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M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, Chapter 2 – Ratings for Special Purposes

Overview


In This Chapter

This chapter contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
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1.  Rating Determination for Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) Under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35


Introduction

This topic contains information on the rating determination for DEA under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35, including

Change Date

February 8, 2018

IX.ii.2.1.a.  Definition: DEA

The 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 program called, Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA), is education or special restorative training for eligible dependents or survivors of certain Veterans and service members.
Reference:  For more information on DEA, see 38 CFR Part 21, Subpart C.

IX.ii.2.1.b.  Who May Be Eligible for DEA

DEA may be awarded to a Veteran’s (or service member’s)
  • child
  • spouse, or
  • surviving spouse.

IX.ii.2.1.c.  Definition of Relationships
for DEA Purposes

Child means a son or daughter who meets the requirements of 38 CFR 3.57except as to age and marital status.
Spouse means a person whose marriage meets the requirements of 38 CFR 3.50.
Surviving Spouse means a person whose marriage meets the requirements of 38 CFR 3.50(b) or 38 CFR 3.52.
Notes:
  • As of September 4, 2013, enforcement of 38 CFR 3.50 ceased to the extent to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to administer spousal benefits to same-sex married couples, provided their marriages meet the requirements of 38 CFR 3.1(j).
  • As of September 4, 2013, 38 CFR 3.52 permits VA to recognize certain marriages as deemed valid marriages for the purpose of gratuitous death benefits when those marriages are not recognized under State law.  However the surviving spouse claiming benefits, among other requirements, must have entered into the marriage
    • without knowledge of the legal impediment to the marriage, and
    • one year or more before the Veteran’s death or for any period of time if a child was born of the marriage.
Reference:  For more information on VA recognition of marriage, and a list of States that have recognized same-sex marriage with permission and recognition dates, see the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Important Information on Marriage website.

IX.ii.2.1.d.   Veteran Eligibility
for DEA Purposes

For there to be basic eligibility to DEA based on the service of a Veteran there must be either
  • an other than dishonorable discharge, or
  • death in service.
In addition there must be any of the following:
  • permanent and total (P&T) service-connected (SC) disability
  • P&T SC disability on the date of the Veteran’s death, or
  • death resulting from an SC disability.
Note:  Disability or death under 38 U.S.C. 1151 does not establish eligibility.

IX.ii.2.1.e.  Survivor Eligibility for DEA Purposes Under 38 U.S.C. 1318

When Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is awarded to a surviving spouse or child under 38 U.S.C. 1318, presume permanence of disability, unlessthe Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has specific evidence to the contrary, and award entitlement to DEA.
Do not develop for service connection (SC) of the cause of death in these cases.

IX.ii.2.1.f.  Service Member Eligibility for DEA Purposes

For there to be basic eligibility to DEA based on the service of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, there must be either of the qualifying factors listed below:
  • the service member
    • has been determined by VA to have a total disability permanent in nature incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during active military, naval, or air service;
    • is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment for such disability
    • is likely to be discharged or released from such service for such disability, and
    • the pursuit of a course of education for which benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 are sought by the individual’s spouse or child occurred after December 22, 2006, or
  • the service member currently has one of the following statuses for a period of more than 90 days:
    • missing in action,
    • captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
    • forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign Government or power.

IX.ii.2.1.g. Definition:  Total Disability

Total disability for purposes of DEA means
  • schedular or extraschedular evaluations of 100 percent under, or by analogy to, any diagnostic code (DC) in 38 CFR Part 4.
  • a combined evaluation of 100 percent, or
  • a total evaluation on the basis of individual unemployability (IU).
Reference:  For more information on a total disability evaluation for the loss of paired organs or extremities under 38 U.S.C. 1160, see Kimberlin v. Brown, 5 Vet. App. 174 (1993).

IX.ii.2.1.h.  Definition: Permanent Disability

Permanent disability means disabling manifestations reasonably certain to continue throughout the lifetime of the individual.

IX.ii.2.1.i.  Temporary Total Ratings and DEA

The mere existence of a total disability evaluation is not sufficient.  There must be a P&T disability in order to award DEA.  Total evaluations assigned under the following provisions are temporary:

  • prestabilization (38 CFR 4.28)
  • extended VA hospitalization (38 CFR 4.29)
  • convalescence (38 CFR 4.30), and
  • any DC that provides for a limited period of total disability for convalescence such as joint replacements or cardiac procedures.

Exceptions:

  • Veterans who are considered P&T disabled prior to the assignment of a 100- percent evaluation under a DC with a limited duration and future examination will be considered permanently disabled during the total evaluation.  The status of permanency is reconsidered following completion of the examination.  Example:  A Veteran who is considered permanently and totally disabled because of a heart disorder based on metabolic equivalents (METs) undergoes cardiac transplantation surgery.  The Veteran would continue to be considered P&T disabled for the duration of the one-year convalescent period under 38 CFR 4.104, DC 7019.
  • A temporary total evaluation on the date of death will establish a P&T disability.  Total disability did persist from the date assigned until the end of the person’s life.

IX.ii.2.1.j.  When a P&T Disability Exists

In the following fact patterns a P&T disability exists:

  • Evidence at the time of evaluation affirmatively shows that the total disability will continue for the remainder of the person’s life.
  • Evidence at the time of evaluation does not specifically support that the total disability will continue for the remainder of the person’s life but does not show that the condition is likely to improve pursuant to 38 CFR 3.327(b)(2).  In such cases, a future examination control is inappropriate so the total disability rating is static; in the absence of re-evaluation, total disability is likely to continue for the remainder of the person’s life.
  • At or before the time of maturation of a future examination diary pertinent to the continuation of total disability, the future examination control is canceled because
    • the future exam control was erroneous under 38 CFR 3.327(b)(2), or
    • evidence is received that changes the prior assessment that the condition was likely to improve.
  • Total disability has been in effect for 20 or more years per 38 CFR 3.951.  In such cases, the total disability is protected and is therefore static and will continue for the remainder of the person’s life.
  • A qualifying individual with total disability dies. In such cases, the total disability is permanent because it persisted until the end of the person’s life.

Note:  For historical purposes, it should be noted that cases in which there is a 100-percent evaluation under the 1925 rating schedule 38 CFR 3.952 also meet the criteria of a “total disability, permanent in nature,” for DEA.


