Table of Contents
- List Of Conditions Eligible For VA Disability Claims
- Hearing Loss
- Limitation of Flexion of the Knee
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Lumbosacral and Cervical Strain
- Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve
- Limitation of Motion in the Ankle
- Limitation of Motion of the Arm
- Sleep Apnea
- Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)
- Respiratory Conditions
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Pes Planus (Flat Feet)
- Secondary Conditions for Service Connection
The events during military service often result in veterans experiencing certain medical conditions at a higher rate than their civilian counterparts due to certain events that occurred during that service. The Department of Veterans Affairs publishes an Annual Benefits Report each year, describing the most common disabilities among veterans attributed to the military during that fiscal year.
List Of Conditions Eligible For VA Disability Claims
We have compiled a VA disability claims list for which VA disability benefits are available. The following are the top 20 VA disability claims according to the VA's 2021 Annual Benefits Report.
In general, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing noises or ringing in the ears. The symptoms of it can indicate a more serious underlying condition, such as a hearing problem, an ear injury, or a problem with the circulatory system.
It is common for people with tinnitus to experience phantom sounds in their ears, such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, and humming as well as other symptoms.
Veterans don't need to have a specific diagnosis of tinnitus to be granted service connection benefits. It is often sufficient for them to provide a subjective report of their symptoms to demonstrate that they meet the criteria for rating.
The VA rates tinnitus under 38 CFR 4.87, Diagnostic Code 6260. There is a maximum scheduled rating of 10 percent for people with tinnitus, which also considers both ears. There is little chance that a veteran will receive a higher rating after an extra-schedule evaluation.
It involves muffled speech, difficulty understanding words, and difficulty hearing consonants. A person with hearing loss frequently asks others to speak more slowly, clearly, and loudly, withdraws from conversations, and avoids certain social situations. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and daily functioning.
There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive (involving the outer or middle ear), sensorineural (involving the inner ear), and mixed (combining the two). In addition to hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear and earwax buildup, ear infection and ruptured eardrums are other common causes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, veteran hearing impairment is 30 percent more common than non-veteran. To confirm a diagnosis of hearing loss, VA requires the following two auditory tests:
- Speech discrimination (Maryland CNC Test)
- Pure tone threshold (Puretone Audiometric Test)
Most veterans receive between 0 and 10 percent; however, ratings can range from 0 to 100 percent.
Limitation of Flexion of the Knee
Veterans with limited flexion of their knees have a limited range of motion as they move their knees or curl them inward.
As a general rule, the VA rated this condition as a musculoskeletal condition based on how the veteran's knee moves in that direction when they move their knee in that direction. Rather than the pain, the movement causes, VA looks at the degree of range of motion of a patient.
The imitation of knee flexion gets a rating of 0, 10, 20, or 30% under 38 CFR 4.71a, Diagnostic Code 5260. Generally, VA assigns a 10 percent rating to this condition as the most common rating.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
As a mental health issue, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) refers to a reaction that occurs after a distressing, shocking, or otherwise traumatic event. People with PTSD can experience the following symptoms varyingly based on severity and symptoms.
- A recurring recollection of the trauma, flashbacks, and nightmares recalling the trauma in an intrusive, distressing manner
- The feeling of emotional numbness and the avoidance of places, situations, and activities that remind one of the traumas and their aftermath
- A greater degree of arousal, such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated or angry
Veterans who believe a service-connected stressor causes their PTSD must verify a service-connected stressor. There must also be evidence to support this claim, such as lay statements that provide specific details.
PTSD is included in the Schedule of Ratings for Mental Disorders, 38 CFR 4.130, Diagnostic Code 9411, in which the VA rates it at a 0, 30, 50, 70, or 100% rating.
Lumbosacral and Cervical Strain
The back pain experienced by veterans is due to many different conditions, such as lumbosacral and cervical strains, which can result in back pain. When a veteran goes to a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam, a goniometer measures how far they can bend forward, backward, and side to side.
To determine the severity of a veteran's back condition, VA uses the range of motion measurements provided by the doctor who examines the veteran.
VA rates back conditions, including lumbar and cervical strains, under the 38 CFR section 4.71a Schedule of Ratings, Musculoskeletal System. Whether a veteran is provided with disability benefits is mainly based on their mobility level. There is a range of 0 to 100 percent for each rating.
