VA Disability Rating for Sinusitis

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Reviewed by Cassandra Crosby

Sinusitis (often referred to as a sinus infection) is highly prevalent among veterans and is marked by inflammation of the nasal cavity. 

Veterans are more commonly exposed to environments that can result in the development of this disorder, including areas with high-particulates, burn pits, chemical exposures and physical injuries to the face or nose.

Common symptoms associated with sinusitis include:

  • Nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge
  • Postnasal drip
  • Pain and tenderness around the eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

How do I service-connect sinusitis? 

For veterans who are seeking disability compensation for sinusitis, establishing service connection is critical. 

Post-August 2021, the VA now acknowledges a presumptive-basis for exposure, which can often simplify the evidence requirement process.

In order to get service connected, veterans must have the following:

  • Current Medical Diagnosis: Evidence of a current diagnosis of sinusitis by a healthcare professional. This diagnosis must be documented in your medical records.
  • In-Service Occurrence or Aggravation: You must have proof that their sinusitis began during military service, or if it was pre-existing, was aggravated by service. Usually this will be in service record documents
  • Medical Nexus: A medical link between your in-service occurrence and your current diagnosis of sinusitis. This is usually a letter or statement by a medical professional who says it’s “as likely as not” that your sinusitis was caused or aggravated by your military service.

A direct link between military service and sinusitis can occur because of a variety of different circumstances.

Some examples can include: 

  • High-Particulate Matter Exposure: Veterans who served in areas with high levels of dust, sand or other particulate matter may develop sinusitis as a result.
  • Burn Pit Exposure: Many veterans may have been stationed at bases or facilities that contained burn pits. These pits were used to dispose of a wide variety of materials and often released harmful chemicals and particulates, leading to respiratory problems including sinusitis. 
  • Chemical Exposure: Exposure to toxic chemicals, either in combat or through other military activities (like Agent Orange), can also result in sinusitis. 
  • Physical Injuries to the Face or Nose: Service-related injuries (like blows to the face or head) that affect the nasal passages or sinuses can lead to chronic sinusitis. 

What are the VA Rating for Sinusitis?

Understanding how the VA rates sinusitis is important for veterans seeking compensation for the condition. 

Ratings range from 0% to 50% and are determined based on the severity of the symptoms and their impact on a veteran’s day-to-day life.

Below is a simplified explanation of what is required for each rating; basically what a VA medical examiner might tell you at an appointment. 

For the official VA explanations click here.

RatingSimplified Explanation
0%“You have sinusitis, but it doesn’t really get in the way of your daily life. It’s more of an annoyance from time to time, without constant symptoms or need for treatment.”
10%“Your sinusitis flares up a few times a year, but with some over-the-counter meds or occasional doctor visits, you can manage it pretty well. It’s uncomfortable, but you’re able to go about your day.”
30%“You’re dealing with ongoing symptoms that definitely make things tough. You have to see the doctor regularly, and it’s likely affecting your work or daily activities. You might be using prescription meds to manage the pain and congestion.”
50%“Sinusitis is a major part of your life. You have frequent episodes that require lots of medical attention, possibly even surgery. It’s having a big impact on your health overall, and you’re probably missing work or can’t do things you enjoy.”

The VA evaluates sinusitis based on:

  • How often you have episodes
  • The type of treatment it requires
  • How much it affects your daily life and work

By understanding these ratings, veterans can get a sense of where they might fall on this scale and prepare their claims accordingly.

How Do I Increase My Rating for Sinusitis?

In many cases, sinusitis can lead to, or be the result of, other health conditions in veterans. 

Understanding what secondary service connection is and what conditions you can connect with sinusitis is important for veterans who have additional health issues that may warrant a higher rating. 

Are you not currently at 100% disability?

Here’s a list of common conditions that can be linked to sinusitis you can consider:

Why Worry About All the VA’s Complicated Tables When We’ve Done the Work for You?

Navigating the VA’s complex disability rating tables to figure out multiple ratings can be overwhelming and confusing.

