Things you Need to do When you Have an Abnormal Heartbeat

Have experienced an abnormal heartbeat? Does your heart beat extra fast? Or extra slow? Any of these and you have an arrhythmia.

Arrhythmia is a heart condition that caused an abnormal heartbeat. There are two types of arrhythmia: tachycardia and bradycardia.  

Tachycardia pertains to an extremely fast heartbeat. On the other hand, bradycardia refers to an irregularly slow heartbeat. 

I know you might be asking, Is an irregular heartbeat serious? Well, not all of the time. There are times that an arrhythmia only just happens out of the blue. in this case, there’s completely nothing to worry about. You will get better without asking for medical assistance.

However, if the irregular heartbeat symptoms persist, this could mean an emergency. Visit your doctor as soon as possible.

The following are some the conditions that may trigger arrhythmia:

  • Heart Illness
  • Imbalanced blood electrolytes
  • Heart attack injury
  • Heart muscles changes or adaptation
  • Cause by after-surgery heart healing

Whatever the reason for your arrhythmia, you need to be very careful. Regular checkup is the key to prevent complications of abnormal heartbeat

To understand how serious your irregular heart beat is, your doctor will ask you to undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG). ECG is a test that is used to detect signs of heart problems. 

The following are the most common signs of arrhythmia:

  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

When you experience any of these, immediately consult your doctor. You need to treat arrhythmia as soon as possible to prevent complications. 

But unfortunately, arrhythmia can also be asymptomatic. Meaning, the usual signs of the abnormal heartbeat are not observed. In cases like this, you need to consider your health history. If you have underlying health conditions that may trigger an abnormal heartbeat, you need to see your doctor. 

VA Benefits for People With Heart Disease

Before you can take advantage of VA benefits, there are requirements that you need to submit. 

The most important requirement that you need to pass is the result of your MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) exam. MET is a medical exam used to measure the amount of oxygen consumed by the body during strenuous activities. The result of the MET will be used to determine your disability privilege. 

Below is the rating system used by the VA for heart-related diseases:

  • 100%. Those people with continuous congestive heart failure may avail of this VA benefit. But of course, you need to comply with some requirements first. What are those? Well, you need to score 3 METs or lesser to qualify for this benefit. Another requirement is the doctor’s certification that, indeed you are experiencing shortness of breath. Proof of chest pain, dizziness, and fatigue may also qualify you. People whose left ventricle is pushing less than 30% of blood (each beat) may also apply for a 100% VA claim. 
  • 60%. If you experience congestive heart failure, two times in a year, then you are entitled to this benefit. Aside from this, a 4-5 MET score is also needed. VA will also ask for proof of shortness of breathing, dizziness, and even chest pain. 
  • 30%.  This rating is given to people with a 6-7 MET score. You will also be required to present evidence of hypertrophy (heart muscle thickening). If in case you have an enlarged heart, just show results of your laboratories, and you will be entitled. 
  • 10%. When you have MET score anywhere between 8-10, you fall into this rating. Evidence of fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath must also be established beforehand. And of course, you have to convince the VA that you need to undergo continuous medication. 

These are the ratings used by the VA to determine the scope of benefit given to a patient. But this rating system is only good for irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. For other heart conditions such as hyperthyroid and supraventricular arrhythmias, a different rating system will be used. 

Conclusion

Although an abnormal heartbeat could be a sign of severe health conditions, you don’t need to panic. You can always ask for assistance from the VA. But before you apply for benefits, make sure to undergo a medical checkup first and comply with all the requirements to avoid a hassle.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the more common brain injuries to happen to veterans. 

Let’s take a look at what causes a TBI. If a soldier is on duty and receives blows, or jolts to the head, or a penetrating head injury this can disrupt how the brain works. Obviously not all hits to the head cause severe damage, in truth, the majority of head trauma is actually quite mild.

The number of soldiers with brain injuries has increased in recent years. However, the methods for checking on a TBI remain the same. You’ll want to keep an eye out for depression, chronic migraines, sleep disorders, or irritability. 

The VA acknowledges that TBI’s are quite common, and so they allow for an exam that can be completed by a psychiatrist, neurosurgeon, neurologist, or physiatrist. You’ll want to get checked as soon as possible. Your medical professional will likely check to see if you have memory loss, or trouble performing normal tasks.

Generally when you first receive a diagnosis you’re going to want to prove that your diagnosis is service related. If there are no records of your head injury, a nexus letter will help to get your injury related to your service. The VA can rate TBI’s all the way from 0-100.

Secondary Tinnitus Claims

Tinnitus is recognized as as the most common disability by far, more than PTSD and TBI which are the two conditions you’d think would be most common.

