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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 a surgery or other treatment performed 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, you may be able to get disability benefits if:

  • 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, such as:
    • 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, you may still be able to get disability benefits if you had 1 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 further damage. Since the success of the surgery wouldn’t be known for 3 months after the Veteran’s 1-week stay in the hospital, we granted the Veteran a temporary 100% disability rating for 3 months.