If you are a military veteran who has been diagnosed with service-connected high blood pressure, then you likely qualify for VA disability benefits.
Under the Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act of 2021, service members who developed hypertension after being deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, or other combat zones are automatically eligible for VA health care and disability benefits without proving a connection between military service and their illness. Veterans who develop hypertension within a year of being discharged from the service are presumed to have a service-connected disability that qualifies them for benefits, particularly if they take medicine to control their blood pressure.
If you are a U.S. military service veteran with a diagnosis of hypertension who is not receiving VA benefits you believe you are due, The Disability Law Group of Michigan can assist you. Our experienced disability benefits attorneys serve veterans and their families in Macomb County, Wayne County, and Oakland County. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.
What Is Hypertension and Its Symptoms?
Hypertension is known as a silent killer because most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms. Hypertension can cause serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, hypertension can be controlled with a healthy diet, exercise, and medication.
A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds, the Mayo Clinic says. But such symptoms usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. High blood pressure is typically diagnosed when a nurse takes your blood pressure during a routine checkup, and it persists over time.
Blood pressure is a measurement of both the amount of blood your heart pumps when it beats (systolic pressure) and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).
- Normal blood pressure for most adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80. It is written as 120/80.
- Elevated blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
- High blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure of 130 or higher or diastolic pressure of 80 or higher.
According to the Federal Schedule for Rating Disabilities – Cardiovascular System – a portion of the VA Disability Ratings schedule – hypertension means that the diastolic blood pressure is 90 or greater in most measurements. Isolated systolic hypertension means that the systolic blood pressure is predominantly 160 or greater with a diastolic blood pressure of less than 90.
Can You Get VA Disability for Hypertension?
If you are a veteran with a diagnosis of hypertension for which you are prescribed medication, you may be eligible for VA benefits.
To establish eligibility for VA disability benefits, a veteran must meet two criteria:
- A medical diagnosis of a recognized disabling condition. This may be established with your medical records, whether from treatment while in service, VA medical records, or private medical records.
- The disability was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service or by another service-connected disability, such as service-connected PTSD. Hypertension has also been scientifically linked to exposure to Agent Orange, the highly toxic Vietnam-era defoliant.
With the adoption of the Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act of 2021, a veteran with a diagnosis of hypertension need only prove service in a specific combat zone, including service in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam, to establish a presumptive service connection to their hypertension. A diagnosis of hypertension within one year of release from active duty also qualifies a veteran for a presumptive service connection.
How Does The VA Rate Hypertension?
When a veteran applies for VA disability benefits, the VA assesses their medical condition and assigns a rating based on the severity of the veteran’s condition. VA Disability Ratings, which are expressed in 10-percent increments from 0% to 100%, determine the amount of VA benefits a veteran receives.
According to the VA Disability Ratings schedule, a veteran is rated as 10% disabled if they have:
Diastolic pressure that is predominantly 100 or more, or systolic pressure predominantly 160 or more.
Further, the schedule says:
- A 20% Disability Rating is available for a veteran whose diastolic pressure is predominantly 110 or more or systolic pressure is predominantly 200 or more.
- A 40% Disability Rating is available for a veteran whose diastolic pressure is predominantly 120 or more.
- A 60% Disability Rating is available for a veteran whose diastolic pressure is predominantly 130 or more.
For 2022, the monthly benefit for a 10% disability rating was set as $152.64. It was $301.74 for a 20% disability rating. The benefit for a 10% to 20% disability rating does not increase because of a dependent spouse, child, or parent
For disability ratings of 30% or higher, VA disability payments increase if a veteran has a dependent spouse, child, or parent. Without dependents in 2022, a disabled veteran is eligible to receive:
- $467.39 per month for a 30% disability rating
- $673.28 per month for a 40% disability rating
- $1,214.03 per month for a 60% disability rating.
With a spouse only, for example, the benefit for a 30% disability rating increases to $522.39.
Contact Our Michigan VA Attorneys About a Disability Hypertension Claim
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with high blood pressure that is connected to military service, we can help you ensure that you receive the full government benefit promised for your service to our nation. The experienced attorneys of Disability Law Group are knowledgeable about VA disability benefits and are ready to help you pursue benefits that will help to ensure your and your family’s financial security.
Please contact us by phone or email or fill out one of the contact forms on our website, so we can get started assisting you and your family.