Obviously as a veteran you’re more predisposed to have this condition because you’re around loud machines, gunfire, etc.

So you might be asking, what is Tinnitus? It’s typically a high-pitched constant noise in your ear, that can sound like static, hissing, or buzzing.

Service-connected disability claims aren’t particularly hard to win because tinnitus is hard to disprove, however let’s talk about secondary mental health claims. There exists a high correlation between Tinnitus and psychiatric problems. The VA is aware of this, and as a result can often get you approved for a secondary mental health claim.

Imagine the negative emotion of having to deal with tinnitus frequently. Now what you’ll want to do is prove your secondary mental health connection. You can do this by getting a diagnosis for your anxiety or comorbid condition and stating that your tinnitus may be related.  You would then furnish a Nexus letter with your doctor’s analysis on how your psychological problems are caused by the service connected tinnitus.

Additional secondary disabilities include sleep disabilities, chronic fatigue syndrome and dizziness and vertigo. Each one of these conditions are interrelated.

We hope this helps.

How The VA Looks At Arthritis Benefits

Arthritis is one of the more common conditions that affect those who have served in the military.

How you can show your service connection

A service connection is needed meaning that you have to show that your arthritis is related to your time in the service. If your arthritis symptoms are at a 10% or higher rating within the first year it is possible to obtain a presumptive service connection which removes the need to present a nexus letter linking arthritis to your service.

This type of a service connection is possible because the VA treats arthritis as a chronic disease.

If your symptoms appear later, it’s still possible to establish a service connection with a great nexus letter. It’s also possible to receive a secondary service connection which basically means that the VA acknowledges that your first condition caused your arthritis.

 

VA ratings

Degenerative Arthritis

10% if two or more joint groups have arthritis but aren’t incapacitating

20% if two or more joint groups have arthritis and are occasionally incapacitating

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

20% with one or two incapacitating episodes a year

40% if there is a definite decline in health or 3 or more episodes per year

60% if there is an overall health decline but short of complete incapacitation or if there are 4 or more severe episodes a year

100% completely incapacitated and bedridden regardless of how many joints are affected

 

We hope that helps!

The VA Caregiver Program

Depending on the severity of your disability, you might be eligible to enroll in the VA caregiver program.

In order to qualify both of these must be true for the veteran you’re caring for.

#1 This program is available to veterans who have had a serious brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder that is service related on or after September 11, 2001. Remember that service-related means that your disability can be connected to your time spent in the military.

#2 Needs personal care services because they can’t perform one or more activities of daily living and needs supervision or needs supervision or protection because of symptoms based on neurological damage or injury. In other words, living your daily life is difficult without the help of a caregiver.

If you’re the caregiver you can receive

  • Caregiver training
  • A monthly payment
  • Travel lodging and assistance when traveling with the veteran
  • Access to health care benefits
  • Mental health services and counseling
  • Up to 40 days per year of respite care

In order to get these benefits fill out Application for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (VA Form 10-10CG). You’ll need identification and health coverage information for both you and your Veteran—and you’ll both need to sign and date the form.

Download VA Form 10-10CG (PDF)

To find the name of your local coordinator:

If you need help filling out the form, you can contact your local support coordinator, or call the main VA information line at 877-222-8387. Note this is not contact information for Gumps.

We hope that helps!

Adding a Dependent

Much like filing taxes with a dependent, filing a VA claim with a dependent means that you can receive a higher compensation payment or benefit rate per month.

There are a couple of requirements, the first being that you must have a combined disability rating of at least 30% and that you must be eligible to receive VA disability compensation yourself.

A dependent can be a spouse, a parent, or an unmarried child including any adopted children or step children. Your dependent has to be under 18 years old or between 18 and 23 and enrolled in school full time or permanently disabled.

If you haven’t yet filed a claim for disability compensation you can file a claim for additional compensation for a dependent at the same time as you file your original claim for disability compensation. If you want to add a dependent after having filed your claim you can still file later.

A common situation that we see is when a recipient of va compensation gets married, has a children or is adopted. Visit this page to add a dependent. And of course if your dependent is between 18-23 and attending school full time complete this form (https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-674-ARE.pdf) as well.

We understand that the claims process can be confusing; if you have any questions about your claims process Gumps V.A. Comp. Services would be more than happy to help answer them. Please give us a call at (888) 854 8677 or book an appointment with an accredited agent here.

