VA Disability Ratings and Benefits for Asthma | CCK Law (2022)

VA Disability Ratings and Benefits for Asthma | CCK Law (1)

Asthma, also called bronchial asthma, is a respiratory condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. When the airways become inflamed and narrow, some people may cough, wheeze, or experience shortness of breath. Severity ranges from person-to-person and can be minor or very severe.

How Do I Get Service Connected for Asthma?

In most cases, veterans seekingservice connectionfor asthma must show three things:

  1. A current medical diagnosis for asthma from a qualified professional;
  2. An in-service event, injury, or symptom; and
  3. A medical “nexus,” or link, between their asthma diagnosis and the in-service occurrence.

Compensation & Pension Exams for Asthma

Once a veteran files a claim for their asthma, VA may request a Compensation and Pension exam, or. Veterans should make sure VA has their updated contact information, or else VA may not be able to contact you about your exam. It is also important to attend the exam, as failure to attend can result in VA denying your claim.

The exam will usually be performed by a VA physician or a VA contracted physician. Before the exam, the examiner should review the veteran’s c-file, which contains any documentation that has been previously submitted to VA, as well as the veteran’s medical and service records.

(Video) Asthma VA Disability Claims and Ratings

The veteran may also use a DBQ, orDisability Benefits Questionnaire, to bolster their claim. A Disability Benefits Questionnaire is a form created by VA that allows the veteran to address important aspects of their condition, such as symptoms, severity, and possible causes, as well as the relationship between their condition and other disabilities. The veteran may also have their private doctor fill out a DBQ for them. This can be helpful, as the doctor who typically treats the veteran’s asthma can speak to specific ways the condition impacts the veteran’s life.

How Does VA Rate Asthma?

VA disability ratings are meant to compensate veterans for the loss of earning capacity due to their service-connected condition. VArates asthma based off the following:

  • Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV-1): FEV-1 is the amount of air you can exhale forcefully in one second. VA compares this against what a normal person would be able to breathe out and measures it as a percentage.
  • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC): VA compares a veteran’s FEV-1 results with their FVC in a FEV-1/FVC ratio. The ratio is meant to represent the proportion of a person’s vital capacity that they can expel in the first second of a forceful exhale. Vital capacity is the maximum amount of air that a person can inhale or exhale from the lung.

VA looks at additional information to determine severity depending on the rating. Importantly, VA will base the ratings on findings during an asthma attack. If a veteran is not having an attack during a VA examination, there must be a history of attacks in the record for the VA to consider. VA rates asthma under 38 C.F.R. 4.97, diagnostic code 6602. Ratings range from 0 percent to 100 percent.

Asthma Ratings

For the 10 percent rating, a veteran must show one of the following:

  • FEV-1 of 71 to 80% predicted;
  • FEV-1/FVC of 71 to 80%;
  • Intermittent inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy.

For the 30 percent rating, a veteran must have:

(Video) VA Disability Benefits for Respiratory Conditions

  • FEV-1 of 56 to 70% predicted; or
  • FEV-1/FVC of 56 to 70%; or
  • Daily inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy; or
  • Inhalational anti-inflammatory medication.

To qualify for the 60 percent rating, a veteran must have:

  • FEV-1 of 40 to 55% predicted; or
  • FEV-1/FVC of 40 to 55%; or
  • At least monthly visits to a physician for required care of exacerbations; or
  • Intermittent (at least three per year) courses of systemic (oral or parenteral) corticosteroids.

Finally, the 100 percent rating requires that a veteran show:

  • FEV-1 less than 40% predicted; or
  • FEV-1/FVC less than 40%; or
  • More than one attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure; or
  • Require daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications.

TDIU and Asthma

Veterans who are prevented from working because of their asthma, or symptoms of their asthma, may be able to receive a monthly VA disability benefit called total disability based on individual unemployability, or TDIU. This benefit compensates veterans at the 100 percent rating level, even if their disability rating may be less than that.

(Video) VA Rating for Asthma: An Overview and Guide

There are generally two pathways to become eligible for TDIU:

  • 38 CFR § 4.16a (“Schedular”) – For this form of TDIU, the veteran must have:
    • One condition rated at minimum 60 percent OR two conditions that can be combined to reach 70 percent, where one condition is at minimum 40 percent
  • 38 CFR § 4.16b (“Extraschedular”) – This form of TDIU is for veterans who may not be able to meet the criteria for schedular TDIU but are still unable to obtain substantially gainful employment due to their condition(s). In this instance, the veteran must prove that their condition uniquely hinders their ability to obtain substantially gainful employment and therefore should not be rated on the standard disability rating criteria.

