A spinal cord injury costs more than just money for an afflicted veteran. From expensive surgeries to life-altering disabilities, there is a lot that goes into recovery and rehabilitation.
Knowing the basics of spinal cord damage and how it factors into service connections may help in the efforts to get through a VA Disability application.
The spinal cord is the central hub from where your nerves stretch out to every part of your body. Damage along its length can affect us in different and unique ways, depending on where the injury occurred.
An SCI’s severity typically revolves around two factors: how high up on the spinal cord and how complete a break the injury is. A complete SCI to the lower lumbar vertebrae may result in paraplegia — or paralysis from the waist down. An incomplete SCI along the upper cervical vertebrae may result in partial loss of movement, sensation and even bladder control.
Assessment and connection
Your healthcare provider may assess your injury using the ASIA scale, which seeks to grade your range and capabilities. In order to successfully apply for a VA disability claim over an SCI, you need to establish a service connection as well. If your doctor diagnoses your disability and provides a medical opinion that an in-service event, injury or illness is likely the cause, that lays the groundwork.
Getting through the application process while dealing with an SCI may seem daunting. With the right resources and support, you may be able to organize suitable evidence to receive VA Disability for your SCI.