VA Links 5 More Illnesses to TBI

by Freddy Groves


The Department of Veterans Affairs has added five illnesses to service-
connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). What this means is that veterans

who have those illnesses as well as TBI will have an easier time getting

additional disability benefits.


The VA based its decision on a report by the National Academy of Sciences

Institute of Medicine that found “sufficient evidence” to link moderate

to severe TBI with the five conditions: Parkinson’s disease, certain

types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases

of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Those secondary illnesses will

be considered service-connected and won’t require medical opinions to

establish whether there is correlation to TBI.


There’s a time period for three of the five illnesses, however.

Parkinson’s disease or unprovoked seizures don’t have a time frame.

* Dementia, if it manifests within 15 years with moderate or severe TBI.

* Depression, if it manifests within three years with moderate or severe

TBI or within 12 months with mild TBI.


* Diseases of hormone deficiency from hypothalamo-pituitary changes if

they manifest within 12 months of moderate or severe TBI.

Even if you don’t meet the guidelines for severity of TBI or length of

time between TBI and the onset of the second illness, file your claim

anyway, says the VA.


If you have questions or want to file a new claim, go online to or call toll free to 1-800-827-1000. If

you’re still active duty but within 180 days of discharge, you can file a

pre-discharge TBI claim at the same link to phone number.


To see the whole final determination (the comment section is informative),

go online to and put this in the search box: VA-2012-



For information about VA and DOD programs for brain injury, go to


Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions,

but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to


(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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