Veterans with multiple conditions may have a combined rating which would make them eligible for TDIU. As a result, veterans who receive a rating for their asthma may be able to receive compensation at the 100 percent rating level through TIDU.

Burn Pit Exposure and Asthma

What are Burn Pits?

Open-air burn pitsare large areas of land that were used as a means of waste disposal on American bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti after September 11, 2001. The practice was effective in reducing large quantities of waste, but the pits emitted plumes of toxic smoke. The following materials have been linked to military burn pits:

  • Human waste
  • Medical waste
  • Ammunition
  • Paint
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Styrofoam
  • Other toxic chemicals
  • Spoiled food
  • Lubricants
  • Petroleum

As these materials were burned, harmful chemicals and toxic fumes were released into the atmosphere. As such, many veterans ofOperation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)have developed health conditions from hazardous exposures caused by the burn pits.

What Conditions Have Been Linked to Burn Pit Exposure?

Burning hazardous materials and chemicals in open-air pits emits toxic substances and carcinogens that can cause a host of diseases, some severe and even deadly.

(Video) New VA Disability Presumptive Conditions for Asthma, Rhinitis & Sinusitis | VA Benefits | theSITREP

Respiratory conditions, such as asthma, have been linked to burn pit exposure. Many veterans who served in areas affected by burn pits have gone on to develop asthma after their service.

In addition to asthma, the following symptoms or conditions have been linked to military burn pit exposure:

  • Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • AL Amyloidosis
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Gallbladder condition
  • B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Bronchial Problems
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic B-Cell Leukemias
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Constrictive Bronchiolitis
  • COPD (need to know if the Veteran did/does smokes, and for how long)
  • Diabetes Mellitus II
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Glioblastoma Multiform, and other brain cancers
  • Hashmimoto Syndrome (Thyroiditis)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hypertension
  • Intestinal Cancers
  • Ischemic Heart Disease (AKA Coronary Artery Disease)
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung Cancer, and other respiratory cancers such as cancer of the pharynx, larynx, etc.
  • Lung Condition
  • Lupus
  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphomas
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Myelodysplasia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Non-Ischemic Cardiomyopathy
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s-like Syndromes, including Parkinsonism
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Poryphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Psoriasis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Pulmonary Condition
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Reactive Airway Syndrome
  • Renal Cancer
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Respiratory Condition
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Scheuermann Syndrome
  • Sinusitis
  • Sjorgen Syndrome (chronic autoimmune disease affecting salivary glands and tear glands)
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Small Cell Carcinoma
  • Soft Tissue Carcinoma
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas
  • Spinal Nerve Issues
  • Stroke
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Tonsil Cancer
  • Trachea Cancer

This list, however, is not exhaustive, and there are many other conditions from which veterans may suffer as a result of military burn pit exposure. If you developed asthma or any of the above listed conditions as a result of burn pit exposure during your military service, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.

New Particulate Matter Presumption

Importantly, VA recently announced that as of August 2, 2021, it will begin processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis on a presumptive basis based on presumed particulate matter exposures. Veterans will only be eligible for this presumption if they meet certain criteria, including service in Southwest Asia and other specified areas and manifestation of asthma, rhinitis, or sinusitis within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service. Many veterans exposed to burn pits during their service and developed one of these three conditions may be able to seek service connection under this new presumption.

This change in VA’s adjudication policy impacts veterans who served in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, or Djibouti between September 19, 2001 and the present day. It also encompasses veterans who served between August 2, 1990 and the present in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. The Southwest Asia theater of operations refers to the following areas:

(Video) 4 Best Ways to 100% VA Disability Rating

  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Oman
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Persian Gulf
  • Arabian Sea
  • Red Sea
  • The airspace above all these locations

New Proposed Burn Pit Legislation 2021

As of 2021, there are several major bills currently pending in Congress that deal with the toxic exposure caused by burn pits. These bills include:

  • Conceding Our Veterans’ Exposure Now and Necessitating Training Act (COVENANT)
  • Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2021
  • Veterans Burn Pit Exposure Recognition Act
  • Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act (TEAM)

Any of these bills, if passed, would offer much needed relief to veterans suffering the toxic effects of burn pit exposure. Specifically, the COVENANT Act would create several presumptive conditions, including asthma, that developed after service due to toxic exposure.

