hello world!

The VA Diabetes Rating Chart Explained

Last updated: March 10, 2024

Diabetes, a condition that affects millions worldwide, has a significant impact on the veteran community. With the VA Diabetes Rating Chart serving as a pivotal tool for veterans seeking compensation, understanding its nuances becomes essential. 

This guide delves into the intricacies of the chart, the types of diabetes, their symptoms, and the VA's diagnostic process, ensuring veterans are well-informed and equipped to navigate their healthcare journey.

Overview Of VA Diabetes Rating Chart

Veterans are at a heightened risk for type 2 diabetes, with statistics showing that as many as one in four veterans are affected by the disease. If you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during or after your service, you might be eligible for compensation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers benefits for veterans who have developed conditions directly related to their time in service. VA ratings for diabetes vary from 10% to 100%, and these ratings consider several factors:

  • The treatment required.

  • In-person care, such as hospitalizations.

  • Additional health complications.

The rating you receive determines your monthly compensation. For instance, a rating of 100% might be given to those who require daily insulin injections, have a restricted diet, and need regular hospitalizations or weekly visits to a diabetic care provider.

Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes, a chronic condition affecting millions worldwide, is categorized primarily into two types. Understanding these types is essential for both diagnosis and treatment. Let's explore the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

The article does not provide specific information on Type 1 Diabetes in the context of VA ratings. However, it's worth noting that Type 1 Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce insulin. It is typically diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Veterans are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than the general population due to factors like combat injuries, exposure to herbicides, and mental illnesses. Physical disabilities, chronic pain, mental illnesses like PTSD, and exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange during the Vietnam War can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes in veterans.

Veterans who have type 2 diabetes due to their service might be eligible for VA benefits. However, they must provide evidence linking their service to the condition. For instance, veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may be eligible for compensation under the VA’s presumptive condition policy.

Symptoms Of Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the blood sugar elevation. While some individuals, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, might not exhibit symptoms, those with type 1 diabetes often experience symptoms that manifest quickly and are more severe.

High Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, is a hallmark symptom of diabetes. When there's an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, it can lead to various health complications. Some of the indicators of high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling unusually thirsty.

  • Fatigue and weakness.

  • Irritability and mood changes.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Presence of ketones in the urine, which are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat when there's insufficient insulin.

  • Slow-healing sores.

  • Frequent infections, such as gum, skin, and vaginal infections.

Urinating Frequently

One of the common symptoms of diabetes is frequent urination. When there's too much sugar in the bloodstream, the kidneys work overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. When they can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into the urine, leading to increased urination. This can also lead to increased thirst as the body tries to replenish the lost fluids.

Thirst And Hunger

Increased thirst and hunger are also common symptoms of diabetes. The frequent urination caused by high blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration, causing an individual to feel thirsty. Additionally, because the body isn't effectively converting food into energy due to a lack of insulin or insulin resistance, there's an increased feeling of hunger as the body seeks more fuel.

Blurry Vision

Blurry vision is one of the symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. When there's an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, it can pull fluid from the tissues, including the lenses of the eyes. This can affect the ability to focus and result in blurred vision. Over time, diabetes can cause new blood vessels to form in the retina, the back part of the eye, and can also damage established vessels. If these changes progress untreated, they can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Fatigue And Weakness

Feeling tired and weak is a common symptom of diabetes. When cells are deprived of sugar, they lack the energy they need to function properly. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and weakness. Additionally, high blood sugar can also impair blood circulation, leading to fatigue and a lack of energy. Moreover, the body's constant need to urinate to expel excess sugar can also lead to a loss of fluids and dehydration, further contributing to feelings of fatigue.

Slow-Healing Sores Or Cuts

Slow-healing sores or cuts are another symptom of diabetes. High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation, leading to a reduced blood supply to the affected area, which can slow down the healing process. Additionally, diabetes can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections that could affect wounds. 

This combination of reduced blood flow and a weakened immune system can result in sores or cuts that take much longer to heal than they would in someone without diabetes.

