The Department of Veterans Affairs offers disability compensation to veterans with injuries or illnesses associated with their military service.
With this guide, we intend to simplify the process for you and provide a clearer picture of the most commonly approved VA disability claims for 2023!
What are the most commonly awarded claims?
According to data collected from VA Compensation: Service Connected Disability or Death Benefits Report 2022, the most commonly awarded medical conditions that are getting approved for benefits (and number of recipients in 2002) are as follows:
- Tinnitus (2,703,665)
- Knee Injuries (1,657,593)
- Hearing Loss (1,426,183)
- PTSD (1,343,669)
- Spinal Injuries (1,325,248)
- Paralysis of Sciatic Nerve (1,308,812)
- Scars, general (964,644)
- Limitation of motion of ankle (930,108)
- Limitation of motion of arm (894,846)
- Migraine (837,211)
Of these, tinnitus was the runaway winner, with 2,703,665 newly-awarded claims.
Let’s talk a little about each type of claim, so you know what it is, why it’s an easy claim to win and what kind of rating you can get!
Tinnitus, commonly referred to as “ringing in the ear,” is prevalent among veterans.
It’s often a result of exposure to loud noises or explosions during service.
The VA recognizes it due to its subjective nature — there’s no definitive test for tinnitus.
This makes it one of the easiest claims to win since if you claim you experience tinnitus, it’s difficult to disprove.
The VA might grant benefits for tinnitus even if it’s rated up to 10%, which might seem low.
Still, when combined with other service-connected disabilities, it can significantly boost your overall disability rating.
Read More: Dive deeper into tinnitus claims with our guide below.
Knee injuries, from ligament tears to osteoarthritis, are common among veterans.
Veterans can receive ratings for knee injuries based on factors such as limitation of motion, instability, and functional impairment.
Due to the clear and observable nature of knee injuries, coupled with the frequency of these injuries in military service, the VA often finds it straightforward to validate and rate such claims, making them easier to get approved.
Read More: Discover more about knee injury claims and their complexities in our blog post below.
Interested in filing for knee pain/injury benefits but have been denied? Contact us today!
Hearing loss, especially sensorineural hearing loss, is a frequent complaint among veterans.
The VA provides ratings for hearing loss based on audiometric test results and speech discrimination scores, ensuring an objective measurement of the disability.
Given the widespread exposure to loud noises, machinery, and explosions during military service, establishing a connection between hearing loss and service is often straightforward, which simplifies the approval process for such claims.
Read More: Learn more about hearing loss and claims in our guide below
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can stem from traumatic events experienced during military service.
The VA evaluates PTSD based on its impact on a veteran’s social and occupational functioning, with ratings ranging from 0% to 100%.
Due to the deep understanding of the traumatic nature of military service and the acknowledgment of PTSD’s prevalence among veterans, the VA has streamlined the process for PTSD claims.
This often makes it more straightforward to establish a service connection and obtain approval, especially when detailed stressor statements or corroborative evidence is provided.
Read More: Explore the complexities and guidance on PTSD claims in our guides below.
Interested in filing for benefits related to PTSD but have been denied? Contact us today!
Spinal injuries can encompass a range of conditions from herniated discs to spinal stenosis.
Depending on the severity and location, VA disability ratings for spinal injuries can vary significantly, but typically range from 10% to 100%.
Veterans with spinal injuries often find it easier to secure VA disability ratings due to the objective nature of most spinal injuries, which can be visually confirmed through medical imaging such as MRIs or X-rays.
Furthermore, the VA acknowledges the immense impact these injuries can have on a veteran’s daily functioning and quality of life.
Read More: Dive into the nuances of spinal injury claims and how they’re evaluated by the VA in our blog post.
Paralysis of Sciatic Nerve
Paralysis of the sciatic nerve, commonly referred to as sciatica, can lead to severe pain, numbness, and weakness that radiates down the back of the leg.
Depending on its severity and impact on daily life, the VA can assign disability ratings for sciatica ranging from 10% to 80%.
The ease in getting a VA disability rating for sciatica primarily stems from the clear, often debilitating symptoms it presents.
Moreover, with the aid of diagnostic tools like nerve conduction studies and electromyograms, veterans can provide substantial evidence of their condition, further facilitating the approval process.
Interested in filing for sciatic nerve pain or back injuries but have been denied? Contact us today!
Scars, especially those obtained during active service, can be physically and cosmetically significant.
The VA can assign disability ratings for scars based on factors such as size, location, severity, and whether they’re painful or unstable.
The process of obtaining a VA disability rating for scars is generally more straightforward because scars are visible evidence of injury.
The military service record often documents scars, which means that establishing a connection between the scar and service is typically less challenging.