Was your VA Disability Claim for Asthma Denied?

If your VA disability claim for asthma has been denied, do not give up the fight. Many veterans are denied at least once before being awarded the benefits to which they are entitled. CCK’s accredited VA disability attorneys may be able to help with your asthma disability claim. Contact our office for a free consultation today at (800) 544-9144.

FAQs

How do you get service connected for asthma? ›

In most cases, veterans seeking service connection for asthma must show three things: A current medical diagnosis for asthma from a qualified professional; An in-service event, injury, or symptom; and. A medical “nexus,” or link, between their asthma diagnosis and the in-service occurrence.

What conditions are secondary to asthma? ›

Many people with asthma may also have one or some of these conditions.
  • Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) ...
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ...
  • Food-Induced Anaphylaxis. ...
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) ...
  • Nasal Polyps. ...
  • Obesity. ...
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea. ...
  • Pregnancy.

Is asthma an Agent Orange presumptive? ›

The Secretary has not specifically determined that a presumption of service connection for an asthma condition is warranted for Agent Orange exposed veterans, and, thus, such a presumption is not warranted.

How do you prove asthma disability? ›

Up-to-date medical records that include statements from your doctor(s) that support your claim are critical to proving your case. Your medical records should contain documentation of each of your asthma attacks that sent you to the hospital or required emergency treatment.

What are the 3 types of asthma? ›

Types of asthma
  • Difficult to control asthma.
  • Severe asthma.
  • Occupational asthma.

What benefits can I get if I have asthma? ›

Your Asthma Disability Case

If you are disabled because of Asthma that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income(SSI) benefits.

Can you be rated for asthma and sleep apnea? ›

§ 4.96, a separate rating can be assigned for asthma even when the veteran is receiving compensation for sleep apnea. While these respiratory conditions each impair his ability to breathe, each condition has distinct and separate symptomatology.

What causes asthma in the military? ›

Characteristic triggers of asthma are irritanttype airway exposures, including cold air, exercise, various environmental allergens, and work-related exposures.

What is forbidden in asthma? ›

Avoid sulfites.

Sulfites can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Used as a preservative, sulfites can be found in wine, dried fruits, pickles, fresh and frozen shrimp, and some other foods.

What are the 4 types of asthma triggers? ›

The most common asthma triggers include:
  • Allergies (Allergic Asthma) Substances that cause allergies (allergens) can trigger asthma. ...
  • Irritants in the Air. Irritants in the environment can also bring on an asthma episode. ...
  • Other Health Conditions. ...
  • Exercise. ...
  • Weather. ...
  • Feeling and Expressing Strong Emotions. ...
  • Medicines.

What are the 17 diseases linked to Agent Orange? ›

What are the health effects of Agent Orange exposure?
  • Chronic B-Cell Leukemia.
  • Hodgkin's disease.
  • Multiple Myeloma.
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Prostate cancer.
  • Respiratory Cancers.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Ischemic heart disease.
2 Jan 2022

What is the investigative procedure for asthma? ›

The main tests used to help diagnose asthma are: FeNO test – you breathe into a machine that measures the level of nitric oxide in your breath, which is a sign of inflammation in your lungs. spirometry – you blow into a machine that measures how fast you can breathe out and how much air you can hold in your lungs.

Can the VA deny a presumptive condition? ›

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has strict rules in place that limit benefits to service-related conditions. Any disabilities must have a clear in-service connection, or else the VA will deny the claim.

Is it hard to get disability for asthma? ›

In order to qualify for disability benefits for your asthma, you must suffer from a very severe form of the disorder. When it comes to respiratory conditions, only the most severe cases usually qualify for disability benefits.

Can asthma cause back and shoulder pain? ›

Asthma can cause some people to feel pain in the shoulders, neck, and lower back. You might feel sore, achy, or stiff. Your pain might be worse following an asthma attack. When you have back pain related to asthma, you might also experience symptoms such as chest pain, acid reflux, and fatigue.

Is asthma a chronic lung disease? ›

Types of chronic lung disease include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, pneumonitis, and other lung conditions.

What is the most serious type of asthma? ›

Severe asthma is the most serious and life-threatening form of asthma. Most people with asthma can manage their symptoms well with the usual medicines like a preventer inhaler and a reliever inhaler. But someone with severe asthma struggles to manage their symptoms even with high doses of medicines.