Diagnosing Diabetes With The VA Rating Chart

For veterans, the process of diagnosing diabetes goes beyond medical tests. The VA Rating Chart plays a pivotal role in determining the severity of the condition and the subsequent benefits a veteran is entitled to. Let's understand how the VA uses this chart in the diagnosis process.

Understanding The Rating Criteria And Regulations For Service-Connected Disabilities

Diabetes Mellitus is a prevalent condition among the veteran population, especially those from the Vietnam Era. Establishing a service connection for diabetes can be challenging, especially if a significant amount of time has passed since one's military service. The VA's rating system for diabetes mellitus is designed to help veterans understand their eligibility for compensation based on the severity of their condition.


The VA uses the 38 CFR 4.119, Diagnostic Code 7913 for diabetes mellitus type 2. The possible ratings assigned are 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, or 100%. The rating is crucial as it determines the disability compensation a veteran is entitled to from the VA, as well as the healthcare provided.

Completing The VA Disability Application Process For Diabetes

Once the VA determines that a veteran's diabetes mellitus condition is service-connected, they refer to the rating schedule to decide the compensation level. The rating schedule for diabetes is Diagnostic Code (DC) 7913, which breaks down the ratings into five levels:

  • 10% VA Disability Rating For Diabetes Type 2 – Level 1: This rating is for veterans diagnosed with diabetes mellitus who have been advised by their doctor to monitor their blood sugar and diet. They may not require insulin injections but might experience some blood pressure fluctuations.

  • 20% VA Disability Rating For Diabetes Type 2 – Level 2: If a doctor prescribes diabetic medication in addition to a restricted diet, the VA will grant an increase to 20%.

  • 40% VA Disability Rating For Diabetes Type 2 – Level 3: At this rating, the veteran's diabetes condition has significantly worsened. They might be on stronger therapies and may need to supplement with insulin.

  • 60% VA Disability Rating For Diabetes Type 2 – Level 4: This rating is for veterans whose diabetes condition is severe, requiring frequent insulin injections, a restricted diet, and regulation of activities. They might also experience episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions.

  • 100% VA Disability Rating For Diabetes Type 2: This is the highest rating and is given to veterans who require frequent insulin injections, have a restricted diet, need to regulate their physical activity, have been hospitalized multiple times a year, and are experiencing progressive weight loss or strength reduction.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the VA diabetes rating chart here.

What is the VA Diabetes Rating Chart?

The VA Diabetes Rating Chart is a system used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine the level of disability and compensation for veterans diagnosed with diabetes based on the severity of their condition.

How is Type 1 diabetes different from Type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body cannot produce insulin, while Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to it.

Are all veterans eligible for compensation for diabetes?

Not all veterans are automatically eligible. They must provide evidence linking their service to the condition, especially if they believe it's a result of exposures or experiences during their military service.

What are the common symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, blurry vision, fatigue, and slow-healing sores or cuts.

How does the VA determine the percentage of disability for diabetes?

The VA uses the Diabetes Rating Chart, which considers factors like treatment required, additional health complications, and the overall impact on the veteran's daily life.

Can a veteran's diabetes rating be changed over time?

Yes, if a veteran's condition worsens or improves, they can request a re-evaluation, and the VA might adjust the rating accordingly.

Understanding Your VA Diabetes Rating

Diabetes is a condition that demands attention, understanding, and proper management, especially within the veteran community. The VA Diabetes Rating Chart guides veterans toward the compensation they deserve. By staying informed and proactive, veterans can ensure they receive the care and support they've earned. Always consult with healthcare professionals and VA representatives to address individual concerns and get the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Find out how to increase your VA Disability Rating by checking out our detailed guide. Visit Disability Help and browse through the available resources to learn more.

Do You Qualify?
Disability Evaluation
Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
Do You Qualify?
Disability Evaluation

Comments are closed.

17595 Harvard Ave. C2480-C Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 979-6850
© 2024 Disability Help. All Rights Reserved.
DMCA.com Protection Status
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram