Pes Planus, commonly known as flat feet, is a condition in which the arches of the feet are significantly flattened, causing discomfort and potential mobility issues. While flat feet, also referred to as fallen arches, can vary in severity, many individuals with this condition wonder if they are eligible for VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) disability benefits.
In this article, we will explore the possibility of obtaining VA disability compensation for pes planus, understanding the condition, how it affects veterans, and the criteria for filing a successful VA disability claim.
Understanding Pes Planus
Pes planus is a medical condition characterized by the absence or lowering of the longitudinal arch in the feet. Normally, the arches in the feet provide shock absorption and help distribute the body’s weight evenly during activities like walking, running, or standing. However, in individuals with pes planus, this arch may be either partially or completely absent, leading to various issues.
Flat feet can be present at birth (congenital) or develop over time (acquired). Some common causes of acquired pes planus include:
- Overpronation: When the feet roll excessively inward while walking or running, it can lead to the development of flat feet.
- Aging: As individuals age, the ligaments and tendons in the feet may weaken, causing the arches to flatten.
- Injury: Trauma to the feet, such as fractures or torn ligaments, can result in flat feet.
- Obesity: Excess body weight can put additional stress on the feet, potentially contributing to the development of flat feet.
Veterans and Pes Planus
For veterans, pes planus can be a significant concern, particularly if it is related to their military service. Many service members are exposed to physically demanding conditions and may experience injuries or conditions that affect their feet. Long periods of standing, carrying heavy loads, and marching can take a toll on the feet, potentially exacerbating flat feet or causing the condition to develop.
In cases where pes planus is directly connected to a veteran’s military service, they may be eligible for VA disability benefits. To qualify for such benefits, veterans must demonstrate a service connection, meaning they must provide evidence that their flat feet condition is the result of their military service.
What is the Average VA Rating for Pes Planus?
The VA rating for pes planus, commonly known as flat feet, can vary depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on the individual’s ability to perform daily activities and work. The VA assigns disability ratings on a scale from 0% to 100%, with higher ratings indicating more severe impairments.
The specific VA ratings for pes planus are as follows:
- 0% Rating: A non-compensable (0%) rating is assigned if pes planus is asymptomatic (causing no symptoms or limitations) or if the symptoms are very mild and do not significantly affect the veteran’s quality of life.
- 10% Rating: A 10% rating may be assigned if the veteran experiences pain in the feet, especially during weight-bearing activities, such as walking or standing. This rating may also apply if the condition causes some instability while walking.
- 30% Rating: A 30% rating can be assigned if pes planus is severe, causing significant pain, limited mobility, and marked instability during weight-bearing activities.
The specific rating you receive will depend on the medical evidence and documentation you provide, as well as the severity of your pes planus as determined by a medical examination. It’s important to provide comprehensive and accurate information about your symptoms and limitations when applying for VA disability benefits, as the rating assigned will determine the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive.
Filing for VA Disability for Pes Planus
Filing for VA disability benefits for pes planus involves several steps, including gathering evidence, completing the necessary paperwork, and undergoing a medical examination. Here’s a brief overview of the process:
- Obtain a Diagnosis: Before you can file a VA disability claim for pes planus, you should visit a healthcare provider to obtain an official diagnosis. Your medical records should clearly state that you have pes planus and provide details about its severity and any potential causes related to your military service.
- Gather Supporting Evidence: Collect any relevant medical records, treatment history, and statements from healthcare professionals who have treated your condition. Additionally, if you have any evidence connecting your pes planus to your military service, such as service records or incident reports, make sure to include them in your claim.
- Complete VA Form 21-526EZ: To apply for VA disability benefits, you will need to fill out VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. This form can be submitted online through the VA’s eBenefits portal or by mail.
- Attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination: In many cases, the VA will require you to undergo a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination to assess the severity of your condition and its impact on your daily life. This examination is usually conducted by a VA healthcare provider and is a crucial part of the claims process.
- Await a Decision: After submitting your claim, the VA will review your application and supporting evidence. It may take some time to receive a decision, and the VA may request additional information or clarification during the process.
Denied VA Benefits for Pes Planus?
If you or a loved one has been denied VA benefits for pes planus, and you believe there is a clear service connection, you may need to get a VA attorney involved.
Having a VA benefits attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of ultimately being approved – even if you’ve been denied more than once. Get in touch with us today to see if your case is a match with a VA benefits attorney who can assist you right away.