Is there a difference between asthma and chronic asthma? ›

Whereas acute asthma can occur at random, chronic asthma is a long-term problem that any person could experience. A person with chronic asthma may feel regular inflammation in the airways, causing them to become narrow. Asthma attacks or flareups can occur at varying points.

Does asthma worsen with age? ›

As we get older, asthma attacks can be more severe and take longer to recover from. Talk through your asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse so you know exactly what you need to do and who you need to call when symptoms flare up.

How does low income affect asthma? ›

Rates of emergency department visits for asthma were twice as high among lower-income adults as their higher-income counterparts (18.8 percent vs. 8.8 percent). Low-income children also sought emergency treatment more frequently (23.9 percent vs. 12.5 percent).

Why does the VA combine asthma and sleep apnea? ›

Furthermore, when the throat muscles become weak due to asthma symptoms, there is a greater likelihood for the throat to collapse thereby causing obstruction of the airway. Therefore, asthma may be directly related to sleep apnea.

What is the average disability rating for sleep apnea? ›

Right now, service-connected sleep apnea is assigned a 50 percent rating if you are prescribed a CPAP machine. If you have a CPAP and you also have chronic respiratory failure or similar conditions, you can get a 100 percent rating.

Is a CPAP machine good for asthma? ›

It is well known that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most effective treatment for OSA 13. It has also been reported to be effective in reducing nocturnal asthma attacks in asthmatic and apnoeic patients 14–16.

Is sleep apnea a secondary condition to asthma? ›

As you do so, keep in mind that sleep apnea is considered a secondary condition to asthma. As mentioned before, this is because people suffering from asthma will often develop new-onset sleep apnea symptoms, meaning that if the two are linked, asthma is the primary condition.

Does the military test for asthma? ›

Asthma can be a disqualifying condition that prohibits military service. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to obtain a waiver that can allow you to join. This can involve passing one or more tests of respiratory strength, as well as completing a physical examination.

Can you use an inhaler in the military? ›

Asthma, only if requiring treatment after a recruit's 13th birthday, may disqualify an individual from serving. This is a change from the military's previous disqualification of all candidates with any history of asthma. If the individual carries an inhaler, he or she is likely to be disqualified.

What medications should be avoided with asthma? ›

Medicines Can Trigger Asthma
  • Aspirin.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) and naproxen (Aleve® or Naprosyn®)
  • Beta-blockers, which are usually used for heart conditions, high blood pressure and migraines.

What drink is good for asthma? ›

Certain herbal teas may help relieve asthma symptoms. Research suggests that ginger tea, green tea, black tea, eucalyptus tea, fennel tea, and licorice tea may reduce inflammation, relax your respiratory muscles, and boost your breathing, among other benefits.

What makes asthma worse at night? ›

The exact reason that asthma is worse during sleep are not known, but there are explanations that include increased exposure to allergens; cooling of the airways; being in a reclining position; and hormone secretions that follow a circadian pattern. Sleep itself may even cause changes in bronchial function.

Why can't asthmatics have ibuprofen? ›

Effects of ibuprofen on asthma

If a person with asthma has an allergic reaction to ibuprofen or another medicine, it can often cause wheezing or shortness of breath. Ibuprofen can also worsen asthma symptoms by causing the airways to narrow in a condition known as bronchospasm.

Is Coke good for asthma? ›

Coke is a tasty way to stop an asthma attack

Caffeine has been found to open the airways when asthmatics are wheezing or otherwise having trouble getting air. And since each 12oz can has 34mg of the hype, you have an excuse to keep chugging until you catch your second wind.

Does sugar affect asthma? ›

Asthma Triggers

Two fairly common contributing factors of asthma are sugar and gluten.

Does stress trigger asthma? ›

Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms. By properly managing stress, patients can reduce their risk of having a stress-induced asthma attack or episode. Studies show that mindful breathing and observation can reduce stress and enhance overall health.

What are 3 symptoms of asthma? ›

Asthma signs and symptoms include: Shortness of breath. Chest tightness or pain. Wheezing when exhaling, which is a common sign of asthma in children.

Why does caffeine stop asthma attacks? ›

How does caffeine help asthma? According to a study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Caffeine has a variety of pharmacological effects; it is a weak bronchodilator and it also reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. It is chemically related to the drug theophylline which is used to treat asthma.

