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Top 5 Secondary VA Disability Claims Related to Mental Health

Mental health is a complex and often misunderstood aspect of our overall well-being. When it comes to filing secondary claims for mental health conditions, the process can be challenging and require a strong foundation of evidence. In this blog, we will explore five common secondary claims for mental health and provide a bonus sixth claim that could potentially increase your benefits.

First on the list is sleep apnea, a condition that is often connected to mental health issues such as anxiety and insomnia. However, recent changes in rating criteria may make it more difficult to establish a direct link between sleep apnea and mental health. Veterans may need to provide additional evidence to support their claim, such as a medical professional’s determination of their inability to wear a CPAP mask due to mental health conditions.

Next, we have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), both of which can be linked to mental health issues, particularly anxiety. While these conditions may be rated at different levels, it is important to have solid evidence to support your claim, such as medical records and prescriptions.

Hypertension is another secondary condition that is often underrated but can have serious implications for overall health. Connecting hypertension to mental health issues may require additional evidence, such as a history of medication use or coexisting conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Migraines are a common secondary condition that can significantly impact a veteran’s quality of life. Providing current evidence of symptoms and severity, such as prescription refills and a migraine log, can strengthen your claim for service connection.

Lastly, we have a bonus claim on the Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) scale, specifically SMC K for erectile dysfunction (ED) or female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD). These conditions can often be connected to medication for mental health issues, making it easier to establish a link for increased benefits.

In conclusion, filing secondary claims for mental health conditions requires a thorough understanding of the evidence needed to support your claim. By following the big three aspects of service connection – a service-connected disability, a current diagnosis, and a medical nexus linking the two – veterans can increase their chances of a successful claim. Remember to gather as much evidence as possible and consult with your healthcare team for support in building a strong case for service connection.

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