IVDS And Radiculopathy

Knightrider15

New Member
Registered Member
Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on here and I apologize if it is in the wrong place but I think it would fall under this forum.

I was recently approved for 30% disability.

10% for Tinnitus (no issues / agree with decision)
20% for IDVS and degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine with radiculopathy right lower extremity.

The award letter says the 20% is due to ROM of lumbar spine between 30 and 60 degrees and additional symptom to include painful motion upon examination. Also, "The provisions of 38CFR 4.40 and 4.45 concerning functional loss due to pain, fatigue, weakness, or lack of endurance, incoordination, and flare-ups, as cited in DelUca v. Brown and Mitchell v. Shinseki, have been considered and applied under 38 CFR 4.59."

Additionally higher evaluation of 40% is not warranted for degenerative arthritis of the spine unless...

I agree that my back should only be 20% based on my ROM, but why would my radiculopathy not be rated independantly or factored into the rating to increase it? I have reached out to my VSO about it and they said if IDVS is based on ROM radiculopathy should be rated seperately, if it is based on incapacitating episodes it is rated in combination with the IDVS. Since ROM was the factor for my IDVS wouldn't that mean my radiculopathy would be rated seperatley? I have tried to follow up but communication with my VSO has been very spotty and sparse lately on their end. I know pyramiding limits what can be seen as a secondary issue, but everything I have read and heard from people with the same or similar claims always seems to be that the two conditions are rated seperately.

I'm just trying to figure this out before I file an official appeal and make sure I have my facts right for the rating process.

Thanks to anyone who can help me with this. I really appreciate it.
 

js820

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
To my knowledge (I have similar issues, back, leg radiculopathy with muscle atrophy) they should be separate conditions. Did you claim them as separate conditions? Are you on a medboard or are you out and doing a claim? If you're on a medboard, did the doc list them as separate unfitting conditions?

My VA lawyer caught this before we sent my paperwork to the PEB. I (and the doc) hadn't listed all the possible unfitting conditions able to be rated pertaining to my back...the NARSUm wasn't explicitly clear that DDD was the underlying cause, and the radiculopathy and nerve damage was secondary to that. As he explained it, the PEB isn't going to read between the lines for you. If it's not explicitly claimed, it probably won't be rated. If this is the case for you, then work with your VA lawyer to modify your package with the additional symptoms and documentation, then appeal or resubmit...not sure what is supposed to happen in that case.
 

Knightrider15

New Member
Registered Member
Thanks for the reply and help. I'm a reservist, so I filed my VA claim while still in when I saw how bad my back was actually getting. After my most recent civilian appointment and updated profile it looks like I will probably be going in front of a MEB in the near future. I know DoD bases their ratings off of VA so considering the short time in between I just wanted to try to correct it incase they decide to use this rating for DoD instead of new exams and a new claim.

I had listed the two as seperate claims "lower back pain" and then seperatley "radiculopathy" (I knew that from my doctors, my back pain had still not been fully diagnosed with a cause though). The VA exam was conducted for both the back and the leg at the same time and that was when the back was decided as IDVS and arthritis. The exam doctor even refferred to my leg as a secondary condition during the exam. Based on conversation with her during the exam it seemed as though I'd get roughly 20% for my back and 20-30% for my leg, so even she seemed to think they would be rated differently. I guess at this point it wouldn't hurt to file the appeal after I speak to a VA lawyer to see how to go about it. Since I have none of my VA exam records I'll have to track them all down first I guess.

Thanks again!
 
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