What is Hip Pain?
Hip pain is a fairly common complaint as people get older. However, among service members, hip pain can be a life-altering condition that impacts the quality of life.
Military service-related injuries on any part of the body can ultimately cause stress on the hips. If you were injured during your military career and have hip pain, you might be curious about what your VA disability rating for hip pain may be.
In this post, our VA disability lawyers will take you through common causes of hip pain and how you can answer for yourself the question, How do I get VA disability for hip pain?
Where Does Hip Pain Occur?
While it may seem obvious that hip pain affects the hips, this is not always the case. Often, hip pain begins or spreads to other places.
Common places to experience hip pain include:
- The groin area,
- The upper thigh or buttock,
- The lower back,
- Radiating down the legs,
- Across the pelvis, and
- The hip itself.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and your injury or disability may impact you differently. Speak with your medical doctor right away if you have questions about your hip pain. An accurate diagnosis is critical as you seek a VA disability rating for hip pain.
Common Causes of Hip Pain
Hip pain may be due directly to an issue with your hips. It may also be the result of an injury elsewhere in the body.
For instance, a shoulder injury can ultimately impact your hips and neck if your posture and gait are affected for an extended period of time. In that case, your hip pain might be a secondary injury or “referred pain.”
The primary causes of hip pain tend to vary, but some common causes include:
- Labral tear with or without impingement;
- Pinched nerves;
- Bone cancer;
- Osteoporosis; and
Again, this is not an exhaustive list. Importantly, VA disability rating for hip impingement may be different from the VA disability rating for hip bursitis. The level of disability and pain associated with each may vary significantly from case to case.
How Do I Get a VA Disability Rating for Hip Pain?
Establishing a Service Connection to Hip Pain
As with most VA disability benefits, you’ll have to show that your hip pain has a “service connection.” That means that your time in the military must have a connection to your pain now.
To do that, you’ll need to show:
- A current diagnosis of hip pain,
- An in-service injury or illness, and
- A medical nexus linking the two.
If you have questions about demonstrating a service connection, the experienced VA disability law team at Gerling Law is here to help.
Establishing Pain Alone As a Disability
If you’re unable to establish a service connection between your hip pain and your injury or illness, don’t despair.
In 2018, in a case called Saunders v. Wilkie, the courts determined that pain by itself can qualify as a disability, no matter the underlying cause.
However, you will still need to demonstrate functional impairment due to pain. And you will also need to show that your pain results from an in-service injury or illness and that there is a medical nexus between your pain and your service.
Understanding the VA Disability Rating for Hip Pain
As with many other conditions, a VA disability rating for hip pain will depend on the cause and severity of the pain. Below are some common examples of VA disability ratings for hip conditions.
It is important to note that not only is the VA disability rating for a hip labral tear different from the rating for osteoarthritis, but the severity of impairment within those conditions also impacts the ratings. A few examples of VA disability rating analyses for hip pain include:
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition amongst veterans. The rating criteria take into account the number of joints affected. Because osteoarthritis is a common condition, the disability rating schedules typically do not rate it as more than a 10% to 20% disabling condition.
If your hip pain requires a total hip replacement, you may find yourself with a total disability rating. VA disability rating for hip pain caused by hip replacement schedule is 100% for one year following the hip replacement surgery. A hip replacement surgery qualifies you for a minimum 30 percent VA disability rating for hip pain.
As noted, the VA considers you totally disabled for one year after your hip replacement. After the one-year period, the hip condition will be assigned a permanent rating based on the level of severity as outlined above.
Total Disability Individual Unemployability and Hip Pain
If you are in so much hip pain that you cannot work, you may qualify for more than simply VA disability benefits.
Total Disability Individual Unemployability, or TDIU, is a disability benefit in addition to the VA disability rating for hip pain benefits. TIDU allows veterans to be compensated at a 100% disability rate, even if they are not considered 100% disabled due to their VA disability rating alone.
TDIU is available to veterans who may not be able to get or maintain employment because of their pain. If you think you may be a candidate for TDIU, speak to a VA disability lawyer as soon as possible. A VA disability lawyer can help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
How Gerling Law Injury Attorneys Can Help
At Gerling Law, we’re a team of experienced personal injury and disability law attorneys helping veterans like you get the VA benefits you’re owed. We’ve helped clients throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois—as well as throughout the country—cut through the VA red tape to be compensated quickly and fairly.
Contact us today for a free case consultation.