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March 12, 2024

Can You Get VA Disability for Chronic Pain? (The Ultimate Guide)

Last updated on March 9, 2024

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You may be eligible for VA disability for chronic pain if you can prove your condition was caused by your military service.  

This Ultimate Guide will help steer you toward the VA benefits and compensation you deserve as we cover the ins and outs of VA disability for chronic pain.

Let’s get to it!  


Chronic Pain in Veterans

As a veteran, you may experience chronic pain due to injuries sustained during your military service or from various health problems stemming from serving on the front lines.  

Chronic pain can make everyday tasks challenging, potentially leading to disturbances with sleep, mental health conditions, and withdrawal from family and friends. It’s no way to live.  Unfortunately, chronic pain can be unpredictable and last for months or years, potentially impacting your entire body. 

It’s common for chronic pain in veterans to lead to somatic symptom disorder, causing fatigue and dizziness, leading to a significant impact on your overall mental health.  



Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.

Can I Get VA Disability for Chronic Pain?

Yes. You may be eligible for VA disability for chronic pain; however, the VA doesn’t have a specific diagnostic code or rating criteria for chronic pain. Instead of being awarded a VA chronic pain rating percentage, you’ll be rated based on whatever service-connected condition is causing your chronic pain.  

For example, if you have a back condition causing chronic pain, you may receive a VA rating for back pain. Back pain VA ratings range from 10% to 100%, depending on the severity, frequency, and duration of your symptoms.  

Your VA chronic pain rating percentage will depend on the appropriate Schedule of Ratings of your condition.  

How to Get Service-Connected for Chronic Pain

To receive VA disability for chronic pain, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • A current diagnosis of your condition  
  • An in-service event, injury, illness, or aggravation 
  • A medical nexus (i.e., link) between the current diagnosis and the in-service event, injury, or illness 

3 Things the VA Needs to Prove Your Service-Connected Disability 

How to File a VA Claim for Chronic Pain

 Use the following five steps to file a VA claim to receive a VA rating for chronic pain: 

  1. Gather Documentation: Collect medical records showing current diagnosis, test results, service records, and other evidence, such as Medical Nexus Letter or Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) linking your chronic pain to your military service. 
  1. Complete VA Form 21-526EZ: Fill out this form to apply for disability compensation. Include details about symptoms and how they affect your daily life. 
  1. Submit Your VA Claim: Send the completed form and supporting documents to the VA regional office handling your claim. You can submit it online through the VA website, by mail, or in person. 
  1. Undergo Examinations: The VA might schedule you for medical examinations to evaluate the extent of your chronic pain. 
  1. Await the Decision: The VA will review your claim, considering the evidence provided. 

Secondary Conditions to Chronic Pain

Chronic pain frequently leads to secondary conditions, making you potentially eligible for additional VA compensation and benefits.  

For example, if your chronic pain syndrome causes depression due to the intensity of your pain, you may be eligible for a VA rating for depression.  

It’s important to remember that you must still prove your condition was caused by your military service. 

C&P Exams for Chronic Pain

Frequently, the VA will require you to attend a compensation and pension (C&P) exam to determine the severity of your condition.  

During your C&P exam, the examiner will determine whether your chronic pain is connected to your service and whether you’re eligible for a VA disability for chronic pain syndrome. 

How to Appeal a Denied VA Claim for Chronic Pain

If the VA denies your VA claim for chronic pain, but you feel entitled to benefits and compensation, you can file an appeal 

If your VA decision was dated on or after February 19, 2019, you have three options to continue your case: 


VA Disability for Chronic Pain (FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

What is the VA disability rating for chronic pain syndrome? 

There is no specific VA disability for chronic pain syndrome rating, but you may be eligible for VA disability if you develop additional symptoms due to your chronic pain.  

However, you must still prove your condition was caused or aggravated by your military service.  

Can you get TDIU for chronic pain?

You may be eligible for total disability based on individual employability (TDIU) if your service-connected disability prevents you from maintaining sustainably gainful employment.  

To qualify for TDIU, you must have at least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher, OR two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one rated at 40% or higher, with a combined rating of 70% or higher.  

Is chronic pain a presumptive condition?

The VA doesn’t consider chronic pain a presumptive condition; however, several diseases that cause chronic pain, including arthritis, are considered presumptive conditions.  



Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we educate you on how to take control of the claims process so you may get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. 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! 

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you in building a fully developed claim (FDC)—so you may increase your rating FAST! 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! 

Kelly Olone

Kelly Olone

Kelly Olone is a military spouse who earned her degree in Psychology from Florida International University. After working in the non-profit sector for several years, she turned to her passion for writing. She aims to contribute to a better understanding of the valuable benefits that veterans deserve. As a mom, Kelly navigates the delicate balance between deadlines and bedtime stories with finesse. 

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