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Recovery from Surgery or an Immobilizing Disability (Convalescence)

Are you recovering from surgery or a disability related to your military service that’s left you unable to move? You may be able to get a temporary 100% disability rating and disability compensation or benefits if you have this kind of immobilizing disability. Find out if you can get this benefit.

Can I get disability benefits from VA?

You may be able to get disability benefits if you’ve had surgery or received other treatment at a VA hospital, approved hospital, or outpatient center for a disability related to your military service (called a service-connected disability).

If you had surgery, both of these must true for you:

  • The surgery required a recovery time of at least 1 month or reports show that the surgery or treatment was for a service-connected disability, and
  • The surgery resulted in severe issues, like:
    • Surgical wounds that haven’t totally healed
    • Stumps of recent amputations
    • Being unable to move due to being put in splints or casts to help with healing (known as therapeutic immobilizations)
    • Being unable to leave your house (known as house confinement)
    • Being required to use a wheelchair or crutches

If you didn’t have surgery, this must be true:

You had one or more major joints immobilized by a cast.


Who’s covered?

Veterans

What kind of disability benefits can I get?

  • Health care
  • Added compensation (payments) while you recover
  • A temporary 100% disability rating

How do I get these benefits?

You’ll need to apply for benefits.
Apply for benefits.

Recovery time from either a surgery or the immobilization of a joint by a cast without surgery requires a temporary 100% disability rating for a service-connected disability. The temporary 100% rating may continue for 1 to 3 months—depending on your unique case. You may be able to get an extension for up to 3 more months if your case is severe.

Example: A Veteran had a left knee injury that resulted in a 30% disability rating. As the knee problem got worse, the Veteran’s VA doctor recommended surgery to stop more damage from happening. Since the doctor wouldn’t know if the surgery was successful until 3 months after the Veteran’s 1-week stay in the hospital, we granted the Veteran a temporary 100% disability rating for 3 months.