Recently, we’ve had some questions about conditions that have healed or been cured. Why won’t the VA give VA Disability Ratings for them?
The military disability system only gives compensation for disabilities, and by definition, disabilities are physical or mental conditions that limit the functioning of the body or mind. Conditions that have fully healed do not limit the body’s ability to function at all, and thus are not disabilities.
The whole point of DoD Disability and VA Disability is to compensate the veteran for any loss of income he has because of his disability. Without a disability, he can work just fine, and so has nothing to be compensated for.
This goes for any condition at any time. So, if Bill breaks his leg and has to have surgery while in the military, but it heals completely and doesn’t limit him at all, then he will receive no compensation for that condition. If, however, it improves some, but he still has trouble moving the knee completely, then that can receive a military disability rating since his knee cannot fully function.
Military Disability isn’t about having a condition at one point or another. It is entirely focused on the ability of the body to fully function at a given time. The DoD only rates conditions based on their severity at the time of separation from the military. So in Bill’s case, all that matters to the DoD is how the knee could function when he was separated from the military.
The VA, however, will change their ratings over time if the condition changes. So if Bill was unable to fully move his knee when he was separated from the military, the VA would give him compensation at that time. If over the next few years, however, his knee continued to improve until it regained full function, the VA would then rerate his condition to 0%, and he would stop receiving compensation.
No disability = No compensation
If, however, the condition comes back later, as many healed conditions can do as a person ages, then it would once again qualify to receive disability compensation from the VA.
While this may not be a pleasant thing for some of you to hear, it is completely fair. The government shouldn’t be using taxpayers’ money to pay for nothing. At the same time, those disabled veterans who are limited by their conditions should absolutely, definitely, and completely receive compensation for those conditions. No question.