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Va Disability Rating For Erectile Dysfunction

Va Disability Rating For Erectile Dysfunction

Description

Many veterans are taking medications to treat their service connected PTSD or manage the pain for their back, ankle, and knee conditions. VA doctors will prescribe medications and discuss with veterans their side effects but most veterans are unaware that they may be entitled to compensation for these side effects. 38 CFR 3.310(b) provides that veterans can receive compensation for non-service connected illnesses and injuries that are “proximately the result of service connected disease or injury”. These are called secondary service connection claims, claims that did not develop in service but are related to a service connected condition. Secondary service connection claims include the side effects of medications, either over the counter or prescription that veterans take for their service connected disabilities. Jones v. Shinseki, 26 Vet.App. 56 (2012).

VA Proposes to Eliminate Erectile Dysfunction Ratings

The VA recently released its proposed changes to the VASRD for ratings of the Genitourinary System, the details of which can be found in our blog post.While most of the changes are intended to make the ratings criteria clearer and fairer, we anticipate that one section will be more controversial than the rest—the ratings for erectile dysfunction (ED), code 7522.Currently, erectile dysfunction caused by deformity is rated 20%, but under the proposed changes, erectie dysfunction, for any reason, would be rated 0%.The VA justifies this proposed change by stating that the “VA provides disability compensation for conditions that result in reduced earning capacity. Erectile dysfunction . . . is not associated with reductions in earning capacity.”The basic idea behind all VA disability is to compensate veterans for the inability to work and make money because of their service-connected condition. This is the principle that guides all rating decisions—Does the condition decrease the veteran’s ability to work?If this change is officially made, erectile dysfunction will not be the only condition rated 0% even though it is clearly a medical condition and disability by definition. For example, currently, the ratings for the eyes grant a 0% if contacts or glasses are able to fully correct a veteran’s vision. So even though theveteran can’t see across the room without their glasses (a clear disability), they aren’t compensated since it can be corrected and they can presumably still work just fine.Now even though ED would only be rated 0%, this 0% rating, as opposed to no rating at all, is an important distinction. A 0% rating means that the VA recognizes it as a service-connected condition. As such, it could still qualify for Special Monthly Compensation, Category K (SMC-K). SMC-K provides a small amount of compensation for the loss of use of a creative organ. So if the erectile dysfunction effectively makes the veteran infertile, he would qualify for SMC-K.

Also, because the condition is considered service-connected, any conditions that it causes (“secondary conditions”) would also be eligible for compensation. So if the veteran developed depression because of his ED (a very common symptom), it would qualify for compensation. Depression is a condition that can definitely interfere with the ability of a veteran to properly function in his daily life and earn a living. So, even though the ED itself would only be rated 0%, any condition that it causes that interferes with the veterans ability to work, would still qualify.  

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