Let’s make sure one thing is clear: There are no guaranteed VA disability claims. The VA evaluates every claim it receives based on the evidence. And the rating percentage awarded depends on the severity of your symptoms. But publically available data shows that some body systems receive more 100% VA disability ratings than others.
“Body systems” are categories used by the VA to organize disabilities. From here, the VA categorizes individual conditions using a code system.
In this post, we’ll dive into the numbers and discuss the top 5 body systems that receive the most 100% VA disability ratings. We’ll also answer the question: How much is 100% VA disability? Let’s jump in!
- Ways to a 100% VA Disability Rating
- How much is 100% VA disability?
- Top 5 Body Systems Awarded the Most 100% VA Disability Ratings
- To Wrap Up
- Get What You Deserve
Ways to a 100% VA Disability Rating
While a 100% VA disability rating can be won through a single condition that falls within these body systems, remember that veterans often achieve a 100% rating through multiple disabilities. In other words—this list isn’t the only path to 100% for most veterans with VA disabilities!
It’s also important to note that “most common” should not be taken to mean “more likely to be approved.” The likelihood that a claim is approved depends on the strength of your evidence and several other factors.
This list is different from the list of most common VA disability claims. You can see that list in our post, Top 10 Most Common VA Disability Claims (2023 Edition).
How much is 100% VA disability?
As of 2023, the baseline monthly compensation for a 100% VA disability rating is $3,621.95 for a single veteran with no dependents. From there, monthly compensation can increase based on if you’re married and how many dependents you have. You can view the entire 2023 VA pay chart below:
Top 5 Body Systems Awarded the Most 100% VA Disability Ratings
Now, let’s get into the body systems with the most 100% VA disability ratings:
#1 Mental Disorders
More 100% VA disability ratings have been awarded for mental disorders than any other category… and it’s not even close.
The VA has awarded a total of 310,473 100% ratings for mental disorders. This is nearly 55% of all 100% ratings awarded across all body systems.
More than 57% of mental disorder claims awarded are for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a large but unsurprising number. PTSD affects anywhere from 11-20% of GWOT veterans and upwards of 30% of Vietnam Veterans. It is nothing short of an epidemic.
It’s easy to live with PTSD and not realize you have it, which means the actual number of veterans who have PTSD is likely much larger than reported.
#2 Cardiovascular Conditions
Second on our list is the cardiovascular system. The VA has awarded a total of 77,922 100% disability ratings for a range of cardiovascular disabilities.
The top three most prevalent service-connected cardiovascular disabilities are:
- Hypertensive vascular disease (466,128 total)
- Arteriosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) (227,199 total)
- Varicose veins (79,423 total)
These three disabilities alone make up over 71.5% of cardiovascular claims. Other conditions that fall under the cardiovascular category include:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD/CHD )
- Congenital heart defects
- Coronary heart disease
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
- Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart)
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Heart infection
#3 Genitourinary System (Kidneys, Prostate, etc.)
Third on our list is the genitourinary system. This body system totals 56,279 100% VA disability ratings.
The genitourinary system consists of the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. It also includes the reproductive organs. The three most prevalent service-connected disabilities affecting these organs and systems include:
- Penile deformity (loss of erectile power) (465,837 total)
- Malignant growths of the genitourinary system (158,095 total)
- Prostate gland injuries (62,878 total)
#4 Musculoskeletal System
The VA has awarded a total of 24,374 100% disability ratings for musculoskeletal claims. The most prevalent musculoskeletal disability is limited knee flexion, which is the inability to fully straighten or bend the knee. The VA has awarded more than 1.6 million limited knee flexion claims.
As a system, musculoskeletal disabilities are far and away the most prevalent disabilities. In fact, they make up nearly half of all awarded claims, with 12,890,232 in total.
#5 Respiratory System
Last but not least on our list of body systems with the most 100% VA disability ratings is the respiratory system. The VA has awarded 23,856 100% disability ratings for respiratory conditions, barely beating out Hemic/Lymphatic disabilities which total 21,713.
Disabilities that fall under the respiratory category include:
- Sleep apnea syndromes (obstructive, central, mixed) (508,430 total)
- Allergic rhinitis (426,307 total)
- Bronchial asthma (154,765 total)
These are the top three respiratory disabilities, making up over 68% of all respiratory claims.
To Wrap Up
It’s important to reiterate that there is no such thing as a guaranteed VA disability claim. When you submit your claim to the VA, be sure to do your due diligence. To be awarded a rating, every VA claim needs the following:
- A current medical diagnosis
- A medical nexus (or “link”) connecting your condition to your service
- Current symptoms that affect your life
Creating a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) will go a long way in winning your claim. If your claim is approved, the compensation you’ll receive each month depends on the severity of your symptoms. If your symptoms are barely noticeable, the VA will award a rating closer to 0%. If your symptoms are debilitating, the VA will award a rating closer to 100%.
Get What You Deserve
Veterans who receive a 100% VA disability rating for their disability often deal with a high degree of pain and suffering daily. If this describes you, we want to make sure you get the compensation you’re due by law.
The VA claims process can be complicated and frustrating. WE MAKE IT EASY! We’ve helped more than 25,000 veterans increase their VA ratings. Don’t give up, even if your claim was previously denied. Countless veterans have won claims that were denied for years.
If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve!
Clay Huston is a former U.S. Army Reserves Blackhawk Pilot and officer. Clay enlisted in the Army in 2013 and was commissioned as a 2LT in 2017 after earning a business degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
Since separating from the military, Clay has pursued a career as a writer. He also runs the nonprofit notfatherless.org, which fundraises for Children’s Homes in Mexico.