Unique Way to Increase Rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis
In a recent case, my client had received a 40% disability rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”) under the VA Code 5002. While this was a good initial rating, it did not reflect the real impact of this disease upon him. Sadly, he didn’t have the significant weight loss, anemia or severe incapacitating episodes 4 or more times per year needed to receive the 60% rating under this rating code. In order to meet the criteria for an extraschedular rating, I had him undergo an extensive range of motion assessment under the DeLuca criteria and petitioned to have each affected joint and spinal segment rated individually, using the bilateral factor. This resulted in the assignment of an extraschedular rating of 90% disability rating for this condition. If you have severe RA but do not meet the higher rating criteria under VA Code 5002, then you and your counsel should consider demonstrating the impact on each spinal segment and affected joint through a detailed range of motion assessment accompanied by nonmedical evidence showing the impact of the condition upon each joint. If it worked for me, it can work for you too.