Most Common Va Disability Claims


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Do My Dependents Qualify Me For Extra Va Disability Pay

10 Most Common VA Disabilities Among Veterans

Dependents do not qualify for VA disability payments directly however, they can increase your overall monthly VA disability payment since they are dependent on your income.

The 2023 VA disability rates factor in parents, spouses, and children that are legally considered dependents.

The 10% and 20% VA disability ratings do not offer extra compensation for dependents.

You must have a VA rating of 30% or higher to qualify for additional compensation for your dependents.

Ratings For Common Injuries And Illnesses

For every disability claim, the VA assigns a rating percentage that assesses the severity of your injury. This means that although you may have light hearing loss and receive a 10% rating for hearing loss, you may have scars that cover over 144 inches of your body, which warrants a 40% rating. Because an injury or illness may worsen over time, you can make supplemental claims as your condition deteriorates.

Its also important that you see the correct doctor to assess your condition for each claim. For example, your primary care physician will recommend that an approved mental health professional determine your rating for PTSD. A different specialist will assess your knee injury. Its important that your medical records reflect the severity of your injury or illness in order to determine your rating. Its also important so that supplemental claims can be filed over time as conditions may worsen.

At Affleck & Gordon, helping Veterans receive their disability benefits is a primary area of practice. Serving Metro Atlanta and the greater Columbus/Phenix City area, the attorneys with Affleck & Gordon care deeply for their clients and assist them with problems that may arise with their disability claim.


Paralysis Of The Sciatic Nerve

Sciatica is the #6 most often claimed and service-connected VA disability.

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine compresses part of the nerve.

This causes inflammation and pain to include some numbness in the affected leg.

The VA rates Sciatica under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, DC 8520, Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve.

VA Ratings for Sciatica fall between 10% and 80%, with breaks at 20%, 40%, and 60%.

The highest scheduler rating for Sciatica is 80%, which means you have complete paralysis of the sciatic nerve, your foot dangles and drops, you have no active movement of the muscles below the knee

What are the VA disability ratings for Sciatica?

  • 80%: Complete paralysis the foot dangles and drops, no active movement possible of muscles below the knee, flexion of knee weakened or lost
  • 60%: Incomplete paralysis, severe with marked muscular atrophy
  • 40%: Incomplete paralysis, moderately severe
  • 20%: Incomplete paralysis, moderate
  • 10%: Incomplete paralysis, mild with flexion of knee weakened or lost.

In total, 1,149,565 disabled veterans have a service-connected VA disability rating for Sciatica.

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Am I Eligible For Va Disability Benefits

Your disability must stem from an injury or illness experienced during active service. An injury or illness may have occurred during deployment, wartime, active duty training, or inactive duty training. What some veterans do not realize is they may also make a VA claim based on a preexisting condition that worsened during active service. To be eligible for benefits, your disability must render you unable to work full-time or even part-time.

Veterans who were in active service in a uniformed branch of the U.S. military or who were called up for full-time active service in the National Guard or Reserve Corps are eligible for VA disability compensation. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA disability benefits may also be given to those who served full time in the Public Health Services Commissioned Officer Corps or in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . In some cases, those who served full time, during wartime, in the Merchant Marine or the Flying Tigers may also be eligible. Veterans with a dishonorable discharge are not eligible for benefits.

Hypertension As A Va Disability

Top 10 Most Common VA Disability Claims (The Insider

Hypertensive vascular disease is considered a potential VA disability under the Federal Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Code 7101 .

The VA considers hypertension to be a diastolic blood pressure that is predominantly 90 mmHg or greater, and isolated systolic hypertension to be a systolic blood pressure that is predominantly 160 mmHg or greater with a diastolic blood pressure of less than 90 mmHg. This is a stricter standard than adopted by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association .

The VA also requires that hypertension be confirmed by readings taken two or more times on at least three different days .

When a Veteran applies for VA disability benefits, the VA assigns a VA Disability Rating to their medical condition. The rating, set by law and expressed as a percentage in 10-percent increments from 0% to 100%, determines the amount of VA benefits that a Veteran receives for service-connected conditions.

For hypertension and isolated systolic hypertension, the VA assigns disability ratings of:

The VAs basic disability compensation rates are based on the Veterans disability rating and the number of dependents. For 2021, the VA pays $144.14 per month for a 10% disability rating and $284.93 for a 20% rating, regardless of dependents. With no dependents, monthly compensation for a 40% rating is $635.77, and for a 60% rating, it is $1,146.39.

