Matthew Hill: Hello and welcome to another Hill and Ponton Via Video Blog. I’m Matthew Hill. This is Carol Ponton. And today we’re doing just another quick video on secondary disabilities. And this is one due to diabetes. And it’s nephropathy. Essentially that’s when your kidney starts having trouble functioning. It’s one of those disabilities that it’s kinda black and white and that it shows on your lab report. It’s not one that veterans frequently know to ask or talk to the doctor about if they have diabetes-
Carol Ponton: And it’s not one that doctors frequently mention that they have. So the veteran actually has to look at their lab report. They look for their BUN or their creatinine to see if they’re abnormal. If they are, they have loss of kidney function.
Matthew Hill: How do they know if they’re abnormal?
Carol Ponton: It will say right on the lab report. It says low or high. That’s abnormal. Outside of the normal range. If they have that, that’s a 60% rating. Now the problem is veterans don’t know to look. And I have rarely seen a VA doctor tell them you’re having loss of kidney function. So there’s no way that they know. But that is one of the ways that you get compensated. And the problem is people who have loss of kidney function also physically usually don’t know that until it becomes pretty extreme. So this is a benefit that they need to look for themselves and then file for. Like I said, diabetes usually at 20%. Loss of kidney function is 60%.
Matthew Hill: On top of the 20%.
Carol Ponton: On top of the 20%.
Matthew Hill: And on top of any other secondary disabilities it might cause like-
Carol Ponton: Peripheral neuropathy, or problems with your eyes.
Matthew Hill: Right. Problems with your heart. So it’s just important to look for this. And as Carol said, it’s black and white. You look on your lab report. A lot of times there’s 20, 30, 40 things on your labs. What I actually scan first is to see if there’s an H or an L and then I look to see where that is-
Carol Ponton: Which is high or low.
Matthew Hill: But you can also do it, she said, as far as looking for the BUN.
Carol Ponton: Well, they usually will say … Well, you want BUN or creatinine. Those are the two that show you that deal with the kidney.
Matthew Hill: So again, maximizing ratings all about not just getting service connected for the first rating, but finding any secondary conditions as well.
Carol Ponton: Exactly.
Matthew Hill: Thanks for joining us.