Marching long distances, strenuous training, operating heavy vehicles, and combat are some of the activities that put military personnel at a greater risk of developing hip impairments of many kinds. Whether hip issues were caused by an acute accident or injury, or were the result of chronic stress over the course of military service, hip conditions that impact a veteran’s daily life may be eligible for service connection and VA disability benefits. Read on to find out more about VA disability benefits for hip and upper leg conditions, and how to get a free VA disability claim evaluation from award-winning veteran advocates.
Which Hip Conditions Are Eligible for Service Connection?
As you can see from the disability rating schedules further down this page, hip and thigh conditions are mostly evaluated using measurements of joint mobility (in degrees). Therefore, regardless of diagnosis, hip and upper thigh conditions are generally eligible for service connection and compensation if they cause limited or painful motion (painful motion always merits at least the minimum rating for a joint).
There are several common hip impairments that VA physicians screen veterans for during their Compensation & Pension (C&P) examinations. That list of conditions, found on the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for the hip and thigh, is reproduced below:
– Hip joint replacement
– Trochanteric pain syndrome (includes trochanteric bursitis)
– Femoral acetabular impingement syndrome (includes labral tears)
– Iliopsoas tendinitis
– Femoral neck stress fracture
– Avascular necrosis of the hip
– Ankylosis of hip joint
Hip conditions are evaluated and compensated differently depending on the specific impairment and the degree of disability. Be sure to work with your physician and/or orthopedic specialist to get the correct diagnosis, and record your symptoms as early as possible. In addition to helping your VA disability claim, this will also help you get the best medical treatment.
Proving Service Connection and Unemployability for Hip Conditions
If your hip condition began during or was made worse by your military service, you are eligible for service connection and VA disability benefits. To prove service connection to the VA, assembling your service medical records, military personnel files reflecting an in-service accident, diagnosis, or change of duty due to hip issues, and any private medical records you have will help you establish a correlation between your military service and the progression of your neck condition. Make sure to have an examining physician use a goniometer as soon as possible in order to gain an accurate measurement of any mobility loss, as the degree of immobility is important for the disability rating process. Sworn declarations form fellow servicemembers, friends, family members or others familiar with your condition(s) can also help verify your hip condition was caused or made worse during your military service.
As you can see from the rating schedules below, the highest possible schedular disability rating for any given hip condition is 90 percent, for extremely unfavorable ankylosis of the hip joint. This is because of the “amputation rule.” An amputation of the entire leg from the hip down is generally rated at 90 percent disabling, above the knee as 60 percent disabling, and below the knee as 40 percent disabling, so any knee or leg condition that falls short of amputation cannot exceed the schedular rating for amputation of the affected body part. One notable exception to this is the case of a total hip replacement, which is rated as 100 percent disabling for one year following the implantation of the prosthesis. Severe unfavorable ankylosis of the hip may also be eligible for Special Monthly Compensation, an additional monthly payment “for various types of anatomical losses or levels of impairment due solely to service-connected (SC) disabilities” (M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section H).
Although it is very rare for a single hip or leg condition to be considered for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU rating), veterans frequently find themselves managing psychological health conditions, orthopedic issues in other areas of the body, or other service-connected health issues in addition to a hip condition. Veterans with claims like this who are unable to work may find that the combined disability rating assigned to them by VA falls short of the total disability benefits they should be paid. To appeal a VA rating decision and win a TDIU rating or 100 percent combined rating, having an experienced veteran advocate with you gives you best odds of success.
Disability Rating Schedules for Hip Conditions
Diagnostic Code 5250, Hip, ankylosis of:
Unfavorable, extremely unfavorable ankylosis,
the foot not reaching ground, crutches necessitated: 90
Favorable in flexion at an angle between 20º and 40º and
slight adduction or abduction: 60
Diagnostic Code 5251, Thigh, limitation of extension of:
Extension limited to 5º: 10
Diagnostic Code 5252, Thigh, limitation of flexion of:
Flexion limited to 10º: 40
Flexion limited to 20º: 30
Flexion limited to 30º: 20
Flexion limited to 45º: 10
Diagnostic Code 5253, Thigh, impairment of:
Limitation of abduction of, motion lost beyond 10º: 20
Limitation of adduction of, cannot cross legs: 10
Limitation of rotation of, cannot toe-out more than 15º,
affected leg: 10
Diagnostic Code 5254, Hip, flail joint: 80
Diagnostic Code 5255, Femur, impairment of:
Fracture of shaft or anatomical neck of:
With nonunion, with loose motion (spiral or oblique fracture): 80
With nonunion, without loose motion, weightbearing preserved
with aid of brace: 60
Fracture of surgical neck of, with false joint: 60
With marked knee or hip disability: 30
With moderate knee or hip disability: 20
With slight knee or hip disability: 10
Diagnostic Code 5054, Hip replacement (prosthesis):
Prosthetic replacement of the head of the femur or of the acetabulum:
For 1 year following implantation of prosthesis: 100
Following implantation of prosthesis with painful motion or weakness such as to require the use of crutches: 90
Markedly severe residual weakness, pain or limitation of motion following implantation of prosthesis: 70
Moderately severe residuals of weakness, pain or limitation of motion: 50
Minimum rating: 30
Get a Free Evaluation of Your VA Disability Benefits Claim
The VA disability claims process can be confusing and time-consuming for disabled veterans and their loved ones, but you don’t have to go through it alone. For over 25 years Friedman Disability has helped American veterans win their VA disability claims, winning total disability benefits for more than 5,000 veterans. Over that time, our veteran advocates have developed a deep understanding of the VA disability law surrounding hip conditions, and have developed effective legal strategies to get you the maximum disability benefits under the law, as quickly as possible. Our fee is 20 percent of your past-due benefits ONLY if we win your claim. Give us a call 800-742-5035 today or visit https://veterans-disability-lawyers.com/contact-us/ for a free evaluation of your VA disability claim.