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Degenerative Arthritis Of The Spine

Spinal conditions to include Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine is another common VA claim, which we have at #11.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting many veterans.

It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.

Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine.

The VA rates Degenerative Arthritis under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, DC 5242, Degenerative Arthritis.

VA Ratings for Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine are 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent.

The highest scheduler rating for Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine is 100%, which means your entire spine is frozen in an unfavorable position.

Pro Tip: In accordance with the Painful Motion principle, if you have painful motion of your spine, the VA is required to award the minimum compensable rating for the condition, which is 10 percent.

Va Disability Claims For Scars

Veterans can receive service connection for scars that result from their time in military service, or from service-connected conditions that required surgery.

Scar disabilities are rated under 38 CFR §4.118, Diagnostic Codes 7800-7805. Scars are rated based on the number of scars or disfigurements a veteran has, the area of the body affected, their permanence, and the presence of pain or instability.

Scars on the head, face, or neck are rated based on skin loss and how many facial features have been disfigured. Ratings for scars on areas of the body other than the head, face, or neck are generally based on the size of the scar.

Scars can be rated anywhere from 0 to 80 percent, depending on the diagnostic code.

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Mistake #: Waiting Too Long To File

When injured during service, a members first impulse may be to try to power through it. However, even if they are able to grit their teeth at first, the injury or exposure may worsen with age, especially if left untreated. According to Allsups VA Disability Benefits Survey , the second largest group of veterans to file for benefits submit claims 10 or more years after separating. But the VA approval process doesnt happen overnight. On average, it takes the VA 127 days to process a disability claim, and this timeline can quickly expand when complications and appeals are added to the equation.

Back And Neck Pain Spinal Issues

Top 20 VA Disability Claims

There are a wide variety of back and neck issues you could get a VA disability rating for the VA is interested in how your issues affect range of motion, flexibility, and other aspects related to your ability to bend, sit, stand, work, etc.

VA claims involve a determination process to establish whether or not your back and/or neck pain issues are service related.

When making a claim in this area, be sure to list all military experience related to carrying heavy objects, working in non-ergonomically sound positions , prolonged hiking, running or walking with fully loaded rucksacks, backpacks, etc.

When it comes to spinal issues, the concerns are similar. Cervical strain is one of the most common VA disability claims for Veterans regardless of age or sex. VA ratings in this area arent as high as some might expectsome sources report that more than 90% of vets who make claims in this area get ratings from zero to 20%. In some cases the rating may be higher, depending on the nature and severity of the issue.

What do you need to know about these claims?

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Diseases Caused By Jet Fuel Or Other Chemical Exposures

Other disabilities may be subject to compensation if the Veteran was exposed to harmful chemicals as a result of his military service, but these disorders typically arent afforded presumptive service compensation. That is, even though you were exposed to the toxins, you will still have to argue that the exposure caused your disability, rather than the VA assuming that the exposure did cause your disability. The most common toxin exposure includes exposure to jet fuels, lead, perfluorinated compounds such as perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid , or aqueous film forming foam , Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances , trichloroethylene , and tetrachloroethylene .

Lumbosacral Or Cervical Strain

Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain is neck pain, and its the #5 most claimed VA disability.

Neck pain is very common among veterans.

Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture, carrying heavy things, deployments, leaning over your computer, etc.

The VA rates Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, DC 5237.

VA Ratings for Neck Pain range from 10 percent to 100 percent, with breaks at 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, and 50 percent.

The highest scheduler rating for neck pain is 100 percent, which means your entire spine is frozen in an unfavorable position.

A total of 1,217,631 disabled veterans are rated for neck conditions.

Pro Tip: In accordance with the Painful Motion principle, if you have pain upon flexion or extension of your neck, the VA is required to award the minimum compensable rating for the condition, which is 10 percent.

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Va Disability For Tinnitus

Tinnitus is better known as a ringing in the ear syndrome. Many veterans are familiar with it from firing weapons without hearing protection or being near explosions: Its routine to experience a high-pitched ringing in the ear for a few seconds after being exposed to very loud noises.

f you have tinnitus, you hear sounds that dont exist internally, and you hear them persistently, over long periods of time. The sounds may include ringing, clicking, roaring, humming, or hissing. It can occur with ordinary age-related hearing loss.

The VA may pay benefits for tinnitus, but the highest rating you can receive for tinnitus alone is 10%. Disability compensation professionals regard tinnitus as a low value claim for this reason. But if you have other service-connected medical issues, you may qualify for a higher disability rating, as VA doctors combine your tinnitus rating with other ratings.