IX.ii.2.1.k.  Responsibility for Decision Making Related to DEA

The DEA program is administered by Education Service which makes the ultimate determination on entitlement and payment of benefits.
The regional office (RO) completes the initial rating decision, as defined by 38 CFR 21.302(q), establishing the basic eligibility factors such as SC for the cause of death or an SC P&T disability.
The RO does not actually determine the effective date of the DEA benefit.  It makes a determination on the date of commencement of a P&T disability.  38 CFR 21.3021(r) defines effective date of the P&T rating as the date from which VA considers that P&T disability commenced for the purpose of VA benefits as determined in the initial rating decision.

IX.ii.2.1.l.  When DEA Is a Rating Issue

Basic eligibility to DEA is a rating issue if
  • there is a claim for DEA or Chapter 35 benefits
  • a beneficiary requests a determination on P&T disability
  • an SC total disability (schedular or total disability due to IU) is awarded or confirmed/continued and permanency is also established (to include the determination that a future examination is not warranted)
  • a previously-set future exam control is canceled/discontinued while there is total disability
  • SC for the cause of death is awarded, or
  • in connection with a claim for death benefits, the Veteran was rated 100-percent disabled due to SC disabilities or entitled to IU on the date of death.
Exceptions:
  • Do not consider basic eligibility to DEA when that matter has been previously established, but do ensure eligibility is properly reflected in all systems.  However, when evaluating a claim for survivors benefit(s) include DEA as an issue in the rating decision even though DEA was awarded on another basis during the Veteran’s lifetime.
  • When an SC total disability is awarded or confirmed and continued you must consider whether there is basic entitlement to DEA.  However if permanency of disability is not proven, do not create a separate issue and make a decision that there is no basic eligibility.  To show consideration, discuss in the evaluation issue that permanency of disability was not established or that improvement was indicated.
  • Do not consider basic eligibility to DEA when the qualifying disability is awarded P&T under 38 U.S.C. 1151.
Notes:
  • Not assigning a future examination control on a total disability, or canceling a future examination when there is total disability, implies that improvement is not indicated and that the disability is static.
  • A rating decision must be prepared whenever permanency of a disability is established, whether the permanency is based on new evidence and/or on cancellation of a future examination regardless of whether or not there appear to be any potentially eligible dependents.
  • The Veterans Benefits Management System – Rating (VBMS-R) automatically establishes the ancillary issue of DEA/Chapter 35 entitlement when there is a combined evaluation of 100 percent and no future examination identified.
  • Consider entitlement to DEA without a rating decision when SC is granted for the cause of death without a rating decision.
Reference:  For more information on the automatic establishment of the ancillary issue of DEA/Chapter 35 in VBMS-R, see the VBMS-R User Guide.

IX.ii.2.1.m.  Date of P&T Disability – Claim or Subordinate Issue

Basic eligibility based on a P&T SC disability is only established when all criteria (i.e., SC, total disability, and permanence of disability) are met.
Therefore, when DEA basic eligibility is established, the date of P&T disability is the later of
  • the date of claim, or
  • the date that the final criterion is factually established.
Notes:
  • When results of a VA-initiated review/future examination portray permanence of an individual or combined total disability evaluation, establish basic eligibility to DEA as of the date the examination was performed.
  • Attribute examination or other findings dated after the date of claim back to the date of claim unless there is specific evidence there was a change to total disability or to permanece of disability between the date of claim and the date of the evidence.
Example:  A VA examination finding that contains an opinion on permanence of disability would be attributed to the date of claim unless there was specific evidence dated on or after the date of claim, and prior to the VA examination date, indicating that the total disability was likely to improve, in which case the date of permanence would be the date of examination.

IX.ii.2.1.n. Date of P&T Disability, Cancellation of Review Examination

Use the table below to determine the date of P&T disability when
  • there is total disability but no indication of permanence based on an established future or review examination control, and
  • a DEA determination is subsequently necessitated by one of the following actions:
    • cancellation of the future examination control prior to maturation, or
    • determination that a review examination should not be scheduled at the time the future examination control matures.
When the action is based on …
Then …
a determination that the examination control was initially set up in error
Example:  In violation of 38 CFR 3.327(b)(2), a future examination control is set for a condition, like amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), that can only be rated at 100 percent and is, by its nature, permanent.
set the date of P&T disability as if the future examination control were never established.
Explanation:  The examination control was erroneous; therefore, the condition was static at the time of the rating decision establishing SC.
a difference in judgment rather than a specific error in the initial future examination control
Example:  The rating activity determines, prior to scheduling, that a review examination should not be scheduled as planned because the conclusion of likely future improvement used to set the future examination control was not well justified by the facts.
use the date of review for the date of P&T disability.
Explanation:  This is essentially a new determination of permanency on the date of review caused by reexamination of the facts.
new evidence that changes the prior assessment that the total disability is likely to improve, as indicated by a future examination control
use the date that the new evidence is received for the date of P&T disability.
Exception:  When the new evidence consists of a VA medical record generated after the date of the rating in which the future examination control was set, use the date of the record.

IX.ii.2.1.o.  Regaining Entitlement to DIC for a Surviving Spouse Upon Termination of a Relationship Upon Which Entitlement Was Previously Precluded

Under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1311(e), a surviving spouse who is ineligible for DIC because he/she has remarried or is living with someone and holding himself/herself out openly as a spouse, may regain eligibility for DIC upon the termination of such relationships.
VAOPGCPREC 13-1998 held that eligibility for DIC regained under these provisions did not entitle the surviving spouse to Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) benefits, DEA, or loan guaranty benefits.  However, Public Law (PL) 106-117, effective November 30, 1999, explicitly restored eligibility for these ancillary benefits.
Note:  These benefits are not payable for the period from October 1, 1998, to November 30, 1999.
Reference:  For more information on reinstatement of eligibility to DEA after November 30, 1999, see M21-1, Part IV, Subpart iii, 3.D.11.j.

