I will randomly “pop up” – LIVE – on You Tube or Facebook and talk to whoever’s listening for 5 or 10 minutes about VA claims and appeals.
In this Facebook LIVE Popup, we talked about:
And a couple more topics, too.
VA Disability Ratings for Knee Pain, Functional Loss, Limitations on Range of Motion and Instability.
In summary of what you will see in this video, there are 3 things that you want to make sure your VA C&P examiner considers when you are trying to make sure you got the correct VA disability rating for knee pain.
The over-arching principle of the process for establishing a VA disability rating for knee pain is that you can get more than one rating for knee pain. This is an exception to the rule against pyramid ratings.
Here are three aspects to consider in ensuring you get the most accurate VA disability rating for knee pain
#1: Range of Motion. The most basic rating measures limitations of “flexion” and “extension”. You should get a separate VA disability rating for a limitation on the range of motion of your knee. Here are some examples:
- Knee Flexion is the bending motion of your knee.VA disability ratings for knee flexion limitations reach to 30 percent.
- Knee Extension is the straightening motion of your knee. VA disability ratings for knee extension limitations reach to 50 percent. Overextension of the knee can reach up to a 30 percent rating, when coupled with dislocation.
- Limitations on BOTH knee flexion and knee extension: separate VA disability ratings for each limitation
#2: Instability in the Knee Joint.
- VA rating for knee instability is measured by the need for bracing and the impact on daily life activities.
- This rating can be combined with a rating for pain
- Even if your knee pain has NO impact on the knees range of motion, you can get the minimum 10% VA disability rating for knee pain alone when accompanied with a diagnosis (pain alone is a disability, but it must relate to a functional impairment of earning capacity).
- Pain, like functional loss, is measured by its impact on the range of motion. Tell your doctor where in the knee range of motion you are experiencing pain.
Other factors to consider in getting the proper VA disability ratings for knee pain, instability, functional loss and range of motion:
#4: Functional Loss. In assessing a VA disability rating for your knee, the VA can assign a separate rating when the knee condition results in functional loss.
- Functional loss includes consideration of the following factors: Excursion, Stability, Strength, Coordination and Endurance.
- A proper VA disability rating for your knee based on functional loss will observe where in the range of motion the functional loss begins to occur
# 5: Repetitive Use. In establishing VA disability ratings for knee pain, instability, range of motion limitation or functional loss, the C&P examiner should not do a once-and-done measurement.
- Establishing the proper rating requires repetitive use testing – at least 3 repetitions – to simulate the operation of the knee joint in its daily use.
#6: Flareups. If you have flareups of knee pain, or flareups of any kind related to your knee injury, tell the C&P examiner.
- Be detailed in your descriptions: the VA C&P Examiner is supposed to estimate the impact of flareups on your range of motion even if you are not experiencing a flareup during the exam.
- It is a cop-out – and remandable error – for the BVA to endorse a VA knee rating when the C&P examiner said he could not assign a rating based on flareups because he did not personally witness the flareup.
- Share detailed information with the C&P examiner, and bolster it later with lay evidence, demonstrating the frequency, nature and duration of your flareups.
#7: Appeal BVA Decisions establishing VA Disability Ratings for Knee injuries.
- BVA decisions regarding VA disability ratings for knee pain or other knee conditions are notoriously incorrect.
- I read hundreds of BVA decisions each month, and the most common error that I think the BVA makes in evaluating impairment ratings is obtaining the proper VA disability rating for the knee.
- If you get a BVA decision denying you a higher VA disability rating for knee injuries, there is a higher than average likelihood that the BVA got it wrong – consider hiring an attorney with experience appealing adverse BVA decisions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This post is meant to be a general guide for factors to consider when determining if your VA Disability rating for knee pain is proper or adequate. It is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the possible ways to rate a VA knee disability. There are many other ratings – some separate and some combined – which could apply to any given knee condition. To name just a few: dislocation/removal of the meniscus, total knee replacements, partial knee replacements, frozen knee joint and amputations of the leg.
The above video was recorded November 6, 2018, live on Facebook.
A word of caution as you watch this video: the older the video, the older the information. While some things in VA law never change – the hearing rating tables for example – other things can change quicker than you think.
In the arena of VA disability ratings for knee pain, the rating process is likely to get more and more sophisticated, opening new opportunities for increased VA disability ratings for knee conditions