What is the average monthly compensation for Agent Orange? ›

During its operation, the Settlement Fund distributed a total of $197 million in cash payments to members of the class in the United States. Of the 105,000 claims received by the Payment Program, approximately 52,000 Vietnam Veterans or their survivors received cash payments which averaged about $3,800 each.

Is Agent Orange a 100 disability? ›

With a proper diagnosis of respiratory cancer in a veteran with Agent Orange exposure, the VA will provide a 100% disability rating as long as the cancer is active and during treatment. This means that the veteran will receive the highest compensation that fits their eligibility bracket.

How do you prove exposure to Agent Orange? ›

Unfortunately, there's no medical test or biological feature that can show that someone was exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides, so the health exam cannot confirm that you were (or were not) exposed.

Can a chest xray show asthma? ›

Doctors use a variety of physical and imaging tests to diagnose asthma. A chest X-ray may be helpful for identifying additional conditions that might be causing or exacerbating an individual's symptoms. However, doctors cannot make an asthma diagnosis based on an X-ray alone.

What blood test shows asthma? ›

A FeNO test is most often used as a test to diagnose asthma. But it may be used in a specialist centre to monitor your severe eosinophilic asthma.

What are the four parameters to ask when assessing for asthma control? ›

There are four key symptoms that you should monitor to help you keep your asthma under control:
  • Daytime Symptoms. How often do you have asthma symptoms during the day, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
  • Nighttime Symptoms. ...
  • Quick-Relief or Rescue Inhaler Use. ...
  • Activity Level.

How do you prove asthma is service connected? ›

In most cases, veterans seeking service connection for asthma must show three things: A current medical diagnosis for asthma from a qualified professional; An in-service event, injury, or symptom; and. A medical “nexus,” or link, between their asthma diagnosis and the in-service occurrence.

What does the VA consider medical evidence? ›

Evidence ranges from statements from fellow service members, former supervisors, coworkers, friends and family to diagnosis and treatment records from private doctors or medical facilities. The VA has a duty to assist veterans in gathering the evidence required to obtain disability benefits.

Can you get VA disability without a diagnosis? ›

However, VA often overlooks the fact that you do not technically need to have a formal diagnosis. While it is certainly an easier path to service connection if you do have a diagnosis, the law states that you do not need one to be eligible for service-connected compensation.

What is the VA disability rating for breathing problems? ›

If the results are 56–70 percent, you'll likely get a rating of 30 percent. FEV-1/FVC. If the results are 71–80 percent, you'll likely get a rating of 10 percent. 15–20 ml/kg/min with the limitation caused by a respiratory or heart condition, you'll likely get a rating of 60 percent.

Can you be rated for asthma and sleep apnea? ›

§ 4.96, a separate rating can be assigned for asthma even when the veteran is receiving compensation for sleep apnea. While these respiratory conditions each impair his ability to breathe, each condition has distinct and separate symptomatology.

How do I get 100 VA disability for asthma? ›

100% — For this rating, a veteran must show a predicted FEV-1 of less than 40%; an FEV-1/FVC ratio less than 40%; more than one asthma attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure; or daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications.

How do you fail a pulmonary function test? ›

These include:
  1. Don't eat a heavy meal before the test.
  2. Avoid food or drinks with caffeine.
  3. Don't smoke or do heavy exercise for six hours before the test.
  4. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  5. If you wear dentures, you'll need to wear them during the test. They can help you form a tight seal around the mouthpiece.
9 Sept 2021

Is asthma a respiratory disability? ›

Yes. In both the ADA and Section 504, a person with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that seriously limits one or more major life activities, or who is regarded as having such impairments. Asthma and allergies are usually considered disabilities under the ADA.

Why does the VA combine asthma and sleep apnea? ›

Furthermore, when the throat muscles become weak due to asthma symptoms, there is a greater likelihood for the throat to collapse thereby causing obstruction of the airway. Therefore, asthma may be directly related to sleep apnea.

What is the average disability rating for sleep apnea? ›

Right now, service-connected sleep apnea is assigned a 50 percent rating if you are prescribed a CPAP machine. If you have a CPAP and you also have chronic respiratory failure or similar conditions, you can get a 100 percent rating.

Is a CPAP machine good for asthma? ›

It is well known that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most effective treatment for OSA 13. It has also been reported to be effective in reducing nocturnal asthma attacks in asthmatic and apnoeic patients 14–16.

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