Veterans Disability Info Blog

Tackling Diabetes: A Comprehensive Guide to Disability Claims

Diabetes is a serious health condition that, when not properly managed, can lead to serious injury and the development of other issues. If you or a loved one is suffering from diabetes that was caused by an event, injury, or illness during your active service or is a secondary condition to one, then you could qualify for significant VA disability benefits. These include tax-free monthly payments and medical coverage, depending on the VA disability rating that your condition(s) is assigned. 

Cost-free assistance and assessments are available to veterans filing their initial claim with the VA, and VA-accredited representatives and attorneys cannot charge for such services. If you already have a VA disability rating and have developed diabetes, or if your initial claim was denied, a disabled veteran lawyer from our firm can help you throughout the entire and often complex process. 

Diabetes: A Quick Explanation 

Individuals with diabetes are experiencing a chronic disease, the result of which their bodies are unable to produce or properly use insulin. Insulin helps to take sugar out of your bloodstream into your cells, and when a person’s body does not produce insulin or cannot respond to it, sugar remains in the bloodstream. This can lead to high blood sugar levels that eventually damage blood vessels and internal organs. 

Diabetes is a serious condition that requires ongoing and costly medical treatment, medications, and other measures. If your diabetes was caused by a service-connected event, injury, or illness or is a secondary condition of one connected to your service, you may be entitled to VA disability benefits. 

VA Disability and Diabetes: Definitions and Application 

To be eligible to collect VA disability benefits and compensation for diabetes, you must prove the VA: 

  • That you are currently diagnosed with diabetes, and
  • Your diabetes is connected to your qualifying service in the U.S. military

To prove your current diagnosis, you may submit your own medical records to the VA, which must effectively demonstrate the following: 

  • State the date your diabetes began and what treatment you receive for it.
  • Discuss what medications and diet restrictions are needed and if exercise has been recommended.
  • A discussion, as applicable, concerning prior and current episodes of hypoglycemic reactions or ketoacidosis, and whether or not they required hospitalization, and if so, how often.
  • A complete description of any complications resulting from the diabetes condition, such as renal, vascular, cardiac, vision, neurologic, amputation, and other related complications.

If the private medical evidence you provided does not fulfill the above, the VA may require you to undergo an examination with them, generally the Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P Exam). Providing the VA with comprehensive evidence with your initial application supports the accurate rating of your condition, directly impacting the compensation you receive.

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Do Not Have to Prove a Service-Connection

For veterans who developed diabetes mellitus (type II) as a result of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides during active service in Vietnam, there is no need to prove a connection between the diabetes and military service for VA disability compensation eligibility. This is because the connection between the condition and service is “presumed” and enables you to collect compensation without the traditional eligibility requirements outlined above.

If you served in Vietnam and have not received your VA disability diabetes rating, your benefits could also be retroactive. Due to a federal court decision, veterans of Vietnam are eligible to receive retroactive benefits for diabetes if they had applied for their VA disability benefits before VA diabetes regulation went into effect on May 8, 2001. 

Veterans who have previously been denied coverage for their diabetes mellitus (type II) are encouraged to reapply for benefits, as well as those whose diabetic condition has experienced an increase in severity since a prior VA disability rating. This means that a payment covering the tax-free compensation you would have received from 2001 until the present could be provided in a lump-sum payment. This is a type of VA disability claim on which working with a disabled veteran lawyer is especially helpful. 

When Can a Disabled Veteran Lawyer Help on My Diabetes Claim? 

Free assistance is available when filing your initial VA disability claim, and our disabled veterans attorneys are unable to provide assistance at this stage. Ensuring that you provide the VA with comprehensive medical records, including assessments from your physician, can be helpful. Documenting your condition and how it impacts your life can provide valuable information in rating your VA disability. Additionally, submitting statements from your family and even fellow servicemembers who may have witnessed the events that led to your injuries or the resulting symptoms is also helpful. 

The time to reach out to a disabled veterans attorney is when your initial claim has been denied, or to add diabetes to your preexisting VA disability rating. 

Discuss Your Appeal with a Disabled Veteran Lawyer

If your initial claim has been denied, or if you need to add diabetes to your existing VA rating, a highly experienced disabled veteran lawyer from our firm is standing by to step into your shoes and take over the process. We help you schedule appointments with medical experts to accurately assess your current condition and its link to your active service if the link is not presumed, and then we file and negotiate the best outcome for your claim with the VA on your behalf. 
To connect with a VA benefits attorney from our firm, give us a call at 888-878-9350 or visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

We are Here to Help

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.