Is Onychomycosis, or toe fungus, a problem for you or a loved one? In such cases, you could get disability benefits from the VA. Foot pain is prevalent and, if left untreated, may have far-reaching consequences. Veterans with foot pain may get financial assistance from the VA to help pay for their medical care.
A common source of foot pain, onychomycosis (toe fungus), is discussed in this article, along with the disability classification for foot disease, according to the VA.
What is Onychomycosis (Toe Fungus)?
Fungal infections affecting the toenails are known as onychomycosis or toe fungus. Toenails are more prone to infection because they develop slowly and have less blood flow. Dermatophytes are the most common fungus that causes onychomycosis. These fungi thrive when given the protein keratin, which is present in the human body through skin, hair, and nails.
This ailment affects about 10% of the population, with an increased incidence among the elderly and other age-related diseases and conditions such as diabetes and immunologic disorders. A service-connected rating may be assigned under certain circumstances.
VA Disability Ratings for Onychomycosis
The severity of your onychomycosis, how often it occurs, and how it affects your ability to work are factors that the VA considers when making an assessment. If the ailment is moderate and does not substantially impact your everyday activities, you may be granted a 0% grade. The possible disability rating is directly proportional to the severity. For example, if the fungus hurts you and you cannot do everyday things, you get a 30% grade.
VA Disability Ratings for Foot Pain
There are several foot disorders that veterans may be eligible for VA disability compensation if they suffered an injury or overused their feet while serving their country. A direct correlation between the ailment and a particular military incident is not required. Veterans instead need to show that their condition developed or worsened while serving their country.
The VA disability rating for foot pain is found under 38 CFR § 4.71a
System of Musculoskeletal Functions. Many foot disorders are included under this syndrome. Some examples are flat feet, weak feet, claw feet, metatarsalgia, hallux valgus, hallux rigidus, hammer toe, and malunion or nonunion of tarsal or metatarsal bones. These ratings may not correctly address onychomycosis and other toenail diseases as they are based on musculoskeletal problems.
VA Disability Ratings for Service-Related Skin Conditions is found under 38 CFR § 4.118
The Veterans Affairs (VA) classifies and ranks a variety of skin disorders that may be associated with a service member's time in the military. The grading scales for these diseases consider the proportion of the body that has been impacted and the therapy that has been administered over the last year. The ratings span the gamut from 0% for mild instances to 60% for severe and persistent dermatophytosis (including onychomycosis).
Opportunities for TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability) or a 100% VA Disability rating may become available with a 60% rating, contingent upon additional service-connected impairments.
Proving Service Connection
You need to prove your military connections to get disability compensation from the VA. Establishing a causal relationship between your onychomycosis and your military service is essential. Adding pertinent service records and a detailed history of the issue might bolster your argument for service connections.
How to Apply for VA Disability Benefits?
The application procedure is easy to start with. Include specifics about your life after receiving the diagnosis of Onychomycosis on VA Form 21-526EZ. Ensure all relevant medical documentation includes doctor reports, test findings, and treatment histories. When filling out the form for your handicap rating, be as detailed and honest as possible about how Onychomycosis impacts your day-to-day life.
Seeking Professional Assistance
The procedure of filing a disability claim with the VA can be complicated. Consider consulting an attorney specializing in VA claims or a trained veteran service officer for help. They can provide advice, ensure your application covers all bases, and boost your chances of success.