you were on inactive duty for training, the
disability must have resulted from injury, heart
attack, or stroke. Your discharge from service must
have been under other than dishonorable conditions.
Compensation varies depending on the degree of
your disability. 

If you have dependents, an additional allowance
may be added if your combined disability is rated
30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset
if you receive military retirement pay, disability
severance pay, or separation incentive payments.

What are presumptive veteran disabilities?

VA presumes that some disabilities are due to
military service. You may be eligible to receive
service-connected disability benefits if you have
a qualifying disability associated with certain
conditions of service, such as:

» Former Prisoners of War
» Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange
» Gulf War Veterans with undiagnosed illnesses
and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.

What is a “service-connected” disability?

A service-connected disability is related to an injury or disease that developed during or was aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training. VA also pays disability compensation for disabilities resulting from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during
inactive duty training.

What compensation can i expect?

VA disability benefits depend on your level of disability and stats of dependents. You can calculate what you think you may deserve at the VA Web site:

Are VA Disability Benefits for life?

You can be eligible for VA benefits for as long as your service-related injury or disability is assigned to a compensable rating by the VA.