21 November 2016

VA grants 100% disability claim for C-123 Agent Orange Avascular Necrosis

Today I received a VA 100% service-connected disability decision for bilateral hip avascular necrosis, having had three replacements in four years. This disease is not automatically recognized by the VA as associated with Agent Orange exposure so I had to establish medical nexus with three MD letters, three BVA decisions, and two peer-reviewed journals.

This is in addition to earlier decisions of 100% disability for prostate and bladder cancers and 100% for loss of use of both feet, which was also Agent Orange related per diabetes @ 20%. I was also previously service-connected for Agent Orange exposure with 20% for IHD. I already had 60% for cervical spinal cord injury and 40% for lumbar spinal cord injury, 10% for tinnitus, plus 20% for shoulder injuries. What a mess I am!

The VA decision review officer agreed there was Clear and Unmistakable Error on my hypertension claim denied in 1992 because I was on AD when diagnosed in 1991. Correction took 24 years!

Final result: I'm still at the same 100% total disability (even with a total of 460%) because that's the top end of the VA scale. I was already there because of shoulder and spinal injuries but this is a moral victory in getting VA to recognize the exposures and the resultant illnesses. It is my hope that the avascular necrosis decision will help other veterans in their claims.

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