That’s where our VA Disability Calculator comes in – a tool specifically designed to save you time and effort!

With just a few clicks, you can gain insights into:

  • Your Expected Disability Rating: No more guessing or trying to interpret complicated tables. Our calculator provides a clear estimation of the rating percentage for your specific condition or combined conditions.
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Ready to find out what your VA disability rating and compensation could look like? Try it now.

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Does the PACT Act cover sinusitis for veterans?

Yes, the PACT Act includes conditions like sinusitis, in addition to others caused by toxic exposures.

Under this legislation, the VA has expanded the list of presumptive conditions and locations linked to toxic exposures, making it easier for veterans to establish a service connection for health issues such as sinusitis.

The PACT Act simplifies the process for veterans to receive benefits for conditions like sinusitis by expanding presumptive conditions related to toxic exposures.

This means that if you served in specific locations or under certain conditions recognized by the VA, you may automatically be presumed to have a service connection for sinusitis.

The Act also mandates further research into the health effects of various toxic exposures, potentially adding more conditions to the presumptive list in the future.

What is Service Connection by Aggravation?

When learning about or applying for VA disability, you may have heard of the concept “service connection by aggravation.”

This means that military service didn’t directly cause the condition, but it did impact the severity of the condition (or in other words, “aggravated the condition”) and therefore should be considered for VA disability benefits.

There are some key components to aggravation claims that include:

  • Pre-Existing Condition Documentation: Having proof about a condition existing before service is extremely important. This could include medical records or enlistment physicals.
  • Evidence of Aggravation: A veteran demonstrating their condition worsened during service is also critical. Changes in medical records, increased symptoms or more intense treatment can all serve as evidence.
  • Medical Opinions on Aggravation: A statement written by a healthcare provider that states it’s “as likely as not” the service contributed to the worsening of the condition. 

How Do I Pass My Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam for Sinusitis? 

Compensation and Pension (C&P) exams are an important part of a VA disability claim for veterans. 

They can sometimes be daunting, but with the right preparation shouldn’t be feared but instead used to help accentuate your claim. 

These exams are meant for the VA to help understand the extent of your condition and its impact on your life. 

Here’s some tips for success for your C&P exam for sinusitis:

  • Details are Your Friend: Instead of using general statements like “I have sinus issues,” describe your symptoms in detail. “I experience severe headaches and facial pain several times a month due to my sinusitis.”
  • Understand the Purpose: Remember, C&P exams are designed to assess how your sinusitis is linked to your service and how it impacts your life. It’s not meant for treatment purposes. 
  • Professionalism and Patience: Approach these exams with professionalism and patience. The process is designed to ensure all veterans receive the benefits they deserve based on their service and how their disorders impact their lives.

Remember–going into your C&P exam for sinusitis with preparation and knowledge can make a HUGE difference in the outcome of your claim.

This exam is your opportunity to communicate the extent of your condition directly with the VA, so making the most of it is very important.

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How Do I Get TDIU for Sinusitis?

Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) can be an important benefit for veterans whose sinusitis, in combination with other conditions, severely limits their ability to secure or maintain substantially gainful employment.

TDIU allows a veteran who is unable to work due to service-connected conditions to be paid at the 100% disability rate, even if their combined rating does not equal 100%. 

Sinusitis, especially when severe and chronic and connected with additional conditions, can lead to significant work disruptions, making it a condition that could potentially qualify for these benefits.

A veteran must have:

  • One service-connected disability rated at 60%
  • Or a combined rating of two or more disabilities, with at least one disability at 40% or more and a combined rating of 70% or higher
  • Inability to maintain substantially gainful employment 

Since sinusitis is rated only to 50% va rating, it’s important veterans consider secondary conditions like the ones listed above to get multiple ratings to 70% or higher for TDIU.

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Content Reviewed by

Cassandra Crosby

Cassandra Crosby, Claims Advocate Avatar

Cassandra, an Accredited Agent and claims advocate for Matthew Hill & Shelly Mark’s teams, reviewed the information provided in this post.

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