2.  Dental Treatment Purposes Ratings


Introduction

This topic contains general information on dental treatment purposes ratings, including

Change Date

February 8, 2018

IX.ii.2.2.a.Interpreting Claims Raising Dental Issues

SC for dental/oral disabilities and conditions can be established for
  • compensation purposes, or
  • treatment purposes only.
Generally assume that a claim for a dental/oral disability or condition, filed on a prescribed form, seeks SC for compensation purposes unless the claim’s wording would negate that assumption or render it questionable.
Use the table below to interpret claims raising dental issues.
If the claim …
Then …
seeks compensation for a
  • dental disability, or
  • dental/oral condition that isnot a dental disability
the issue is entitlement to SC for compensation purposes of the specified dental contention.
Note:  A dental disability denotes
  • a disorder that can be
    • SC for compensation purposes, and
    • evaluated under, or by appropriate analogy to, the 38 CFR 4.150, 9900-series DCs, and
  • a disorder that is not listed in
    • 38 CFR 3.381(b)(treatable carious teeth, replaceable missing teeth, dental or alveolar abscesses, or periodontal disease), or
    • 38 CFR 3.381(f)(calculus, acute periodontal disease, third molars, impacted or malposed teeth, or other developmental defects).
clearly seeks only “dental treatment,” “service connection for dental treatment purposes” or equivalent wording
take action as specified in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.C.1.a.
seeks benefits (i.e., compensation or treatment) for an unspecified dental disorder (wording such as “dental “or “dental condition”)
clarify the claim before taking other action.
Explanation:  The description is insufficient to determine whether the dental disorder or condition is a dental disability.
seeks treatment for a dental disabilityfor which SC for compensation purposes is possible but not previously established
clarify the claim before taking other action.
 Explanation:
  • The claimant could be seeking treatment only but could also be eligible for SC for compensation purposes, which may be relevant treatment eligibility.
  • Treatment can be provided for
  • non-compensable and compensable dental disabilities that are SC for compensation purposes, and
  • dental conditions (treatable carious teeth, replaceable missing teeth, dental or alveolar abscesses, and periodontal disease) specified in 38 CFR 3.381(b).
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.2.b.Outpatient Dental Treatment Classifications  by VHA

The table below describes the most common dental treatment classifications used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and provides a reference for more information on each classification. For the purpose of this topic, the focus will be on Classes II(a) and II.
Dental Treatment Classifications Reference
Class I: SC dental disability evaluated as compensable under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9900 series See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.1.
Class II: SC non-compensable dental condition or disability See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.2.
Class II(a): SC non-compensable dental condition or disability adjudicated as resulting from combat wounds or service trauma See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.3.
Class II(c): Former Prisoner of War (FPOW) status See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.3.
Class III: Dental disability aggravating SC medical condition See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.4.
Class IV: SC disabilities evaluated at 100 percent or entitlement to IU See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.4.
Class V: Enrolled in vocational rehabilitation training See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.4.
Class VI: Dental disability aggravating medical condition being treated under38 U.S.C. 1710 See M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.B.4.
Important:  SC non-compensable (as used in Class II and IIa) means either
  • dental disabilities that are SC for compensation purposes but only assigned a 0-percent evaluation, or
  • 38 CFR 3.381(b) conditions that can only be SC for treatment purposes and, therefore, are not entitled to any compensation payments.

IX.ii.2.2.c. VHA and VBA Roles in Dental Treatment Eligibility Determinations

Authorization of dental treatment under 38 CFR 17.161 is normally handled by the Business Office at the VHA facility nearest the Veteran’s residence or the VHA Health Eligibility Center without referral to the Veterans Service Center (VSC) and the rating activity.
VBA’s role is to make determinations as required by VHA in order for them to determine entitlement to treatment.  VHA may complete VA Form 10-7131, Exchange of Beneficiary Information and Request for Administrative Action,  to request information or a rating from VBA for use in its determination of eligibility to treatment under Class I, II, II(a), II(c), or Class IV.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.2.d.Determinations VBA Makes for Dental Treatment Purposes

Per 38 CFR 3.381(a), VHA may request determinations from VBA including, but not limited to, whether a
  • dental condition or disability is a result of combat wounds
  • dental condition or disability is a result of service trauma
  • Veteran has a non-compensable SC dental condition or disability
  • Veteran has a compensable SC disability
  • Veteran is totally disabled due to an SC disability, or
  • Veteran has former FPOW status.
Note:  This does not mean a formal rating determination is always required.  In many cases, eligibility for outpatient dental treatment can be decided by VHA without VBA rating action based on information of record such as
  • one-time dental treatment for Veterans who apply within 180 days after military discharge (Class II)
  • FPOW status (Class II(c)) , and
  • total disability (Class IV).
In lieu of a dental treatment rating decision, annotate VA Form 10-7131 that the Veteran is totally disabled.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.2.e. When to Prepare a Rating for Dental Treatment Purposes

As specified in 38 CFR 3.381(a), VBA will develop and preare a decision for a claim for SC for dental treatment purposes only after VHA
  • determines that a Veteran meets the basic eligibility requirements of 38 CFR 17.161, and
  • requests that VBA make a determination (by providing required information or issuing a rating decision).
Important:  Provide only the determination requested.

IX.ii.2.2.f. Service Trauma for Dental Treatment Purposes

Veterans who have a non-compensable dental condition (including tooth disorders for which SC for compensation purposes cannot be awarded) resulting from combat wounds or service trauma may receive any reasonably necessary treatment for the SC dental condition under Class II(a).
If VHA provides a VA Form 10-7131 requesting a dental trauma rating, prepare a rating decision identifying the specific tooth number(s) that were injured and identify the service trauma.
Note:  Service trauma means an injury or wound produced by an external physical force, for example, striking the mouth on a vehicle, striking the mouth when falling, and biting down on a cherry pit. Proper in-service tooth extraction does not constitute service trauma as indicated in Nielson v. Shinseki, 607 F.3d 802 (Fed. Cir, 2010).
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.2.g.Conditions SC Only for Dental Treatment Purposes

Per 38 CFR 3.381(b), the following conditions may not be considered compensable dental disabilities.  They may be SC non-compensable dental conditions solely for the purpose of determining entitlement to Class II or Class II(a) dental treatment under 38 CFR 17.161.
  • treatable carious teeth
  • chronic periodontal disease (pyorrhea).
  • replaceable missing teeth, and
  • dental or alveolar abscesses.
Note:  This list is not exclusive and other dental conditions may qualify.
Important:  Periodontal disease is not treatable except for Class II purposes, even if secondary to an SC disability.
Reference:  For more information on SC compensation for dental disabilities, seeM21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.3.

IX.ii.2.2.h. Dental Conditions Not Considered SC Even for Treatment Purposes

Under 38 CFR 3.381(f), the following must not be considered SC even for treatment purposes:
  • calculus
  • acute periodontal disease
  • third molars, unless disease or pathology of the tooth
    • developed after 180 days or more of active service, or
    • was due to combat or in-service trauma, and
  • impacted or malposed teeth, and other developmental defects, unlessdisease or pathology of these teeth developed after 180 days or more of active service.
Notes:
  • Third molars injured by combat or other in-service trauma may be considered for Class II(a) purposes upon VHA request for a service trauma determination.
  • 180 days is the requisite service specified for Class II eligibility under 38 CFR 17.161(b)(1)(i)(A) and 38 CFR 17.161(b)(1)(ii).