Causal vs. Temporal Service Connections

There are two ways to establish service-connection for disabilities that are related to service. The first is called a temporal service connection. Temporal service connections focus on the timing of the disability not the cause of it. If for example a marine is serving and develops cancer that he’s genetically predispositioned to, this would be an example of a temporal service-connected disability. Certain illnesses such as bipolar disorder we’re unsure of why they happen, and if they are actually service related. But if symptoms manifest themselves during service the condition can be deemed service related.

The second way to establish service connection is the more common of the two. A causal service-connected disability is a disability that is directly related to a vets service. An example would be a physical injury or accident while in service or a psychological trauma or toxic exposure. Your disability doesn’t need to occur immediately it can occur months or even years later. An example of this would be people that were exposed to agent orange in Vietnam, symptoms didn’t manifest until months or even years later, however vets are able to obtain a high disability rating.

We understand that the claims process can be confusing; if you have any questions about your claims process Gumps V.A. Comp. Services would be more than happy to help answer them. Please give us a call at (888) 854 8677 or book an appointment with an accredited agent here.

Getting The Best Nexus Letter

Without sufficient evidence, a veteran’s disability claim will be denied. On the other hand, if a good nexus letter is written, a veteran might get a high disability rating due to their service-connected disability.

You might ask what is a nexus letter? A nexus letter is proof or evidence from a medical practitioner or professional that is given to a veteran to support their disability. You aren’t necessarily required to submit a nexus letter; however, a nexus letter could make the difference between a VA claim denial or a VA claim award. It’s suggested to file a nexus letter at the earliest possible date.

Finding a doctor that will write you nexus letter can be difficult. Doctor’s don’t exactly advertise that they offer this kind of service, so what we’d suggest is you look into a VA lawyer or advocate that can find a doctor that knows how to write a proper nexus letter.

There are a couple of things that you’re going to want to see in a nexus letter. You’ll want to be sure that your nexus letter uses specific language, and ties together the facts that draw a conclusion that your disability is related to your service.  Make sure that the VA terminology is relayed to your doctor, for example, the terms “more likely than not” should be used to express that there is a 50% likelihood that the veteran’s current disability is related to his service. Also make sure that your doctor mentions in their letter that they’ve reviewed the entire file and medical records.

Keep the letter brief but still complete, do so by focusing on facts. Use a doctor who is board certified in the area of disability. Make sure that the doctor states that they have access to all medical records. If you use a doctor that has examined you recently, uses that to your advantage and states that in the letter.

We understand that the claims process can be confusing; if you have any questions about your claims process Gumps V.A. Comp. Services would be more than happy to help answer them. Please give us a call at (888) 854 8677 or book an appointment with an accredited agent here.

VA Wrongfully Denied 53 Million in Veterans Claims in 6 Month Period

In a recent six-month period, the VA’s office of Inspector General claimed that the VA left about 17,400 vets to pay out-of-pocket for emergency medical treatment that they should have covered. Between April 1 and September 30th 2017 veterans who got emergency care at non-VA facilities were forced to pay 53 million in medical bills they shouldn’t have been on the hook for.

Chairs of the house and senate veterans affairs committees sent a letter to the VA on Monday demanding answers. Rep. Chris Pappas who signed the letter states that “No veteran should be afraid to seek care in an emergency room.”

We understand that the claims process can be confusing; if you have any questions about your claims process Gumps V.A. Comp. Services would be more than happy to help answer them. Please give us a call at (888) 854 8677 or book an appointment with an accredited agent here.

What is a protected disability rating?

 A lot of veterans have questions about if the VA can reduce your disability. Short answer is yes, but there are ways in which you can be protected from any sort of a disability rating decrease. 

5-year rule

If your rating has been in effect for 5 years it can’t be reduced unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis and the VA has documentation supporting that you’ve improved permanently.

10-year rule

A service connected disability cannot be terminated if it has been in effect for 10 years. Compensation may be reduced if there’s evidence that the condition has improved. Of course there’s an exception to this if the VA can prove fraud. 

20-year rule

If your rating has been in effect for more than 20 years, it can’t be reduced below the lowest rating it’s held for the previous 20 years. Once again the exception is if the VA can prove fraud. 

What do these proteced ratings mean?

Let’s give an example, if you have a shoulder injury that gives you a 40% disability rating when you complete your VA evaluation, after 5 years, the VA can’t reduce this below 30% unless they prove the injury has healed on a sustained basis. After 10 years the benefit can no longer be terminated, and finally at 20 years, your VA disability rating cannot be reduced below a 40%.

We understand that the claims process can be confusing; if you have any questions about your claims process Gumps V.A. Comp. Services would be more than happy to help answer them. Please give us a call at (888) 854 8677 or book an appointment with an accredited agent here.