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What Are The Common VA Disability Percentages For Conditions?

A rating process is in place for service-connected medical issues, disabilities, and diseases at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is the VA's responsibility to evaluate a veteran's claim for these issues and to assign a disability percentage rating.

Those who must navigate the system are familiar with all of these steps. Is there anything not so well understood? Identify the most common VA disability percentages for conditions and how they affect the veteran once identified.

Why do veterans need to know the standard VA disability percentages for conditions?

When you have your symptoms, experiences, and other issues put into perspective, you may not initially think you are suffering from a physical or mental disorder.

Hearing loss is one of the more common claims, and you may not even be aware you've been impacted.

Nonetheless, any military career field that involves working around active runways, constantly turning engines, gunfire, ordnance, or even air conditioning and heating work can cause long-term hearing damage. This is just one example of how you'll benefit from familiarizing yourself with this list of common issues.

Different VA Disability Percentages For Conditions

According to the VA’s Annual Report on Disability Compensation, the following are the common VA disabilities and their percentages.

Tinnitus

Most ear-related disabilities are caused by tinnitus. This claim cannot be made based on a doctor's diagnosis. If you have hearing loss or tinnitus, the VA will evaluate them independently, but they will be taken into account during the claim review process.

Those with tinnitus hear ringing, hissing, buzzing, or other types of noise in one or both ears. Subjective Tinnitus is ringing in the ears that is not caused by external sounds, and no one else can hear it. It is classified as a recurrent condition under the Diagnostic Code (DC) 6260 outlined in CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

A 10% VA rating is the only one available for Tinnitus. Ratings don't differ based on their level. If you have hearing loss, you may receive a 0% hearing loss rating. It depends on the nature of your claim, your circumstances, etc. No matter what, always tell the VA about your hearing problems as part of your claim.

Hearing Loss

As we age and become chronically exposed to loud noises (such as aircraft flight lines, gun ranges, and heavy equipment), our ability to hear decreases. In veterans, there are three kinds of hearing loss:

  • The outer or middle ear is involved in conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear
  • A combination of the two

Under Section 3, CFR Title 38, Part 4, DC 6100, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Hearing Loss is classified as a disability. A VA rating for hearing loss ranges from zero percent to one hundred percent, with breaks at 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent, and 90 percent.

However, most veterans have a VA rating of 0 percent. Hearing loss can be categorized by a scheduler as 100 percent, which indicates that both ears are deaf. It is difficult to get service connected and above 0% rating for Hearing Loss if you have been out of the military for more than 12 months. To increase your chances of service-connected hearing loss, get a Medical Nexus Letter.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Veterans with PTSD are among the most commonly rated disabled. Obtaining a VA rating for this will require you to be evaluated by a VA provider. A service-related trauma evaluation aims to establish the severity of the trauma and whether it was service-related.

Traumatic experiences cause PTSD. Trauma that leads to PTSD does not have to be experienced by combat veterans. PTSD can be triggered by a number of stressors (including sexual assault) or your life or the life of a loved one being in danger. In addition to flashbacks and nightmares, PTSD is characterized by severe anxiety and depression.

It is rated as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, DC 9411, in CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The VA's Disability Rating System for PTSD has breaks of 10 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, and 70 percent. PTSD receives an average rating of 70% from the VA. It is possible to get a 100% scheduler rating for PTSD.

Limitation of Flexion, Knee Pain

Knee pain and limited knee flexion are common VA disabilities affecting veterans of all ages. The cause of knee pain can be an injury, such as a torn cartilage or ruptured ligament. Besides arthritis and gout, knee pain can also result from infections and other medical conditions.

As part of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities in CFR Title 38, Part 4, Knee Impairment, the VA rates knee conditions under DC 5257, Knee Impairment. Depending on the condition, the VA will give a rating ranging from 0% to 100% with an interim break of 10% to 20%. Symptoms of limitation of knee flexion include recurrent subluxation, ligament tear, or instability when the schedular rating is 30%.

Ankylosis of the knee with unfavourable symptoms is rated under DC 5256, which assigns a rating of 30%, 40%, 50%, and 60% according to symptoms and their severity.

Back and Neck Pain, Spinal Issues

A VA disability rating can be granted for a wide range of back and neck issues; the VA looks at how your issues affect your range of motion, flexibility, and other aspects of your ability to bend, sit, stand, or work. Back and/or neck pain claims are subject to a determination process to determine whether they are service-connected.

List all your military experience where you carried heavy objects, worked in positions that weren't ergonomically sound, walked and ran with rucksacks and backpacks overloaded with gear, etc.

The concerns are similar when it comes to spinal problems. Veterans of all ages and genders often claim injuries from cervical strains as a VA disability. Over 90% of veterans who file claims in this area get ratings between zero and 20% from the VA, which isn't as high as some might expect. If the issue is severe and of a nature that warrants a higher rating, it may be given a higher rating.

Sciatica

One of the most frequently claimed VA disabilities is sciatica (paralysis of the sciatic nerve). In sciatica, your lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs are affected by pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve.

Herniated disks, bone spurs, and narrowed spines (spinal stenosis) contribute to sciatica. As a result, the affected leg becomes inflamed, painful, and numb.

A patient who suffers from sciatica is rated at DC 8520, Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve, under Section 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Generally, the VA rating for sciatica ranges from 10% to 80%, with breaks at 20%, 40%, and 60%. The maximum scheduler rating for sciatica is 80%, which includes complete paralysis of the sciatic nerve, foot dangling and dipping, and muscle weakness below the knee.

Applying for cash benefits from Social Security can seem overwhelming for some people. Check out our guide on how to increase your VA disability rating. To help you prepare for VA disability claims, make sure you do your research as well. Visit the Disability Help blog for more information.

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.
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