IX.ii.2.2.i.Separate Consideration of Each Condition for Dental Treatment Purposes

38 CFR 3.381(c) specifies that the rating activity must consider each defective or missing tooth, each disease of the teeth, and each periodontal tissue separately to determine whether the condition was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty for the purpose of Class II(a) or II treatment eligibility.
Note:  This includes determinations of whether there was combat-related or other service trauma.

IX.ii.2.2.j. Dental Conditions on Service Entry and Aggravation – for Treatment Purposes

Under 38 CFR 3.381(d), the condition of teeth and periodontal tissues at the time of entry into active duty must be considered.
Treatment during service, including filling or extraction of a tooth, or placement of a prosthesis, must not be considered evidence of aggravation of a condition that was noted at entry for treatment purposes, unless additional pathology developed after 180 days or more of active service.

IX.ii.2.2.k.  SC for Dental Treatment – Noted at Entry and Treated During Service

Use the table below to determine the proper action to take based on 38 CFR 3.381(e) guidance regarding SC for treatment purposes of dental conditions noted at entry and treated during service.
If at entry a tooth is noted to be …
And …
Then SC for dental treatment purposes must be …
normal
after active service of 180 days or more the previously normal tooth is
  • filled, or
  • extracted
established.
filled
after active service of 180 days or more
  • the filled tooth is extracted, or
  • the existing filling is replaced
established.
carious but restorable
after active service of 180 days or more
  • extraction of the tooth is required, or
  • new caries develop after the carious tooth is filled
established.
carious and restorable
the carious tooth is merely filled in service
denied.
non-restorable
N/A
denied.
missing
N/A
denied.
Note:  If service dental records are incomplete, consider the doctrine of reasonable doubt under 38 CFR 3.102.

IX.ii.2.2.l. SC for Dental Treatment – Extracted Teeth from Chronic Periodontal Disease

38 CFR 3.381(g) states that teeth extracted because of chronic periodontal disease may be SC for treatment purposes if they were extracted after 180 days or more of active service, per 38 U.S.C. 1712.

IX.ii.2.2.m.Processing Dental Treatment Claims Involving Multiple Periods of Service

If a Veteran has two periods of service and, during the second period of service, incurs a new condition in the same tooth or aggravates a dental condition that was already SC based on the first period of service, show the incurrence of the new condition or the aggravation of the pre-existing condition in the second period of service.
This is done to ensure the Veteran’s entitlement to treatment based on the subsequent service.

IX.ii.2.2.n. Tooth Numbering Systems

Tooth numbering by VA and service departments has been the same since 1953, but differed previously.  The table below shows the numbering systems for the service departments prior to 1953 and the VA numbering system.
Upper
Right
Left
VA
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Army World War I (WWI)
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Army World War II (WWII)
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Navy
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Lower
Right
Left
VA
32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17
Army (WWI)
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Army (WWII)
16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Navy
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Note:  The Coast Guard and Public Health Service have the same tooth numbering system as VA.

IX.ii.2.2.o. Use of Navy Dental Records in Determinations of SC

Copies of dental records have not always been usable for rating purposes because, prior to 1953, different colored markings on the original Naval records represented either disease or fillings and these markings could not be distinguished on photocopies.
Accept the record of subsequent dental operations on the bottom of Navy Form H-4, Navy Dental Records (Examination), as sufficient to authorize SC, even though the reverse side of that form may not record the insertion of fillings.

IX.ii.2.2.p. Use of Army Dental Records to Determine Missing or Defective Teeth at Enlistment

Army regulations require that every individual entering active service for more than 60 days has an initial dental examination within 60 days of entry on active service.
In the absence of a suitable enlistment examination, for example, if the only examination notation was indefinite, such as “acceptable,” “non-disqualifying,” or “not examined,” accept the first examination within a reasonable period after entrance on active duty as recording the missing or defective teeth at enlistment.
Note:  Facts in individual cases, such as when a first examination report is morethan 90 days after enlistment, may warrant an exception to this general rule.

IX.ii.2.2.q. Dental Examinations in Treatment Claims

Generally, a claim for dental treatment may be rated on service records without a dental examination. However, a dental examination may be required to identify teeth or chronic periodontal disease for which SC for treatment or examination purposes may be in order under 38 CFR 17.160.

3.  SC Compensation for Dental Disabilities


Introduction

This topic contains information on SC compensation for dental disabilities including

Change Date

September 8, 2017

IX.ii.2.3.a.
SC of Dental and Oral Disabilities for Compensation Purposes

Claims for SC of dental and oral disabilities are developed and decided pursuant to the same policies and procedures that apply to SC for compensation purposes of conditions of other body systems.
Notify VHA when the rating decision establishing SC of a compensable dental disability for compensation purposes  is prepared.
When notifying a Veteran of a decision to grant SC for a dental or oral disability, instruct the Veteran to take the decision notice to the nearest VHA eligibility office to obtain more information regarding his/her associated eligibility for treatment of the disability.
Reference:  For more information on interpreting claims raising dental issues and the definition of a dental disability, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.2.a.

IX.ii.2.3.b. Dental Examinations in Compensation Claims for a Dental Disability

Obtain a dental examination for purposes of SC or evaluation purposes when necessary.
Dental examinations are considered specialist examinations.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.3.c.Denying Dental Claims for SC Compensation

Consider the issue of SC for compensation purposes for the conditions listed in 38 CFR 3.381(b) in a formal rating and deny the claim if
  • a Veteran claims compensation for one of these conditions, and
  • the record shows no complicating condition that is subject to SC.
In the Narrative of the rating decision, discuss that under 38 CFR 3.381(b) SC for such conditions can be established only for treatment purposes, and note if dental treatment in service was limited to conditions affecting only the teeth or gums.

IX.ii.2.3.d.  Schedule of Ratings for Dental and Oral Conditions

The schedule of ratings for dental and oral conditions are contained at 38 CFR 4.150.
Important:  When there is competent and credible medical evidence of impairment associated with conditions listed in 38 CFR 4.150 DCs that cannot be evaluated within the listed diagnostic criteria, that impairment must be evaluated separately.  Examples of potentially-associated impairments include (but are not limited to)
  • loss of
    • vocal articulation
    • smell, or
    • taste
  • neurological impairment
  • respiratory dysfunction, or
  • other impairments (such as scars).
Important:  The guidance on other impairment associated with dental and oral conditions was added as Note (2) to changes to 38 CFR 4.150 effective September 10, 2017.  However, as currently provided in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, 6.B.2.c, when deciding expressly claimed issues, decision makers must consider entitlement to any complications that are within the scope of the claim including those identified by the rating criteria.
Reference:  For more information on the dental-oral rating schedule changes, seeM21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.3.h.

