How VA Rates Major And Minor Seizures?
A seizure is a sudden burst of uncontrollable electrical activity between your brain cells (neurons) that lead to temporary abnormalities in your muscle tone and movement, such as convulsing or twitching behaviors, sensations, or states of awareness.
Seizures aren't all alike and may be an event due to any acute cause, such as a medication. When a person encounters recurring seizures, it is called epilepsy.
Epilepsy can typically be congenital, indicating its caused by genetic factors, or it may be acquired due to a TBI (trauma brain injury) or stroke. PTE (Post-traumatic epilepsy) because of TBI is among the most common reasons behind epilepsy among veterans.
Types Of Epileptic Seizures
There're two major forms of epileptic seizures with numerous subtypes:
Focal seizures originate in one part of your brain, spread to different regions, and may be mild to severe based on how many portions of your brain are involved.
A generalized-onset seizure is a surge of abnormal nerve discharges in the cortex of your brain at a similar time. There are various types of the generalized-onset seizure:
Absence Seizures (Petit Mal)
Absence seizures cause short staring episodes in kids. Juvenile absence epilepsy may persist into adulthood, with a few experiencing tonic-clonic seizures as they age along with absence seizures.
Myoclonic seizures involve sudden limb or body jerks that may affect your arms, head, and neck.
Tonic And Atonic Seizures (Drop Attacks)
Tonic and atonic seizures are sudden stiffness in your arms and body, which may lead to falls and injuries.
Tonic, Clonic, And Tonic-Clonic Seizures (Grand Mal)
Tonic, Clonic, and Tonic-clonic seizures may evolve from generalized or focal seizure types. Such seizures can cause loss of consciousness, stiffening (effects of tonic), and twitching or jerking (phases of clonic) muscle activity.
How The VA Rates Major And Minor Seizures
The VA rates petit mal (DC 8911) and grand mal (DC 8910) epilepsies under 38 CFR § 4.124, the general disability rating formula for major and minor seizures. PNES seizures are also rated under a similar schedule but secondary to the other psychological conditions leading to seizures, including PTSD and major depressive disorder.
General Disability Rating Formula for different Major and Minor Epileptic Seizures includes:
100% Rating– Averaging at least one major seizure every month over the last year;
80% Rating– At least one major seizure in three months over the last year; or ten minor seizures per week;
60% Rating– Averaging at least one major seizure in four months over the last year; or around ten minor seizures weekly;
40% Rating– At least one major seizure in the last six months or two seizures in the last year; or averaging at least around five to eight minor seizures per week;
20% Rating– Averaging at least one major seizure in two years; or at least two minor seizures in the last six months;
10% Rating– A final diagnosis of epilepsy with a seizure disorder history.
Regardless of the frequency of the seizures, if regular medication is necessary to overcome a veteran's epilepsy, the minimum VA schedular rating will be 10%. If any veteran suffers from major and minor seizures, the VA will assign a rating to the predominating seizure type.
Service Connection For Seizure And Epilepsy Conditions
To obtain VA disability benefits for seizure and epilepsy conditions, a medical professional must have witnessed the veteran has a seizure disorder and performed neurological testing.
Furthermore, a doctor must document the severity and frequency of the veteran's seizure episodes. After the diagnosis, a veteran must show medical evidence of their in-service event and submit a medical nexus connecting that diagnosis to their in-service event.