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Flare-ups will now need to be considered in disability ratings

A recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims may make it easier for veterans in Florida to obtain higher disability ratings. The court considered a case involving a veteran who had musculoskeletal injuries that caused pain flare-ups for which he had received a 10 percent disability rating.

In Sharp v. Shulkin, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims reviewed how the Veterans Administration evaluates medical conditions when determining disability ratings for musculoskeletal injuries. The court was specifically interested in how the disability rating is assessed in cases in which the veterans experience flare-ups of pain, which can be debilitating.

The court found that the system that is in place is inadequate since not all examiners consider flare-ups when they are assigning disability ratings. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs will now be required to enact procedures to ensure that the examiners consider flare-ups when assigning the ratings. The plaintiff in the case had requested a re-evaluation after he received a 10 percent disability rating for his condition. He argued that his flare-ups were debilitating and were not included in the examiner's consideration.

Veterans who are having trouble with getting the benefits that they deserve from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs might want to talk to an attorney who is experienced in handling veterans' benefits claims. Lawyers may be able to help their clients with appealing the determinations that are made in their disability claims. They may assist their clients in gathering the evidence that they need to support their claims. The attorneys may litigate on behalf of their clients in hearings in an effort to secure benefits that fairly compensate them. This may help veterans who are disabled and are unable to work to secure benefits to help them to make their financial ends meet.

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