In the second post of our war-related injuries series we would like to highlight traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These have been noted as the “significant injury” of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Approximately 350,000 TBI diagnoses have been made among military members since 2000. A range of 11-23% of those were among individuals who were deployed.
There are multiple possible causes of a traumatic brain injury. In a combat deployment event, injury can be related to blasts, falls, getting hit in the head by an object, or assault. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the most common documented causes in war-related injuries. TBI is also well-known for coinciding with severe post-combat psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, mood and anxiety disorders, or cognitive impairments. In combination, TBI and psychiatric symptoms often lead to alcoholism, drug addiction, and suicidal ideations or attempts.
VA Disability ratings for head injury run the full range of 0-100%. A VA rating will depend on the secondary conditions claimed by a Veteran and medically proven with records, as well as whether or not any improvement is expected. Some secondary conditions to TBI include various psychological disorders, PTSD, and sleep disorders. The Social Security Administration includes TBI in its Blue Book of disability impairments under listing 11.18.
Veterans who are suffering from any form of disability in a post-combat period deserve aggressive representation in obtaining all benefits for which they are due. An attorney who is experienced in both military and social security disability will be knowledgeable in navigating both programs simultaneously.