If you suffer from a non –service condition for example a stroke that is worsened by your service condition for example PTSD can you get increased benefits for the stroke as aggravation of your service connected disability?
The relevant regulation 38 C.F.R. § 3.310 was amended effective October 10, 2006. The new regulation provide that VA will not concede that a nonservice-connected disease or injury was aggravated by a service-connected disease or injury unless the baseline level of severity of the nonservice-connected disease or injury is established by medical evidence created before the onset of aggravation or by the earliest medical evidence created at any time between the onset of aggravation and the receipt of medical evidence establishing the current level of severity of the nonservice-connected disease or injury. The rating activity will determine the baseline and current levels of severity under the Schedule for Rating Disabilities and determine the extent of aggravation by deducting the baseline level of severity, as well as any increase in severity due to the natural progress of the disease, from the current level. 38 C.F.R. § 3.310(b) (2012).
The SSA found that you are unable to secure any job in the national economy. Is that disability decision binding on the VA? It is clear that a favorable rating decision by the VA is entitled to evidentiary weight in a Social Security hearing.
In Thomas E. McCartey v. Massanari, 298 F.3d 1072 9th Circ 2002, the Court agreed that a VA disability rating is entitled to evidentiary weight in a Social Security hearing. See Chambliss v.Massanari, 269 F.3d 520, 522 (5th Cir.2001) (per curiam) (VA disability rating is generally entitled to “great weight” and “must be considered by the ALJ”).