At the end of 2013, the VA announced 5 new TBI Presumptive Conditions that will become effective today, January 14, 2014.
What does that mean?
It means that if you have a diagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and are diagnosed with 1 or more of these 5 conditions within the appropriate time period, the LAW will now provide the nexus between your military service and your current disability.
Information about new TBI Presumptive Conditions you can read (almost) everywhere.
If you have a diagnosed TBI, and are diagnosed with the following conditions (or types of conditions) within the specified time periods, then the following condition will be service connected by operation of law (i.e., the VA can still deny it, but you’ll probably win your appeal a lot faster).
1) Parkinson’s Disease: Any Veteran with a Diagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), who is later diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, will have their Parkinson’s Disease presumptively service-connected.
2) Dementia: If a Veteran previously diagnosed with TBI is diagnosed with Dementia within 15 years from the time that the TBI was rated as “moderate or severe”, then the Dementia will be presumptively service-connected
3) Depression. If a Veteran’s depression manifests within 3 years of a moderate or severe TBI, or within 12 months of a “mild” TBI, then it will also be presumptively service-connected.
4) Diseases of hormone deficiency from hypothalamo-pituitary changes will be presumptively service-connected if they manifest within 12 months of the diagnosis of a moderate or severe TBI.
I will post more in detail about this later, as it is a complex medical condition, and I don’t want to get too “thick” in this post.
The insight about TBI presumptive conditions you will only find here.
I want to make 3 points about TBI.
1) Diagnosis of TBI is still far from being a medical science. While doctors are getting more information about this condition, the full scope and long/short term effects of TBI and the role TBI plays in a wide variety of daily life activities, is still “unexplored territory”.
2) Differentiating between a mild, moderate and severe TBI, in my experience, is like trying to describe how sharp a knife is – after it cuts you. TBI will be the single greatest medical condition that our youngest generation of Veterans will face. It is the OIF/OEF generation’s “Agent Orange”, if you will allow me to be loose with my metaphors.
3) This announcement does not mean that Veterans will be AUTOMATICALLY service connected if they have a TBI and one of these 5 conditions. These are still only “presumptive” service-connection designations.
This is a hard concept for a lot of Veterans (and frankly, a lot of lawyers) to understand. The designation that a condition is presumptively service-connected to another condition means only that the National Academy of Sciences found a statistically significant correlation between military service and the appearance of the 2 conditions.
As even lawyers frequently forget, correlation is NOT causation.
The VA can ALWAYS overcome a legal presumption by showing that it is more likely than not that an individual Veteran’s depression, dementia, Parkinson’s, or pituitary changes were caused by another condition or situation.
We’ll be posting more on these changes throughout the coming weeks and months.
Let us know if you have any questions we can answer by sending your Question to Veterans Mail Call.