What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is a type of pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. It can continue even after the injury or illness that caused the pain has healed, and pain signals can remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. In the U.S., up to 100 million people experience chronic pain annually, and veterans are forty percent more likely to have severe chronic pain than nonveterans.
Some of the most common conditions linked to chronic pain are:
Chronic pain can also have emotional effects and lead to the development of a number of different mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. The increasing presence of both chronic pain and its associated mental health comorbidities among veteran populations makes it all the more important that the VA provides disability compensation for those who have these conditions as a result of their military service.
How The VA Rates Chronic Pain
Prior to Saunders v. Wilkie, a 2018 Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision, veterans had to have a diagnosed condition to receive service connection for their chronic pain. However, after that decision, veterans can now receive a schedular disability rating for their pain alone without needing an underlying diagnosis to make it compensable. Service connection still needs to be established by showing the VA that an in-service event, injury, or illness caused the pain, and the veteran’s pain must cause some type of functional impairment or loss, but additional evidence of a diagnosable condition is not needed.
Additionally, veterans can receive compensation for secondary conditions that are the result of their chronic pain. For example, if a veteran’s service-connected chronic pain causes him or her to develop depression, the veteran could apply for service connection for that condition on a secondary basis.
Getting Help With Your Chronic Pain VA Claim
If you are a veteran living with chronic pain, you may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation if your condition resulted from your military service. For help filing an initial VA disability claim, or assistance appealing an unfavorable VA decision, please contact our office today. Our experienced veterans disability lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.