The VA Gets One Right. Sorta.

| May 22, 2019

Last month, the VA “got one right”. Sorta.

Specifically, the DVA’s General Counsel ruled that obesity is not considered a service-connected disability.

Yeah, that’s pretty much a “no-brainer”. But there’s a reason I said the VA “sorta” got it right.

Though obesity alone cannot under VA rules be determined a service-connected disability, it can apparently be what the VA calls an “extra-schedular rating” under certain circumstances. That means that being obese can, under select circumstances, raise an individual’s VA disability rating higher than it otherwise would be – and thus increase their disability compensation.

This last is IMO BS. While many of us daily fight the “battle of the (waistline) bulge”, that’s no one’s fault but our own. There are simple solutions that absolutely, positively do work: eat and/or drink less, exercise more, or a combination of both. We just choose not to do so.

Military.com has an article from a few weeks ago detailing this decision. It’s brief, and can be found here if you’re interested.

Category: Veterans' Affairs Department

Comments (19)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    Put ’em on a diet of C Rat ham and mf’ers. They’ll lose weight then.

  2. Comm Center Rat says:

    From the military.com article: “The VA estimates that 78% of all veterans are obese.”

    Veterans are a reflection of American society which is FAT. To weigh less than 200 pounds in the USA today puts you in a minority of the adult population.

    BTW from personal observation, I estimate 63% of VA healthcare employees are obese.

    • Dustoff says:

      So, for the first few visits to my primary care Doc at the VA,he kept staring at me before talking. I always said “something wrong”, he would always say “you are very slim”. So, I guess skinny Vets are a minority.

  3. Jay says:

    Hell, the majority of the American population is overweight. When I retired I happily joined in with them. I went from 6’1/195 to about 215 in a year. Got disgusted with myself and got my MIND right before anything. 6 months of dedication in the gym and MODERATION in the kitchen and im back down to 195. As long as we are not sedentary slugs, we can eat damn near whatever we want. Its the smart phones, playstations, and bingewatching netflix that is killing us.

  4. JimmyB says:

    And as we get older, it’s harder to lose weight. But it’s not impossible!

  5. Ret_25X says:

    I guess you guys have never heard of endocrine disorders….which can be caused by….

    Yes, the crap we use in the military (pesticides being one).

    So yes, obesity can be a related problem. Although this is not a common problem.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Diabetes is worth 30%
      Friend has it. Whole family has it.
      Go figure.

      • Mason says:

        My dad has it now and the VA tell him it’s related to Agent Orange. He was in Saigon. Said he never saw any defoliation. I literally laughed when he told me they count it as service connected. To his credit, so does he.

        The Agent Orange victims have a good lobby I guess.

        • AnotherPat says:

          Thank you for sharing, Mason.

          Father-In-Law and Uncle, both 90 years old, Retired Army,
          served in Saigon during Vietnam in late 60s.

          Both are getting certain percentage of VA Disability.

          I asked them if it was for their time in Saigon or if they were exposed to Agent Orange while stationed there.

          Both laughed with the comment “Heck, No”. Both said it was one of their best assigments.

          Turns out they are getting small Disability for service in the Korean War, 1950-1951 (hearing loss being near Cannon Cockers….). Both filed when they retired.

          Two 90 years old.

          Both still lean.

          Both still have active lifestyles and healthy eating habits.

          No PTSD.

          No medication.

          Just hearing aides.

          Go Figure.

          😉

          • Mason says:

            Hearing loss is what got my dad in the door. The VA has literally been a lifesaver for him. I’m glad I talked him into going in.

  6. Mason says:

    So I can’t claim being overweight as service connected? I have it well documented through annual exams that I steadily gained weight throughout my service. Was 155 at the end of basic and was up to 210 by the time I ETS’d. Pretty sure it had nothing to do with personal choices and everything to do with how my part time service ruined my body. After commander’s call every month they had a keg! And a barbecue! It was a total set up.

  7. AnotherPat says:

    Obesity can lead to bad back, bad knees, cardiovascular problems (heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesteral), diabetes…

    Soldier leaves the service after serving a couple of years with “normal” weight for height and age. Assignment includes Vietnam in areas not sprayed for foliage. Soldier does not file for any VA Disability compensation when discharged(no health issues related to military service).