However, tinnitus is among the easiest VA disability benefits to get approved. If you have an existing condition that has been proven to be service-connected, tinnitus can help to increase your total disability rating, granting you additional compensation.

First, its subjective. Theres no definitive test for it. Unlike other conditions that can only be approved if there is a good deal of objective medical evidence for the claim, tinnitus is on the honor system. If you say you have tinnitus, its impossible to disprove it with medical evidence alone.

Eighth Most Common Va Disability: Limitation Of Motion Of The Ankle

We Analyzed 4.7 Million Veterans with a VA Rating: Heres What We ...

Limitation of motion of the ankle is common amongst veterans. This condition usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not adequately healed or was not rehabilitated completely. An unhealed ankle sprain increases the likelihood of another ankle sprain occurring in the future. Repeated ankle sprains often cause and perpetuate ankle instability and limited motion. Additional sprains lead to further weakening, or stretching, of the ligaments thereby producing greater limitations.

Many veterans suffer from limitation of motion of the ankle due to the physical demands of military training and service. Specifically, veterans engage in fitness-related activities and jobs that required physical exertion while serving. Such activities and jobs may have resulted in ankle sprains and injuries throughout service, thereby leading to issues later on.

In addition, a veteran may have been involved in an accident resulting in a traumatic injury to their ankle. For example, veterans involved in parachuting accidents often report ankle injuries later in life.

When rating limitation of motion of the ankle, VA primarily looks to diagnostic code 5271. Similar to the other orthopedic conditions mentioned above, the rating criteria deals with the range of motion of the ankle. VA then rates the condition based on the limitations to the range of motion.

As of 2019, 700,000 veterans are service connected for limitation of motion of the ankle.

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What Can I Claim For Va Disability: #4 Scars General

Scars were the #4 most compensated claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.

76.2%of Veterans are rated at 0% for skin conditions and 18.6% of Veterans have a10% rating for skin conditions, once again making scars a low-value VA claim.

In the opinion of VA Claims Insider, its highly recommended that Veterans take their own color photos of skin conditions for your VA Claims File, also known as your C-File.

You can upload the color photos to your eBenefits account or account once you prepare and file your own VA Claim.

In general, scars are low value VA claims, and the full criteria for skin conditions and scars can be found on Military Disability Made Easy HERE.

How Do I Increase My Va Rating

To qualify for a higher VA rating, you must get one or more individual condition ratings increased, which will then increase your total combined rating.

If your conditions have worsened since you last applied and now qualify for a higher rating, you can submit a new claim on by checking the box for an increased evaluation.

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Secondary Service Connection For Ankle Instability

Another way of obtaining a VA rating for ankle instability is by proving a secondary service connection. A secondary service connection occurs when you can connect your ankle instability with another service-connected injury or issue.

For instance, you may have broken your right foot during combat . However, later on, you may have developed ankle instability on the left ankle. If your doctor can prove that the ankle instability on the left side was caused due to you favoring your right ankle because of your broken foot, that could prove secondary service connection for your ankle instability. This is one way that injuries that occur after service can still have service-connection.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

Top 6 VA Disability Claims: Common VA Disability Claims

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.

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Document To Increase Your Va Disability Pay

The more health care information you have on file when you file for a VA disability claim, the better. To maximize your chances of getting your claims approved and earning increased compensation rates, documentation is critical.

If youre still in the service, try to get your injuries or other disabling medical connections documented in your military medical records. If you are out of the service, work with your personal physician to diagnose your condition, and document the severity and persistency of your symptoms.

Also, stay in close touch with your comrades. When filing a claim, you may need one or more of them to file a buddy letter as a witness to the event or events that caused your disabling medical condition. In addition, a law firm can assist you in completing your veterans disability claim or walk you through the appeals process.

What Is Ankle Instability

Ankle instability is a chronic condition that is often caused by an acute injury such as an ankle sprain. There are two types of ankle instability: mechanical and functional. Mechanical instability occurs when the ankle is physically unstable and unable to be weight-bearing. Functional instability refers to a feeling that the ankle may give out at any time.

Ankle instability can cause pain and may make it hard to engage in everyday activities, especially those that involve being on your feet. Some of the symptoms of ankle instability include:

  • Inability to walk without fear of rolling the ankle
  • Loss of balance
  • Walking with a limp

Not every incident will include all of the symptoms listed above, and there may be other issues caused by this condition. Some ankle injuries will also cause frozen ankle joints, limitation of motion, or interference with normal range of motion.

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