Understanding the VA’s Rating for Traumatic Brain Injuries (VSO)

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Presenter: Alexis Ivory

Length: 102 Minutes

Recorded: May 2024


Webinar Description:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More veterans of these wars have experienced TBI than veterans of prior conflicts. But veterans of all eras have experienced TBI, whether in battle, training, motor vehicle accidents, or recreational activities.

Because TBI affects the brain, it can cause numerous residual disabilities. Properly evaluating these disabilities can be challenging for the VA, because some symptoms may be rated together under a special table, while others may be assigned separate ratings. Additionally, symptoms associated with TBI often overlap with symptoms of separately diagnosed mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, making it difficult to determine the symptoms that should be attributed to each disability for VA rating purposes. It is therefore critical for veterans service officers to understand how the residuals of TBI should be rated, in order to ensure that the veterans they represent receive the maximum amount of VA compensation to which they are entitled.

This 90-minute webinar covers the following and more:

  • An overview of relevant general VA rating principles, including the duty to maximize benefits and the anti-pyramiding rule
  • TBI rating principles, including how to apply the table “Evaluating Cognitive Impairment and Other Residuals of TBI Not Otherwise Classified,” and how to determine if a TBI residual warrants a separate rating
  • How a mental health condition and TBI should be rated when their symptoms overlap
  • Disabilities the VA presumes are secondary to TBI and how veterans can qualify for these presumptions
  • The various types of special monthly compensation (SMC) to which a veteran may be entitled as a result of TBI, with a focus on SMC(t)
  • Advocacy advice on how to maximize VA benefits for TBI