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VA Proposes to Make 5 illnesses presumptive for TBI claims

On Monday, December 17, federal regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register that will add five conditions - seizures, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, certain types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and hormone deficiencies caused by changes of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands - that, if diagnosed in a patient with a brain injury sustained during military service, would be presumed to be service-connected.

The change arises out of a 2008 Institute of Medicine report that noted “sufficient evidence of an association” between the diseases and moderate and severe TBI, and in the case of depression, mild concussions. Between 2000 and 2012 over 250,000 service members sustained a TBI. Of those, 194,000 were classified as a concussion. About 42,000 suffered a “moderate” TBI while another 2,527 received a severe TBI, and 3,949 had a penetrating wound to the head.

This is good news for our veterans with TBI. We just hope that the anticipated increase in claims does not further slow an already overburdened claims processing system