That ringing sound in your ear is a familiar sound to many veterans who spent years on the battlefield, working with heavy machinery, or on the flight line. The condition that causes that ringing sound is tinnitus, and VA disability claims based on tinnitus are some of the most common VA claims submitted.
Before the ringing turns to music in your ears, you should understand that a claim for benefits based on tinnitus is not likely to get you the full amount of compensation you might otherwise deserve. Knowing the challenges and limitations of a tinnitus disability claim ahead of time can help you remain realistic about the potential outcomes of your claim.
You Must Still Prove a Connection to Your Service to Get Benefits
While the VA recognizes tinnitus as being connected to military service in general, this does not mean that they automatically assume that because you have tinnitus that it is because of your military service. If your medical and service records do not clearly establish that your tinnitus developed as a result of your military service, your claim will be denied.
In other words, the VA does not take the fact you have tinnitus as irrefutable proof that you are entitled to VA disability benefits and neither should you. Make sure when preparing your claim that you identify records that show your tinnitus is service-related.
Maximum Benefits Comes from Connecting Tinnitus to Other Conditions
If you submit a claim for benefits and only identify tinnitus as your disability, you will only obtain a 10 percent disability rating. This equals $165.92 in monthly benefits, according to the VA’s December 1, 2022 compensation rate scale. This is the maximum you would receive no matter how intrusive the ringing is or whether you experience ringing in one or both ears.
Instead, an experienced VA disability appeals lawyer will look for a connection between your tinnitus and some other disabling condition that you also sustained during your time in service. Perhaps you sustained a blow to the head and suffered a concussion resulting in permanent brain damage or neck pain, for example, and you also happen to experience tinnitus as a result of this injury as well.
So rather than focusing on a claim for benefits based on tinnitus alone, you should consider whether a service-related injury caused or exacerbated your tinnitus. If so, it is likely that this injury will net you greater benefits from a VA claim than just seeking compensation for tinnitus alone.
Valor Firm Helps Veterans Get the Benefits They Deserve
If you have submitted a claim for disability benefits for tinnitus and either had your claim rejected or you are not satisfied with the outcome, give us at Valor Firm a call. You can reach us at (504) 218-2510 or contact us online. We will go through your claim and the VA’s decision with you. If there are additional benefits which you may be owed, we will help you obtain them.