What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (similar to Crohn’s disease) that causes ulcers and inflammation in the innermost lining of the digestive tract. Symptoms of UC usually develop over time rather than suddenly. While this condition can be debilitating and even lead to life-threatening complications in some cases, treatment can greatly reduce the symptoms associated with UC and sometimes lead to remission.
The most common symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis are:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Weight loss
Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms, but cases of severe UC can cause the affected individual to have difficulty with daily functioning and make it difficult for him or her to maintain consistent employment. The impact ulcerative colitis can have on a person’s daily life is why the VA developed a schedular disability rating system for this condition. Veterans with UC are eligible for different levels of compensation depending on the severity of their illness, which is important given that ulcerative colitis affects at least 0.2 percent of the veteran population.
Getting Service Connected For Ulcerative Colitis
For veterans seeking service connection for ulcerative colitis, the most important evidence they can provide to the VA are medical records. These records will ideally show the VA that the veteran’s UC was (1) diagnosed in service or (2) became symptomatic in service and was diagnosed within one year of discharge. Veterans can also prove service connection for their ulcerative colitis if they have medical records supporting that another condition they are already service connected for causes their UC.
It is likely that in the course of a veteran’s ulcerative colitis claim, the VA will send him or her for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam to assess the severity of his or her illness. In this exam, the physician will review the veteran’s physical presentation of UC, but he or she will also ask questions about how the condition affects the veteran’s life. When the doctor asks these questions, the veteran should answer as accurately as possible. Veterans do not want to exaggerate their symptoms or say their condition is worse or better than it is. In a C&P exam, the veteran should always provide a truthful representation of his or her condition so he or she can receive the most accurate schedular disability rating possible.
How The VA Rates Ulcerative Colitis
Under 38 CFR § 4.114, the VA rates ulcerative colitis depending on the severity of the condition.
Diagnostic Code 7323: Colitis, ulcerative
- 100 – Pronounced; resulting in marked malnutrition, anemia, and general debility, or with serious complication as liver abscess
- 60 – Severe; with numerous attacks a year and malnutrition, the health only fair during remissions
- 30 – Moderately severe; with frequent exacerbations
- 10 – Moderate; with infrequent exacerbations
Getting Help With Your VA Claim For Ulcerative Colitis
If you or someone you know is a veteran interested in receiving assistance with his or her VA claim for ulcerative colitis, please contact our office today. Our veterans disability attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.