A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may alter a person’s life in unforeseen ways, resulting in the development of hormonal and neurological disorders. Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs proposed new regulations in the Federal Register extending benefits to veterans who suffer TBI-connected disorders.
New Regulations Cover Five TBI-related Diseases
The new regulations would give medical benefits to veterans who suffered a TBI during their military service and developed:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Unprovoked seizures
- Certain dementias
- Hormone deficiency related to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands
The changes represent a huge victory for soldiers who sustained a TBI and will grant them the care they deserve for having served our country.
There are, however, some requirements and limitations that may draw criticism from veteran groups.
- Only soldiers who sustained a TBI during their military service are eligible.
- Parkinson’s disease and unprovoked seizures are covered only in the case of moderate or severe brain injury.
- Dementia is covered only in the case of moderate or sever injury, and only if it develops within 15 years of the TBI.
- Hormonal deficiencies are covered only in the case of moderate or severe injury, and only when they develop within one year of injury.
- Depression is covered for mild, moderate and severe brain injury. In the case of mild TBI, the condition must develop within one year of injury, and for moderate and severe TBI, it must develop within three years of injury.
These limits are based on a 2008 study published by the Institute of Medicine on the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury. The study reported that evidence linking mild TBI to most of the diseases was limited. Mild TBI, however, can have serious repercussions that should be considered.
A Step in the Right Direction
Although the new regulations come with limitations, they are an important step in the right direction. Awareness of TBI and its consequences is steadily increasing on the military and civilian fronts. The new policy will help thousands of veterans injured during service receive the medical coverage they deserve to care not only for the original TBI, but also the conditions that resulted from it. The regulations also represent the willingness of the Department of Veterans Affairs to reshape policy as we learn more about how TBIs can affect the brain.
Have You Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury, whether mild, moderate or severe, can alter your life in unexpected ways. If you or a loved one has suffered from a TBI, please contact us immediately. You may be eligible for compensation to help you face the financial burden of those changes. We provide a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your legal options.