How to Tell You are Losing Use of Feet and Possible Benefits
Have you been tripping or stumbling more frequently? Have you been required to rely more on your cane or even upgrade to a walker? Have you fallen and struggled to get back on your feet? The VA’s benefit for Loss of Use of Feet is granted in the form of Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). SMC is a monthly benefit for veterans who have a severe impairment due to service-connected conditions; in this case, the inability to use one’s feet. This can be caused by radiculopathy due to a back condition, a permanent injury to the foot or ankle from service, or peripheral neuropathy from diabetes.
How Does the VA Rate Loss of Use of Feet?
Ratings for the loss of use of a foot often qualify veterans to receive benefits similar to those due to veterans whose injuries have required amputation of that limb. Even where a veteran is already entitled to a 100% rating, a loss of use rating may qualify the veteran for special monthly compensation above that 100% rating.
How Does the VA Define Loss of Use of Feet?
The VA defines Loss of Use of Feet for the purpose of special monthly compensation when no effective function remains other than that which would be equally well served by an amputation stump at the site of election below the knee with use of a suitable prosthetic appliance. More specifically a veteran who is unable to balance or propulse (push off his or her foot) is entitled. If the veteran cannot balance on his or her foot or push off with the foot to ambulate, he or she has no effective remaining function of the foot.
Could You Qualify For These Benefits?
When considering whether you may qualify for Loss of Use of Feet, some other questions to ask yourself are:
- Can you balance on one foot without holding onto something for support?
- Are you able to push off of one foot to take a large step?
- Can you stand on your toes to reach a top shelf?
- Do you require the use of a wheelchair or rollator?
- Do you experience foot drop? Does your foot ever drag while walking?
- Do you trip or fall often?
- Are you able to go up and down stairs easily?
Keep in mind, the loss of use of your feet may also help you qualify for Aid and Attendance. If you require the assistance of a spouse or other person to help you with daily activities due to the loss of function in your feet, you may also want to consider filing for this special monthly benefit. And if you have been denied benefits, let us know! We help veterans with their appeals.