What Is Gastritis?
Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or develop slowly over time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer. However, for some people gastritis may not be serious and may be manageable with treatment. Some of the most common symptoms of gastritis are:
- Gnawing or burning ache or pain in the upper abdomen
- Feeling fullness in the upper abdomen after eating
While most of these symptoms also coincide with general symptoms of indigestion, if someone experiences any of these symptoms for a week or longer, he or she should visit their doctor to determine the cause.
Several of the main causes of chronic gastritis are over-use of alcohol, stress, and regular use of certain pain relievers. Due to the common occurrence of these conditions among veterans, particularly those who suffer from PTSD, chronic gastritis is increasingly more common among those who seek disability benefits from the VA. As a result, the VA has created a schedular disability rating code for chronic gastritis, and veterans with this condition are eligible to receive VA disability benefits.
Getting Service Connected For Gastritis
For veterans with chronic gastritis, the most important records they can provide to the VA to get service connection for their condition are medical records. Ideally, those medical records will show that (1) the condition was diagnosed in service, (2) symptoms of the condition began presenting in service or within one year of discharge, or (3) the condition results from one of the veteran’s other service-connected conditions. With this type of evidence, the veteran can prove to the VA that his or her chronic gastritis entitles him or her to compensation.
How The VA Rates Gastritis
For the purposes of veterans seeking to claim VA disability benefits, the VA only provides schedular disability ratings for chronic gastritis. Under 38 CFR § 4.114, the VA evaluates this condition as follows:
Diagnostic Code 7307: Gastritis, hypertrophic (identified by gastroscope)
- 60 – Chronic; with severe hemorrhages, or large ulcerated or eroded areas
- 30 – Chronic; with multiple small eroded or ulcerated areas, and symptoms
- 10 – Chronic; with small nodular lesions, and symptoms
- A complication of a number of diseases, including pernicious anemia. Rate the underlying condition.
Despite the fact that the maximum schedular disability rating of chronic gastritis is only 60 percent, many veterans with this condition are unable to work due to their severe symptoms. Any veteran who is unable to work due to a service-connected impairment qualifies for a total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) rating, either under 38 CFR 4.16(b) or 38 CFR 4.16(a). A TDIU rating would allow the veteran to receive VA disability benefits at the 100 percent rate, despite his or her overall combined schedular disability rating being below 100 percent.
Help With Your Gastritis Claim
If you are a veteran with gastritis and seek assistance getting service connection for your condition, our experienced veterans law attorneys are ready to help. Please contact us today for a free claim evaluation. Our office is ready to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.