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First I’d like to thank all of you for the great assistance you provide! I’m a long time lurker but finally created an account to post this question to the experts today.
– Discharged from active duty in September 2000
– Participated in a “VA Pilot Program” where you sat with a VA clerk during out-processing to determine any potential disability claims, which were then submitted by the clerk for you.
– In Jan 2001, received a decision letter with the following rating, back dated to my date of discharge: “Service connection for degenerative disease of low back has been established as directly related to military service. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned under diagnostic code 5293. An evaluation of 10 percent is assigned if there are mild symptoms associated with intervertebral disc syndrome.”
Fast forward to 2018. I experienced a herniated L4-L5 disc and had a (mostly unsuccessful) discectomy . I applied for an increase for my Degenerative Disease of the lower back and for radiculopathy of the sciatic nerve in both legs. My claim was closed in October 2019 with no increase for the Degenerative Disc Disease (a story for another time, but a bad C&P was involved and I’ve already filed a supplemental), and new secondary ratings for the radiculopathy: 10% Left Leg and 10% Right Leg back dated to my 2018 surgery and the right leg increased for some unknown reason to 20% on the date of my (bad) C&P exam in August 2019.
In reviewing my original 2000 claim decision letter today, I found this statement listed under FACTS: “MRI findings have revealed degenerative changes and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine. EMG studies have revealed mild chronic recurrent L-4 root irritation.”
Keep in mind, at the time of discharge I was only rated for the Degenerative Disc Disease, not any leg/nerve issues, though it is clear from my Service Medical Records I also had recurring leg pain and numbness.
Is it odd that they literally called out the EMG results in my rating decision but did not grant an award for Sciatic Paralysis/Neuralgia/Radiculopathy back in 2000? Based on the current schedule (https://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/lowernerves.html) I think the “mild chronic recurrent L-4 root irritation” would have granted a rating of 10% for incomplete partial paralysis (8520) and/or neuralgia (8720). But…did these codes even exist back in 2000? I certainly was not aware or told that the nerve/leg pain was a separate rating. How would I even go about finding out if these diagnostic codes existed in 2000?
In the event there was a rating available for this back in 2000, would this be something that would be eligible for a CUE? Obviously after almost 20 years I’m well outside the window to appeal the decision, but I feel the clear unmistakable evidence is right in the VA’s own decision letter, and 20 years of an additional 10% rating makes this worth my time and energy.
Thanks again for all you do!
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First Id like to thank all of you for the great assistance you provide! Im a long time lurker but finally created an account to post this question to the experts today. Background: - Discharged from active duty in September 2000 - Participated in a VA Pilot Program where you sat with a VA clerk d...