Making a Florida Veterans’ Disability Claim for Parkinson’s Disease
Veterans who were injured, sick, developed a mental health condition, or were exposed to environmental toxins while serving in the military could be entitled to veterans’ disability benefits. Even if your condition didn’t appear until years later, you could still receive benefits provided you can establish the condition is service-connected. In some cases, you can show diseases like Parkinson’s are service-connected. To learn more, speak with an experienced Orlando veterans’ disability attorney who can help.
At the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A., we have years of experience helping clients just like you get the veterans’ benefits they are entitled to. Connecting Parkinson’s Disease is not easy or an option for every veteran, which is why you need the assistance of an experienced attorney.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative movement disorder that happens when some people age. It affects the nerve cells responsible for producing dopamine, the chemical that affects coordination and movements. As the disease progresses, your dopamine levels decrease further, and you cannot control your movements naturally.
When Parkinson’s starts, some symptoms include:
- Slow movements (Bradykinesia)
- Resting tremors
- Unstable when standing upright
- Inflexibility or stiffness of neck, limbs, and trunk
- Changes to your facial expressions and posture
As Parkinson’s Disease progresses, sufferers will find more involuntary movements and freezing, a sensation like your feet are glued to the floor. Advanced symptoms include cognitive problems, and sufferers are unable to live alone. The person may use a wheelchair or be in bed and will require assistance with all daily activities.
Presumptive Service Connection to Parkinson’s Disease
When the VA creates a presumption for a condition, it’s a way of making an exception for the usual requirements you need to prove. This exception is sometimes used for toxic exposure that affected many veterans. Presumptive conditions can be assumed to be linked to certain toxins (like Agent Orange). If a veteran was in a certain place during a certain time, there’s a presumption that the condition is linked to that exposure. Parkinson’s Disease is categorized as a presumptive condition for veterans who:
- Served in Vietnam (including on a ship in an inland waterway) for any amount of time between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; or
- Served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone for any amount of time between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971; or
- Was stationed at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987.
Parkinson’s Disease Without the Presumptive Service Connection
If you don’t meet the presumptive service connection qualifications, you could still be eligible for benefits. You will need to provide evidence showing what your exposure was and how it links to your condition. A medical professional needs to submit a report confirming your diagnosis and state that it’s their expert medical opinion that your Parkinson’s Disease was caused by exposure. Exposure to herbicide agents, burn pits, or ones who suffer a traumatic brain injury might qualify.
Contact an Orlando Veterans’ Disability Benefits Lawyer
If you need assistance pursuing a veterans’ disability claim for Parkinson’s or any other injury or disease, contact the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A. We can help you file your initial claim and fight for the benefits you deserve.