The veteran may qualify for service connection benefits if they have been injured during military service or if a service-connected condition has caused the veteran to require surgery due to the injury or condition.
Regarding scar disabilities, two types of these service-connected disabilities are classified under 38 CFR §4.118, Diagnostic Codes 7800-7805. An individual is rated based on the number of scars or disfigurements, the area on their affected body, the permanence of those scars, and if they are in pain or unstable.
As a way of rating scars on the head, face, and neck, it is determined how much skin has been lost and how many facial features have been disfigured by the scarring. When the scar is not on the head, face, or neck, the scar rating is usually based on the scar's size rather than the scar's location.
Based on the diagnostic code, scars may be assigned a percentage ranging from 0 to 80 percent based on the number of scars.
Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve
Sciatica is a condition associated with the sciatic nerve, where pain radiates along its path from the lower back to the legs along the path of the nerve. This condition occurs when there is compression or pinching of the sciatic nerve.
Numerous symptoms are associated with sciatica, such as numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and muscle weakness. The most severe form of sciatica, paralysis of the sciatic nerve, is very common among veterans, particularly those with back and neck injuries.
Sciatica is rated under 38 CFR 4.124a, Schedule of Ratings on Neurological Conditions, and Convulsive Disorders. Diagnostic Code 8520 specifies the degree of paralysis of the sciatic nerve as 10, 20, 40, 60, or 80 percent.
Limitation of Motion in the Ankle
In the case of an ankle sprain that has not healed adequately or has not been fully rehabilitated, limited ankle motion usually develops. Injuries to the ankle are common among veterans due to the physical demands of military training and service.
There is usually a 10 or 20 percent limitation of ankle motion as per 38 CFR 4.71, Schedule of Ratings, Musculoskeletal System, Diagnostic Code 5271.
The symptoms of migraine headaches include recurring, intense, frequent headaches that can be extremely debilitating. There are a variety of symptoms, including pain, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Exposure to noise, intense situations, and traumatic brain injuries may contribute to veterans' higher prevalence of migraines.
Symptoms of migraine headache are classified under 38 CFR 4.124a, Neurological Condition,s and Convulsive Disorders, Diagnostic Code 8100. Based on the severity of symptoms and frequency, migraines are graded as 0, 10, 30, or 50%.
Limitation of Motion of the Arm
An arm or shoulder injury that does not heal fully or has not been adequately rehabilitated may cause a limitation of arm motion due to inadequate healing or rehabilitation. As a result of repeated injuries, instability in the shoulder or arm will increase, and range of motion may be limited.
The following factors commonly cause arm conditions:
- The lifting of heavy objects
- Various types of physical training
- Muscles that have been scarred
- An accident, fall, or impact
The VA's policy is to rate restrictions on arm movement based on 38 CFR 4.71a, Diagnostic Code 5201, as either a 20, 30, or 40% restriction. VA needs to consider whether the veteran's dominant or non-dominant arm is affected and the severity of its limitation concerning their life.
An individual with sleep apnea repeatedly stops breathing during the night, which can be a serious sleep disorder. The three types are as follows:
- During sleep, the throat muscles periodically relax and block the airway, causing obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send suitable signals to the breathing muscles.
- Having both central and obstructive sleep apnea is known as complex sleep apnea (mixed).
Depending on the severity of the condition, doctors may recommend losing weight or quitting smoking for mild sleep apnea. Patients with serious respiratory conditions may be prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
Sleep studies are required to confirm sleep apnea diagnosis for VA disability compensation purposes. A person with sleep apnea has an assessment of 0, 30, 50, or 100% under 38 CFR 4.97, Diagnostic Code 6847, based on the severity of the condition.
Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine
As time passes, the cartilage between joints erodes, causing joint stiffness, limited mobility, and pain, and is often referred to as degenerative arthritis. Usually, this forms in weight-bearing joints, such as the back, hips, or knees, where there is a lot of weight-bearing activity.
A diagnosis of degenerative arthritis is based on the result of a 10 percent or 20 percent limitation of the range of motion of the affected joint(s) under 38 CFR 4.71a, depending upon the extent of the limitation.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
An object penetrating the brain or a blow to the head can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can lead to brain dysfunction. Accidents in motor vehicles and combat exposure are some of the more common causes of this disease.