IX.ii.2.3.e. Diagnostic Imaging Confirmation Requirement for Evaluations Based on Nonunion of the Mandible or Maxilla 

Under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9903, nonunion of the mandible requires confirmation by diagnostic imaging studies.
Under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9916, maxillary nonunion requires confirmation by diagnostic imaging studies.
As defined in the note to 38 CFR 4.150diagnostic imaging studies include but are not limited to
  • conventional radiography (x-ray)
  • computed tomography (CT)
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • radionuclide bone scanning, and
  • ultrasonography.
The term nonunion refers to incomplete healing after an adequate healing period with fibrous union and mobility of fracture segments.
Important:  An actual copy of the imaging study does not need to be present in the claims folder.  However, the folder must reflect confirmation that the imaging was reviewed by the examiner.
Note:  Although this is a new regulatory requirement, added to 38 CFR 4.150effective September 10, 2017, the September 2016 version of the Oral and Dental Conditions Including Mouth, Lips And Tongue (Other Than Temporomandibular Joint Conditions) Disability Benefits Questionnaire asks if x-rays or other studies, to include studies of the maxilla and mandible, have been conducted and instructs the examiner that if studies supporting the diagnosis are already of record they do not have to be repeated.  For cases pending on the effective date of the change of law, September 10, 2017, if there is a diagnosis of nonunion unsupported by diagnostic studies, obtain clarification.

IX.ii.2.3.fSpecial Considerations in Evaluations for TMD

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) (which may also be called temporomandibular joint dysfunction (“TMJD” or more colloquially TMJ”)) is evaluated under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9905.  Evaluation levels are based on
  • limitation of inter-incisal range of motion (with or without dietary restrictions), or
  • range of lateral excursion.
When assigning an evaluation there are a number of considerations.
For VA purposes normal maximum unassisted range of inter-incisal motion is 35 to 50mm.
  • A 10-percent evaluation can be assigned for no more than 34 mm of inter-incisal motion.
  • Under the prior version of the DC (effective prior to September 10, 2017), a 10-percent evaluation was available for motion up to 40mm.
For each range of maximum assisted inter-incisal motion, the appropriate evaluation to assign will depend on whether or not the condition necessitates dietary restriction to mechanically-altered foods.
  • The regulation provides in Note (3) that mechanically altered foods are foods altered by blending, chopping, grinding, or mashing to make them easier to chew and swallow.  Mechanical alteration can be to one of four levels or gradations:  full liquid, puree, soft, and semi-solid.
  • The note refers to dietary restrictions in which mechanically altered foods are required as texture modified diets.
  • Dietary restrictions involving any textured modified diet (any grade of mechanically altered food) must be recorded or verified by a physician.
    • A contention or testimony by an individual that he or she is using a texture modified diet or requires one due to the SC condition is not sufficient to establish that the condition necessitates a texture modified diet with restriction to mechanically altered foods.
    • Endorsement of the need for the dietary restriction to mechanically altered foods by a competent medical professional is required.  An examination report may satisfactorily record or verify that the SC condition necessitates the dietary restriction to mechanically altered food.
With respect to inter-incisal range of motion, the DC requires ranges be “unassisted.”  This means active range of motion.
In assigning an evaluation for TMD or any other dental disability on the basis of limited motion of temporomandibular articulation under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9905,do not assign separate evaluations for limited inter-incisal motion or painful motion involving each side of the jaw.  Doing so is pyramiding.  Only one evaluation may be assigned.
If both sides of the jaw are affected, use the limitation of motion on the side that affords the highest evaluation.
Example:  Maximum unassisted inter-incisal motion is limited to 34 mm on the right and 25 mm on the left.  There is no dietary restriction to mechanically altered foods.  There is credible evidence of actually painful motion of both sides of the jaw.  Assign a single 20-percent evaluation under 38 CFR 4.150, DC 9905.  Do notassign separate 10-and 20-percent evaluations.
Do not combine ratings for limited inter-incisal motion with a rating based on limitation of lateral excursion of the jaw.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.3.gDefinition and Evaluation Guidelines for Bruxism

Bruxism is defined as excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw.
Bruxism cannot be evaluated as a stand-alone SC disability.  However, as the condition may be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, TMD, or some other disability, it may be considered on a secondary basis as a symptom of an SC disability for rating purposes.
Important:  If an examination solely diagnoses bruxism and does not provide an etiology for bruxism, return the examination to the examiner and request the etiology of bruxism in order to determine whether bruxism is secondary to an SC disability.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.3.h. Dental-Oral Rating Schedule Changes 

A final rule made amendments to the rating schedule provisions for dental and oral conditions (38 CFR 4.150) effective September 10, 2017.  The changes were notconsidered liberalizing.
Reference:  For more information on handing claims when there are regulatory changes, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, 5.C.7.

4.  Rating for Medical Care


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating for medical care, including

Change Date

March 10, 2016

IX.ii.2.4.a.   RO Role in Eligibility Determinations for Medical Care

When a Veteran applies for medical treatment under 38 U.S.C. 1710, the VHA medical facility determines the Veteran’s eligibility and enrollment category.  However, the medical facility may require information from the RO in order to make its determination.
VHA submits requests for VBA information or determinations for medical care purposes via
What action to take after a VHA request is received will depend on the nature of the request. The request will advise what information or determination by VBA is required.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.4.b.  Taking Rating Action for Medical Care Purposes

Guidance for determining whether rating activity action is required is provided inM21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.4.
Process requests requiring rating action using the table in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.4.b.
Important:  Individuals who are barred from receiving payment for SC compensation because of a discharge under other than honorable conditions can still receive medical care benefits for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during active military naval or air service as provided by 38 CFR 3.360, andM21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 1.B.4. In making determinations of SC for medical care eligibility purposes in such a case, use the same criteria that are applicable to determinations of service incurrence and line of duty when there is no character of discharge (COD) bar.
Note:  When entering a decision in VBMS-R allowing SC for treatment purposes, do not enter a disability percentage.  The generated text notes that service connection is granted for treatment purpose only under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 17, and compensation is not payable for the condition.  The effective date field is disabled.  Do not attempt to assign an effective date.
References:  For more information on

5.  SC of Mental Conditions Under 38 U.S.C. 1702


Introduction

This topic contains information on the evaluation of mental conditions for SC under 38 U.S.C. 1702, including

Change Date

Feburary 8, 2018

IX.ii.2.5.a.
SC for Mental Conditions for Treatment Purposes Under 38 U.S.C. 1702

38 U.S.C. 1702 creates a presumption of SC for the purpose of eligibility for VA treatment for
  • psychoses based on wartime service, or
  • any mental condition based on Gulf War service.
Claims for medical or psychological treatment are normally determined by VHA without referral to VBA.  However, a medical facility may require information or a determination from VBA.
Reference:  For more information on determining eligibility for medical care seeM21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.1.

