VA Compensation Appeals for Visual Impairment – Everything You Need to Know
As a member of the U.S. military who developed an eye condition or sustained an injury while on active duty, either of which caused visual impairment, you should be entitled to receive benefits (38 CFR § 4.75) for your condition. However, there is still a big question: “Why was your claim denied?”
A VA disability lawyer can help you determine why the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied your claim for visual impairment veterans’ benefits and file an appeal on your behalf.
Call (888) 392-5392 today for more information.
Types of Eye Conditions That Comprise Visual Impairment and are Rated by VA
VA evaluates your visual impairment based on three factors:
- Impairment of visual acuity
- Impairment of visual field
- Impairment of muscle function
VA will rate the extent of your visual impairment based on the following set of characteristics:
Impairment of Central Visual Acuity
- Anatomical loss of both eyes
- No more than light perception in both eyes
- Anatomical loss of one eye
- No more than light perception in one eye
- Vision in one eye 5/200 (1.5/60)
- Visual acuity in one eye 10/200 (3/60) or better
- Vision in one eye 10/200 (3/60)
- Vision in one eye 15/200 (4.5/60)
- Vision in one eye 20/200 (6/60)
- Vision in one eye 20/100 (6/30)
- Vision in one eye 20/70 (6/21)
- Vision in one eye 20/50 (6/15)
- Vision in one eye 20/40 (6/12)
Impairment of Visual Field
- Visual field defects
- Loss of temporal half of visual field
- Loss of nasal half of visual field
- Loss of inferior half of visual field
- Loss of superior half of visual field
- Concentric contraction of visual field
- With remaining field of 6 to 15 degrees
- With remaining field of 16 to 30 degrees
- With remaining field of 31 to 45 degrees
- With remaining field of 46 to 60 degrees
- Scotoma, unilateral
Impairment of Muscle Function
- Diplopia (double vision)
How Ratings Are Determined for Visual Impairment Veterans BenefitsVA will rate your impairment based on how your vision performs in each sub-area. This rating pairs with a table of monthly benefits to which you would be entitled under this rating. Keep in mind however that if you have both diplopia and decreased visual acuity or visual field defect, there are special rules for how your condition would be rated. An attorney can help you fight for the highest possible rating.
For example, in the case of the visual impairment of central visual acuity—“No more than light perception in one eye”—your specific condition is tested with regard to this characteristic, then rated based on your vision in the other eye.
Example of Rating Criteria for Visual Acuity
The following are the rating criteria (38 CFR § 4.79) for 10/200 vision in one eye:
- 90 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 10/200 (3/60)”
- 80 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60)”
- 70 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 20/200 (6/60)”
- 60 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 20/100 (6/30)”
- 50 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 20/70 (6/21)”
- 40 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 20/50 (6/15)”
- 30 percent disability rating: “In the other eye 20/40 (6/12)”
The corresponding compensation rates as of December 2019 is as follows for a single veteran with no dependents:
• 10 percent rating: $142.29 per month
• 20 percent rating: $281.27 per month
• 30 percent rating: $435.69 per month
• 40 percent rating: $627.61 per month
• 50 percent rating: $893.43 per month
• 60 percent rating: $1,131.68 per month
• 70 percent rating: $1,426.17 per month
• 80 percent rating: $1,657.80 per month
• 90 percent rating: $1,862.96 per month
• 100 percent rating: $3,106.04 per month
Why VA Denied Your Claim for Visual Impairment Veterans Benefits and How to Fix it for an Appeal
Three elements comprise a successful visual impairment appeal. If you did not present all the required components in your initial appeal for VA visual impairment benefits, this may be why VA denied your claim.
Three Required Elements for a Successful Visual Impairment Benefits Appeal
- A current diagnosis of visual impairment
- A specific event you experienced while on active duty in the U.S. military that resulted in injury or trauma (This may also be satisfied if your visual impairment began while you were in the service.)
- A “nexus” (direct “cause and effect” connection) between the event and your diagnosis
A veterans disability lawyer can help you gather and develop evidence for the above requirements.
How to Appeal a Denied Claim for Visual Impairment Veterans Benefits
Now that you know a little more about the mechanics of veterans’ disability benefits, you can start thinking about appealing your claim denial or underrating.
A denied veterans disability claim can consist of multiple levels of review. Although it is possible to move through these phases yourself, take note that the process for each review is complicated and can be frustrating. You would be wise to seek the services of a veterans disability lawyer.
See How a Veterans’ Disability Lawyer Can Help You Today: (888) 392-5392
If you are ready to appeal your visual impairment veterans’ benefits claim denial, call a disability lawyer today. With the right legal counsel, someone who knows the intricacies of VA and has a broad knowledge of disability appeals, you will make this process much easier on yourself and increase your chances for well-deserved compensation — and rest. Get help from a veterans’ disability law firm today: (888) 392-5392.