What is Urinary Incontinence? Urinary Incontinence is essentially a loss of bladder control. The severity can range from leaking urine when coughing or sneezing, or a sudden urge to urinate that does not always allow you to make it to a bathroom in time. Urinary Incontinence is typically service-connected as a secondary issue. For example, you can develop incontinence due to a back condition, or even a disease such as Parkinson’s or diabetes.
The VA’s Rating Criteria for this voiding dysfunction:
|Rate a particular condition as urine leakage, frequency, or obstructed voiding:|
|Continual Urine Leakage, Post Surgical Urinary Diversion, Urinary Incontinence, or Stress Incontinence:|
|Requiring the use of an appliance or the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed more than 4 times per day||
|Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed 2 to 4 times per day||
|Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed less than 2 times per day||
Based on these criteria, a veteran that requires the use of absorbent pads and changes those pads once per day is going to receive a rating of 20%. If the pads are changed two to four times per day, the veteran will be given a 40% disability rating. If the absorbent material needs to be changed more than four times per day, the veteran is rated at 60%. These ratings add up considerably, especially when paired with their primary conditions. For example, if you claimed urinary incontinence due to your back condition and your back condition is service-connected at 20%, you can receive an additional rating of 60% if you change your absorbent pads more than four times per day.
Proving your urinary incontinence claim
The first thing you will need to do is file a claim for urinary incontinence secondary to your service-connected disability. Next, you will need to provide a link between your current disability and the development of your urinary incontinence. Be sure to submit any medical records documenting that the incontinence was caused by your service-connected disability. If there isn’t anything specific in your medical records linking the two, see if your doctor would be willing to write a statement indicating that your disability led to the development of urinary incontinence.
Next is to document how often you need to change your absorbent pads. It would be beneficial to write a statement on a VA Form 21-4138 attesting to the number of times per day and per night you are required to change the absorbent material. Do you require a waterproof mattress cover? Have you ever had any accidents? How often? Have a witness, such as a spouse or a roommate, do the same. If you can provide a buddy statement to back up your claim, that is a great way to substantiate your case. Urinary incontinence can be an embarrassing topic to discuss with a friend or a doctor, nonetheless a VA examiner; be sure that you do not downplay your disability. There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you require absorbent pads, let them know. If you have had accidents due to urinary incontinence, make sure you tell them. You deserve compensation for all of your military-related disabilities, and urinary incontinence is very common in veterans, but not often claimed.