IX.ii.2.5.b.  When VBA Must Decide the Issue of SC Under 38 U.S.C. 1702

VBA must decide the issue of SC for a psychosis or other mental condition under38 U.S.C. 1702 when
  • requested by VHA, or
  • when a decision maker finds the facts support the 38 U.S.C. 1702 criteria in the course of denying SC for compensation purposes for
    • a psychosis based on wartime service, or
    • any mental disorder based on Gulf War service.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.5.c.  38 U.S.C. 1702 Criteria for SC for Mental Conditions for Treatment Purposes

38 U.S.C. 1702 provides that SC is presumed for VA treatment purposes for a Veteran of
  • of any war period who develops a psychosis, or
  • of the Gulf War who develops any mental illness
within
  • two years after the date of separation (under other than dishonorable conditions) from such service, and
  • two years after the end of the war period.
Important:  Both criteria must be met for the presumption to arise. The presumption that the qualifying disability was incurred in service for treatment purposes does not apply if
  • a qualifying mental ilness develops more than two years after the end of the war period, even if the condition develops less thanor at, two years after discharge, or
  • a qualifying mental illness develops more than two years after service discharge even if that was during wartime or less than, or at, two years thereafter.
Notes:
  • It is not necessary for the Veteran to have had 90 days of service to qualify.
  • Gulf War Veterans who manifest primary diagnoses of substance abuse disorders within the applicable timeframes described above will be entitled to mental health treatment for those disorders under 38 U.S.C. 1702 even though the laws administered by VA prohibit awards of monetary benefits for conditions of misconduct etiology.
References:  For more information on

IX.ii.2.5.d.  VHA Requests for 38 U.S.C. 1702 Determinations

The table below describes the process when VHA requests a VBA determination of SC under 38 U.S.C. 1702.
Stage
Description
1
VHA submits requests for determination of SC accompanied by
2
Follow the procedure for processing a request for rating activity action in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.4.b.

IX.ii.2.5.e.  Addressing a VHA-requested 38 U.S.C. 1702 Determination in the Rating Decision

Use the table below when issuing a rating decision in response to a request by VHA for a 38 U.S.C. 1702 determination.
If the criteria for SC under 38 U.S.C. 1702 …
Then …
 are met
  • the decision should be a separate issue in the rating decision, and
  • the Codesheet will show the text Active Psychosis/GW Mental, SC for Treatment Only.
are not met
  • the decision should be a separate issue in the rating decision and
  • the Codesheet will show the text Active Psychosis/GW Mental, NSC-1702. 
Note:  When addressing a VHA request for a 1702 determination, the issue of SC of a mental disorder for treatment purposes under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1702should always be listed as a separate or stand-alone issue.
Reference:  For more information on addressing the subordinate or inferred issue of 38 U.S.C. 1702 in the rating decision see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.5.f.

IX.ii.2.5.f.  Addressing the Subordinate Issue of 38 U.S.C. 1702 in the Rating Decision

Use the table below when considering the subordinate issue of SC for treatment purposes under 38 U.S.C. 1702 based on a denial of SC for compensation purposes for
  • a psychosis based on wartime service,
  • or any mental illness based on Gulf War service.
If the criteria for SC under 38 U.S.C. 1702 …
Then …
 are established
  • in the rating decision address the subordinate issue as a separate decision from the decision on the mental conditon, and
  • ensure the rating Codesheet, shows “Active Psychosis/GW Mental–SC for Treatment Only” or equivalent.
Exception:  If a previous decision has awarded entitlement, there is no need to address it again.
are not established
do not address the matter at all in the rating decision.
Important:  SC for treatment purposes under 38 U.S.C 1702 is not a subordinate issue and should not be decided in cases for which
  • 38 U.S.C. 1702 determination has not been requested by VHA
  • a bereavement diagnosis is the only diagnosis noted in the mental examination, as this is considered an acute and transitory condition, or
  • a claim for SC for compensation purposes of a psychosis based on any wartime service or any mental illness based on Gulf War service is denied, and under the facts of record the 38 U.S.C. 1702 presumption would not arise.

6.  Insanity Determinations


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating for an insanity determination, including

Change Date

November 21, 2006

IX.ii.2.6.a.  When a Rating Decision for Insanity Is Required

A rating decision for the issue of insanity is required to determine whether the Veteran was insane at the time of commission of an act or acts that resulted in a service department COD, line-of-duty, or misconduct determination which precludes entitlement to benefits.
Evaluations of insanity are prepared only at the request of the authorization activity because of a
  • specific allegation by the claimant, or
  • question raised by the evidence in the claims folder.
Reference:  For more information on submitting cases to the rating activity for a determination on the sanity of a beneficiary involved in homicide, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 1.F.3.f.

IX.ii.2.6.b.  Considering Evidence and Information to Include in a Determination of Insanity

Prior to making a determination as to whether a Veteran was insane at the time he/she committed an offense leading to his/her court-martial, discharge, or resignation
  • request all obtainable evidence related to the period involved
  • apply the definition of insanity found in 38 CFR 3.354, and
  • state in the Narrative of the rating decision, The Veteran [was] [was not]insane at the time [he] [she] committed an offense.
Result:  A rating decision finding the Veteran to have been sane at the time in question, supported by the necessary explanation, is sufficient as to the particular period of service or offense at issue.

7.  Rating Determination for Veteran’s Civil Service Disability Preference


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating determination for Veteran’s civil service disability preference, including

Change Date

November 16, 2004

IX.ii.2.7.a.  Certifying Civil Service Disability Preference

For the purpose of certifying civil service disability preference, an SC disability may be assigned an evaluation of “less than ten percent” for any directly or presumptively SC disease or injury that exhibits some extent of actual impairment.

IX.ii.2.7.b.  Requirements for Civil Service Evaluations

For non-combat disabilities, there must be ascertainable residuals before a “less than ten percent” evaluation may be assigned for civil service preference purposes.Ascertainable residuals means symptoms that can be objectively verified on examination.
Note:  Combat-incurred non-compensable disabilities warrant an evaluation of “less than ten percent.”

IX.ii.2.7.c.  When a Rating Is Required for Civil Service Preference

A rating is required for civil service preferance purposes if a previous rating did not establish entitlement to compensation, which includes special monthly compensation or entitlement under 38 CFR 3.324.