Read More: Delve deeper into the nuances of scar claims and the criteria for ratings in our blog post below.
Limitation of Motion of Ankle
Limitations in ankle movement can significantly hinder a veteran’s mobility and overall quality of life.
Depending on the severity, the VA rates limitations of ankle motion based on the extent of plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, and the overall ability to walk without pain.
A more substantial limitation will result in a higher disability rating.
Due to the objective nature of the range of motion tests that can be performed on the ankle, establishing the degree of disability is relatively straightforward.
If a veteran can demonstrate consistent pain or decreased motion, a favorable rating can be easier to achieve.
Limitation of Motion of Arm
Arm mobility is crucial for numerous daily activities, and any limitation can have profound effects.
The VA rates limitation of arm motion based on the extent of the arm’s ability to move away from the side of the body or to reach overhead.
A more significant limitation in the range of motion results in a higher disability rating.
As with the ankle, the range of motion tests for the arm are objective, making it easier to determine the disability’s extent.
Demonstrating consistent pain or limited motion, documented through medical examinations, can make receiving a favorable rating more straightforward.
Migraine headaches can be debilitating and dramatically affect a veteran’s quality of life.
The VA rates migraines based on their frequency and severity, from mild conditions that cause occasional disruption to more severe cases where the veteran may be completely prostrate due to the migraine.
When it comes to getting rated for migraines, consistent medical documentation is key.
Given the subjective nature of pain and the potential for migraines to render a veteran non-functional, veterans who can produce detailed records of their migraine occurrences and the associated impacts on their daily life may find it easier to secure a favorable rating.
Read More: Delve into the nuances of migraine claims and how they impact VA disability ratings in our blog post below.
Interested in filing for migraine benefits but have been denied or want to increase your rating? Contact us today!
Essential Criteria for VA Disability Approval
Securing VA Disability Approval can be a crucial lifeline for many veterans.
However, the VA has a stringent set of criteria that veterans must meet to qualify for these benefits.
Let’s break down these essential requirements:
Before any claims can be made, a veteran needs a formal medical diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
This diagnosis identifies and confirms the specific condition or injury that the veteran has sustained.
The diagnosis should be detailed, clear, and supported by medical evidence like lab results, X-rays, or MRI reports.
Why It’s Crucial: A medical diagnosis serves as concrete evidence that there’s a tangible condition or disability. It’s the foundational starting point of any VA disability claim.
More Information: Dive deeper into what constitutes a comprehensive medical diagnosis in our guide on evidence below
Connection to Active Duty (Nexus)
The term “nexus” in the VA disability context refers to the direct connection between a veteran’s disability and their active duty service.
In simpler terms, it’s the bridge that links the medical condition to a specific event, injury, or exposure while on duty.
Why It’s Crucial: The VA Disability Benefits are specifically for injuries or conditions that are service-connected.
Without establishing this nexus, the VA has no obligation to provide disability compensation, no matter how severe the condition.
More Information: To get a clearer understanding of how to establish a nexus, read our in-depth guide below
Persistent Symptoms Evidence
A singular medical diagnosis or a one-time event isn’t always sufficient.
Veterans need to prove that their disability is ongoing and persistent.
This can be done by showcasing a history of medical treatments, continuous medical evaluations, and consistent symptoms over time.
Why It’s Crucial: The VA needs assurance that the disability is not a transient or temporary issue.
By showing persistent symptoms, veterans can demonstrate the chronic nature of their condition, which merits regular compensation.
Meeting these criteria can significantly bolster a veteran’s claim for VA disability benefits.
Ensuring you have all the necessary documentation and evidence in line with these three pillars can make the approval process smoother and more straightforward.
Always consider seeking advice from VA-accredited representatives or organizations to aid in your claim submission.
Percentage of Vets Claims Approved
Per the VA’s own data, they report 2018 as one of the most successful years for the VA’s decision-making team.
The number of veterans claims approved in 2018 was around 35.75 percent.
In that 35.75% , 19.61% were approved with zero remand issues, and 16.14% were allowed with at least one remand issue.
If 2018 is any indication, less than half of service member’s disability claims are approved.
To be in the successful 35.75% of claims it is important to fully fill out your claims paperwork and provide as much documentation as possible.
Have Questions About Understanding How the Claims Process Works?
Hill & Ponton are here to support you with getting started with your claim.
If you are intending to appeal a denied claim, you can contact us for an evaluation and we can help you with this process.
However, if you are considering filing an initial claim, or even if you are interested in learning about the appeals process, we offer a free ebook to get you started on the right foot!
The Road to VA Compensation Benefits will help break down the claims process from start to finish. Click the link below to learn more.
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