    35-40 years later, after poor eating habits (junk food galore), not maintaining proper weight for height (obesity),failure to exercise, Soldier develops those mentioned problems, with the worse being heart attacks.

    Soldier then discovers that one can get VA Disability for Agent Orange, no matter where they were stationed in Vietnam. Soldier files for claims,insinuating heart problems are related to Agent Orange, diabetes related to Agent Orange, i.e. “Service Related”, all because of serving a tour in Vietnam.

    Soldier is awarded certain percentage of VA Disability.

    Soldier continues to eat junk food, refuses to exercise because they say they can’t based on their obesity, bad back, bad knees, previous heart attacks…and is taking medication for high blood pressure, cholesteral, diabetes, heart attacks, all courtesy of the VA.

    Go figure.

    🤔

    • Joe says:

      Marine (me) fractures lower spine which leads to fusion surgery and si joint dysfunction. Inflammation and pain treatment includes steroid injections. Si joint feels just like the broken discs that were fused. Pain leads to stress and higher cortisol levels while reducing ability to exercise. veteran gains 40 pounds in six months. Now he is obese at 215 instead of normal 180-85 range.

      Explain to me how obesity isn’t a secondary disability?

      • AnotherPat says:

        Joe:

        You asked “Explain to me how obesity isn’t a secondary disability?”

        Sorry what happened to you.

        We all handle stress and pain different. Am not a Doctor…just surprised you gained weight in 6 months.

        Steriods can cause weight gain.

        On a personal note and please no offense, but personally had back problems with steriod injections used as pain relief as well…it did not work. Pain was so bad that there were times I had to low crawl to get around my home..

        Ended up having 2 back surgeries to correct the problem.

        Never gained weight.

        If you read what I initially wrote, I painted a picture of a Soldier who became extremely obese because of consuming fried foods, burgers, hotdogs, soda, pizza, cookies, ice cream, potato chips and lack of exercise due to laziness. His obesity LED to back problems, bad knees, heart attacks, diabetes, etc.

        Instead of taking responsibility of his own actions, Soldier took advantage of Agent Orange to claim Disability for his heart problems and diabetes even though the area he served in Vietnam was never exposed to Agent Orange.

        Soldier is now drawing $$$$…and is still overweight…still consuming the same diet.

  8. SFC D says:

    My dad retired from the Air Force in 1968, after 27 years of flying in various assignments in a lot of different bombers, all of them very loud. He applied for VA disability for hearing loss and chronic hemorrhoids. VA said nope, that’s not a disability, it just comes with the job.

    Flash forward to 2015. A friend retires from the Army, gets a 10% disability rating for erectile dysfunction.

    • Comm Center Rat says:

      My dad retired from the AF in the mid-70s after flying for 22 years. He was awarded a 10% rating for his hearing loss.

      I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis before an OIF deployment and it worsened over several years before I retired from the Army. A VA doctor examined me to include foot x-rays and acknowledged in writing that it was service connected. Even with a 30% loss of range in motion in my left foot the VA claims examiner denied my disability claim.

  9. Inbred Redneck says:

    Sounds as though I ain’t the only one who didn’t jump on the AO Gravy Train. The guys at the local County Vets office seemed to want to push me in that direction. Actually, they are obviously concerned about Viet of the Nam Era vets, which I appreciate, but I can’t see constantly lookin’ to increase my rating from 20% (actually a pair of 10%s) when most of the twinges, aches and pains I have are most likely due to age anyway. Besides, if I’m still around to feel my back, knees or whatever, I think that’s a good thing. :^)
    I get the feelin’ that the push for everybody who crossed the International Date Line between ’65 and ’73 to get an AO rating (or so it seems) is mostly due to some of them old’ Commie hippies who’re startin’ to feel guilty about chickenin’ out when the Draft Board got close to their names.
    YMMV

  10. LCpl Rhodes says:

    This comment, and others, has been deleted for unsuitable content.
    AW1Ed