A TBI can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty following directions, headaches, and personality changes that can cause various symptoms. Per 38 CFR 4.124a, the VA rates TBIs according to the residual symptoms a veteran is experiencing as a direct result of their injury.
There are ten subcategories of criteria for evaluating residual effects of a traumatic brain injury, based on the severity and level of impairment in each area of the residual effects of the traumatic brain injury. There is a range of ratings from 0 to 100 out of 100.
Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)
People who suffer from depression experience changes in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is common for people suffering from depression to feel sad, worthless, and hopeless, to lack motivation or interest, to have sleep and concentration problems, to change their appetite, and to feel fatigued.
The severity of depression symptoms is rated from 0 to 100 percent under 28 CFR 4.0130, based on social and vocational impairment.
Airborne hazards such as burn pits, Agent Orange, and other airborne hazards during service lead to respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and respiratory cancers.
In certain respiratory conditions, veterans who meet certain eligibility criteria may qualify for VA presumptive service connections (e.g., Agent Orange presumptions or new particulate matter presumptions).
According to the VA rating system, respiratory conditions are rated according to 38 CFR § 4.97. According to the code used for the diagnosis, there is a wide range of possible ratings for each respiratory condition.
In Diagnostic Code 6602, for example, asthma is rated on a scale from 0 to 100 percent, depending on the severity. A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is assigned a 10% or 30% rating under Diagnostic Code 6522.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
A person with type 2 diabetes experiences increased blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance or deficiency. Agent Orange or other herbicide exposure is associated with diabetes mellitus type 2.
According to 38 CFR 4.119, Diagnostic Code 7913, diabetes type 2 is classified as 10, 20, 40, 60, or 100%, depending on the severity of the condition.
Veterans in the military may develop lung, prostate, brain, leukemia, and other types of cancers due to their service.
Among veterans' the most common cause of cancer is exposure to toxic chemicals during service. If a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War Era, they could be eligible for presumptive service connection per the guidelines. According to 38 CFR section 3.309 of the VA regulations, those cancers listed below as presumptive conditions of Agent Orange service connection are included within the criteria for presumptive service connection:
- Chronic B-cell leukemia
- Soft-tissue sarcoma
- Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
VA should automatically assign a 100 percent disability rating if a veteran is service-connected for active cancer. After the cancer treatment program has been completed (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation, surgery), this rating continues for another six months.
VA then schedules a C&P exam to assess the current state of their condition. In the event of remission, VA assesses the residuals of cancer and awards a disability rating as a result. As for residuals, there are 0 to 100 percent ratings.
Pes Planus (Flat Feet)
Pes planus, or flat feet, as it is known in the medical community, is a common foot deformity in which the arch of the foot becomes flattened until it touches, or nears, the ground as a result of the deformity.
As a rule, people with flat feet typically do not experience serious symptoms or require treatment, as most don't experience serious symptoms. In some cases, those with the most severe form of the disease may experience symptoms such as:
- A tendency for feet to tire easily
- Heels and arches ache or hurt
- The swelling of the foot
- Standing on your toes is difficult because of the struggle of certain foot movements.
- Pain in the legs and back
According to Section 4.71a of 38 CFR, diagnosis code 5276 is assigned a percentage of 0, 10, 20, or 50 percent.
Moreover, anxiety is a mental health condition defined as experiencing a persistent and intense feeling of worry and fear in response to everyday situations. This condition can cause various symptoms, such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, trouble sleeping, and more.
A rating of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100 percent is determined based on the level of social and occupational impairment that accompanies the disorder under the General Rating Formula for Mental Health Disorders, 38 CFR 4.130.
Secondary Conditions for Service Connection
Many veterans are service-connected on a secondary basis for conditions caused by already service-connected conditions.
Several secondary conditions can be associated with a primary condition. Several secondary conditions are common:
- Pain from the back can lead to radiculopathy
- Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus
- A secondary effect of PTSD is hypertension
- As a result of Parkinson's disease or cancer, you may experience depression
We hope this VA disability conditions list helped determine your disability, and if you want to learn more about VA disability percentages for conditions, visit DisabilityHelp.org.
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