IX.ii.2.7.d.  What to Include in the Rating Narrative for Civil Service Preference Determinations

In the Narrative of the civil service preference determination, show the DC, diagnosis, and an evaluation of either
  • less than ten percent,” or
  • The noncompensable service-connected disabilities have no ascertainable residuals.”

8.  Extending the Delimiting Dates for Educational Assistance


Introduction

This topic contains information on extending the delimiting dates for educational assistance based on disability, including

Change Date

February 3, 2011

IX.ii.2.8.a.  RPO Jurisdiction in Claims for Extension of the Educational Assistance Delimiting Date

The jurisdiction of all rating determinations required in claims for extension of the educational assistance delimiting date resides with the Regional Processing Offices (RPO) in
  • Atlanta
  • Buffalo
  • St. Louis, and
  • Muskogee.
If an RO receives a request for a delimiting date extension, the RO should route the request to the RPO of jurisdiction.
Note:  The address of the claimant’s educational facility determines which RPO has jurisdiction over the claim.
Reference:  For more information on the alignment of ROs and RPOs, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.11.

IX.ii.2.8.b.  When the Delimiting Dates for Educational Assistance May Be Extended

The delimiting date for educational assistance may be extended for the following beneficiaries, if the rating activity determines that mental or physical disability, not the result of misconduct, prevented their initiation or completion of a chosen program of education within the applicable 10, 12, 15, or 20-year period of eligibility

IX.ii.2.8.c.  Determining Whether the Disability Was the Result of Willful Misconduct

A determination as to whether the disability was the result of willful misconduct is made by the rating activity or authorization activity according to the provisions ofM21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 1.D.

IX.ii.2.8.d.  When Medical Infeasibility to Pursue Training May Be Found for Any Period During Which the Claimant Was Employed Full-Time

Medical infeasibility to pursue training ordinarily may not be found for any period during which the claimant was employed full-time unless
  • the medical evidence indicates the employment was part of a medically- prescribed rehabilitation program
  • the employment was of a marginal nature and the disability can reasonably be deemed to have restricted the claimant from concurrent pursuit of the chosen program of training, or
  • the nature of the disability actually precluded the claimant from pursuing the desired program of training.

IX.ii.2.8.e.  Time Limit for Requesting a Delimiting Date Extension

Use the table below to determine the appropriate time limit for requesting a delimiting date extension.
If applying for educational benefits under …
Then …
there is no time limitation for requesting a delimiting date extension.
the application for an extension of the delimiting date must be received in VA within one year of the latter
  • the last date of the delimiting period, otherwise applicable, or
  • the termination of the period of mental or physical disability.

IX.ii.2.8.f.  When to Refer Claims for Delimiting Date Extensions to the Rating Activity

Veterans Claims Examiners at RPOs refer claims for delimiting date extensions to the rating activity of the RO co-located with the RPO when the following evidence is of record:
  • the claimant’s statement as to
    • the origin, if known, and nature of the disability upon which the claim for extension is based and the period(s) during which training was precluded because of disability
    • employment history during the period(s) in which educational pursuit was prevented by disability, including the dates and weekly hours of employment, names and addresses of employers, and types of jobs held, and
    • the exceptional circumstances which prevented the claimant from enrolling in or pursuing a program of education during the period of disablement, if the disabling period was 30 days or less, and
  • medical evidence of the disability, including a statement by a physician, indicating
    • diagnosis and treatment, the period(s) of disability, the dates during which, in the physician’s opinion, training was medically infeasible, and an evaluation of current feasibility of employment or training, and
    • hospital reports, laboratory tests, and other relevant medical evidence referred to by the claimant or the attending physician.

IX.ii.2.8.g.  Processing Claims for Delimiting Date Extensions

The table below describes the actions the RPOs and the co-located ROs take when processing claims for delimiting date extensions.
Step
Action
1
An RPO receives a claim for a delimiting date extension.
2
Is there sufficient evidence of record to warrant referral of the claim to the rating activity at the co-located RO?
  • If yes, the RPO
    • scans the evidence into The Image Management System (TIMS), an electronic database
    • forwards the hard copy of the evidence to the RO rating activity, and
    • goes to Step 4.
  • If no, the RPO
    • sends a development letter to the claimant, and
    • goes to Step 3.
Reference:  For more information on when to refer claims for delimiting date extensions to the rating activity, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart ii, 2.8.f.
3
Did the claimant provide the evidence requested?
  • If yes, the RPO
    • scans the medical evidence into TIMS
    • forwards the hard copy of the medical evidence to the RO rating activity, and
    • goes to Step 4.
  • If no, the RPO
    • denies the claim, and
    • notifies the claimant of the decision.
4
The RO rating activity
  • prepares a rating decision, and
  • furnishes the RPO
    • a copy of the decision, and
    • the evidence considered in the claim.
5
The RPO
  • scans the rating decision into TIMS
  • takes final action on the claim based on the rating determination, and
  • notifies the claimant of the decision.

IX.ii.2.8.h.  Reviewing Medical Records for Evidence Relating to Non-Education Service Benefits

The RO rating activity must carefully review medical records furnished by RPOs for evidence that could relate to non-Education Service benefits.
When reviewing medical records, the rating activity should
  • access the appropriate VBA digital system screens to determine
    • the existence and location of the Veteran’s claims folder, and
    • what SC disabilities, if any, have been established
  • for paper claims folders, contact the station of origination (SOO) where the claims folder is located for clarification of SC disabilities, if necessary
  • examine the medical records for
    • any informal or formal claims for non-Education Service benefits, such as  compensation,
    • records that pertain to a previously-established SC disability, and
    • forward pertinent paper medical records and/or claims for benefits to the SOO where the claims folder is located.

IX.ii.2.8.i.  Rating Conclusion for Determinations of Delimiting Date Extensions

In the rating decision conclusion for determinations of delimiting date extensions, under the Decision, show either
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 30, 38 U.S.C. 3031(d) [is] [is not]granted
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 31, 38 U.S.C. 3103 [is] [is not]granted
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 32, 38 U.S.C. 3232(2)(A) and (B)[is] [is not] granted
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 33, 38 U.S.C. 3312(b)(1) [is] [is not] granted
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 35, 38 U.S.C. 3512(B) [is] [is not] granted, or
  • Extension of Delimiting Date Under Ch. 1606, 10 U.S.C. 16133(b)(3) [is] [is not] granted.
In the coded conclusion, show either
  • Training medically infeasible from [date] through [date], or
  • Disability did not make training medically infeasible.

9.  Rating for Insurance Purposes


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating for insurance purposes, including

Change Date

November 21, 2006

IX.ii.2.9.a.  Eligibility for SDVI

Veterans may apply for non-participating Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (SDVI) if they
  • were released from active service on or after April 25, 1951, under other than dishonorable conditions, and
  • have an SC disability or disabilities evaluated at zero percent or higher.
Note:  SDVI is also called “RH Insurance” because the policy numbers are
prefixed with “RH.”

IX.ii.2.9.b.  When to Apply for SDVI

Application for SDVI must be made within two years from the date of notice initially award SC for a disability.

IX.ii.2.9.c.  Who May Apply for SDVI

The Veteran must be in good health to apply for SDVI, with the exception of the SC disability.
If the applicant is shown to have been mentally incompetent during any part of the two-year period, only a legal guardian may apply for this insurance, and if required by State law, after the court has authorized the guardian to make such application.
Note:  Since the Veteran must be in good health except for the SC disability, the mental incompetency must be due to the SC disability.

<ix.ii.2.9.dIX.ii.2.9.d.  Eligibility for Gratuitous SDVI After Death</ix.ii.2.9.d

Gratuitous SDVI may be awarded on behalf of mentally incompetent Veterans who were otherwise eligible to be awarded SDVI but due to mental incompetency died without filing an application.
The mental incompetency must have arisen from an SC disability either
  • at the time of release from active service
  • during any part of the two-year period from the date any disability is first determined to be SC, or
  • any time after release from service if SC is not established until after death.
Note:  To be eligible for Gratuitous SDVI, the Veteran must have remained continuously mentally incompetent until date of death, and must have died before the appointment of a guardian, or within two years after the appointment of a guardian.

IX.ii.2.9.e.  When a Rating Decision Is Required for Determination of SDVI Eligibility

A rating decision is required for determination of SDVI eligibility when the Insurance Center (IC) refers
  • an e-mail request, or
  • VA Form 29-4373Request for Disability Compensation Rating for Insurance Purposes–Government Life Insurance.

IX.ii.2.9.f.  Processing Insurance Cases Involving Coma Incident to the Terminal State

Brief periods of coma incident to the terminal state are commonly encountered.
In the absence of other manifestations of mental incapacity to contract, manage personal affairs, or disburse funds, such brief periods of coma may be insufficient to support a rating of mental incompetency under 38 U.S.C. 1922(b).
The fact that SC has been established for the cause of death does not carry with it the implication that the Veteran was mentally incompetent at the time of death or at any time during the critical period for purposes of 38 U.S.C. 1922(b).

IX.ii.2.9.g.
Processing
Insurance Cases Involving Suicide

A finding in a rating decision for survivors benefits that a Veteran was of unsound mind at the time of suicide under the provisions of 38 CFR 3.302 does not mean the Veteran was mentally incompetent for insurance purposes of 38 U.S.C. 1922(b).
Prepare a rating decision under 38 U.S.C. 1922(b) based on all the evidence of record, and support any rating of mental incompetency by objective evidence that shows the Veteran’s state of mind.
Reference:  For more information on a definition of mental incompetency, see 38 CFR 3.353.

IX.ii.2.9.h.  Preparing the Rating Decision for Insurance Purposes

When preparing the rating decision for insurance purposes,
  • prepare a copy of the rating for the IC
  • under the Decision, show either
    • Incompetency for insurance purposes [is] [is not] established, or
    • Entitlement to Gratuitous Insurance under 38 U.S.C. 1922 [is] [is not] established
  • show the Veteran’s address, including the zip code, above the Jurisdictionsection
  • dispose of conditions listed on VA Form 29-4373, which are considered to be symptoms of an evaluated disability by a statement to this effect in theNarrative part of the rating decision, and
  • in the coded conclusion, show the codes and evaluations appropriate to compensation entitlement.

10.  Rating for the Polish and Czechoslovakian Armed Forces Under 38 U.S.C. 109(c)


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating for the Polish and Czechoslovakian Armed Forces under 38 U.S.C. 109(c), including

Change Date

November 21, 2006

IX.ii.2.10.a.  Jurisdiction for Determinations Under 38 U.S.C. 109(c)

The VSC of the Wilmington VA Medical and Regional Office Center (VAM&ROC) has sole jurisdiction for all rating determinations required for the Polish and Czechoslovakian Armed Forces under 38 U.S.C. 109(c) per 38 CFR 3.359.
Route requests received by any other RO to the Wilmington VAM&ROC with information as to the referral provided to the submitting health care facility.

IX.ii.2.10.b.  Basing Rating Determinations Under 38 U.S.C. 109(c) on the Evidence

Base rating determinations under 38 U.S.C 109(c) on the evidence submitted with the request.
The medical facility is responsible for fully developing the claim before sending the request directly to Medical Administration Service (MAS) (136) in the Wilmington VAM&ROC.
Reference:  For more information on jurisdiction over claims folders, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.A.

<ix.ii.2.10.cIX.ii.2.10.c.    Information to Include in the Rating Decision for Eligibility Under 38 U.S.C. 109(c)</ix.ii.2.10.c

In the rating decision, under the Decision, show Eligibility for hospital or outpatient treatment Under 38 U.S.C. 109(c) [is] [is not] established.
In the coded conclusion, evaluate conditions established as SC with a statement of either 50 percent or more or less than 50 percent.
Notes:
  • Apply existing criteria for the determination of SC and degree of disability.
  • Return the completed rating and all other materials to the MAS, Wilmington, for its maintenance of eligibility records.

11.  Addendum A.  Alignment of ROs and RPOs


Change Date

July 20, 2015

IX.ii.2.11.a.  Alignment of ROs and RPOs for Jurisdiction of Education Claims

The jurisdiction of an RPO over an education claim is based on the address of the educational facility where the beneficiary is enrolled.  For example, if the beneficiary attends a college in Ohio, the St. Louis RPO would have jurisdiction over the education claim.
 The table below indicates which ROs are aligned with RPOs in
  • Atlanta
  • Buffalo
  • St. Louis, and
  • Muskogee.
RPO Atlanta
RPO Buffalo
RPO St. Louis
RPO Muskogee
Atlanta
Baltimore
Chicago
Albuquerque
San Juan
Boston
Cleveland
Anchorage
Winston-Salem
Buffalo
Des Moines
Boise
District of Columbia, Washington
Detroit
Fort Harrison
Hartford
Fargo
Houston
Wilmington
Denver
Little Rock
Manchester
Indianapolis
Los Angeles
Newark
Lincoln
Manila
New York
Louisville
Muskogee
Philadelphia
Milwaukee
New Orleans
Pittsburgh
Nashville
Oakland
Providence
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St. Petersburg
Jackson
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