What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that are visible just under the skin. The veins most commonly affected are in the legs, which is due to the fact that standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. Although varicose veins are typically just a cosmetic concern, they can cause pain symptoms such as:
- Achy or heavy feeling in legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin discoloration around a varicose vein
In severe cases, varicose veins can cause more serious problems such as ulcers, blood clots, and bleeding. Military service may contribute to the onset of varicose veins along with other risk factors such as: age, sex, weight, and family history.
How to get VA Service Connection?
In order to receive VA benefits for varicose veins, the veteran must establish three main things: a current diagnosed condition, an in-service event, and medical nexus linking the two.
The first element, current diagnosed condition, is a little looser when it comes to varicose veins. Veterans do not necessarily need a doctor to diagnose them with varicose veins. The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has held that the presence of varicose veins in capable of being observed by a lay person and therefore a veterans’ testimony describing the presence of the veins is sufficient.
In service events that a veteran may have experience which would contribute to varicose veins includes: standing at attention, marching, exposure to ultraviolet rays, leg cramps, or not being able to move for extended periods of time.
How are Varicose Veins Rated?
Varicose veins are rated as follows:
- 100% – with the following findings attributed to the effects of varicose veins: massive board-like edema (i.e. swelling) with constant pain at rest.
- 60% – persistent edema or subcutaneous induration, stasis pigmentation (i.e. brownish discoloration of the skin), or eczema and persistent ulceration.
- 40% – persistent edema and stasis pigmentation or eczema, with or without persistent ulceration.
- 20% – persistent edema, incompletely relieved by elevation of the extremity, with or without beginning stasis pigmentation or eczema
- 10% – intermittent edema of extremity or aching and fatigue in leg after prolonged standing or walking, with symptoms relieved by elevation of extremity or compression hosiery.
- 0% – asymptomatic palpable or visible varicose veins.
Total Disability Based on Individual Employability (TDIU) for Varicose Veins
If a veteran’s varicose veins are so disabling that they are unable to secure and hold substantially gainful employment, they may be eligible for total disability based on individual employability (TDIU).
Bosley & Bratch have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer varicose veins as a result of your service, we are here to help. Call Bosley & Bratch at (727) 274-9227 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.