In this post, I’m going to explain the ED VA Rating criteria in detail as well as my top 3 tips to get VA Special Monthly Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction.
Erectile Dysfunction is assigned a 0% service connected VA rating under Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Category (K) or SMC-K, for “Loss of Use of a Creative Organ.”
In 2022, Veterans with a 0% rating for Erectile Dysfunction qualify for SMC-K and will get an additional $118.33 per month added to their total monthly VA disability compensation payment.
Many Veterans suffer from ED from active duty service, and there are a variety of physical and mental conditions that can cause or make ED worse.
For example, Erectile Dysfunction is a common claim for secondary service connection, especially secondary to mental health conditions such as PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety.
In addition, side effects of medications you take to manage your physical and mental health symptoms can cause or make ED worse.
- What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Veterans?
- Top 3 Tips to Establish Service Connection for Erectile Dysfunction
- ED VA Rating: How Does the VA Rate Erectile Dysfunction?
- Is Erectile Dysfunction a VA Disability?
- VA Rating for Erectile Dysfunction: How to Get VA Special Monthly Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction
- Erectile Dysfunction and Secondary Service Connection
- Erectile Dysfunction Secondary to PTSD, Depression, or Anxiety
- How to Establish Secondary Service Connection for Erectile Dysfunction
- VA Rating for ED Secondary to PTSD
- VA C&P Exam for Erectile Dysfunction
- Top 5 Most Common Questions Asked During a VA C&P Exam for Erectile Dysfunction
- How Does the VA Rater Evaluate Claims for Erectile Dysfunction?
- Deserve a VA Rating Increase? We’ve Got You Covered!
- About the Author
What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Veterans?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
If you’re a Veteran suffering from ED, it can cause a significant amount of stress in your life, affect your well-being and outlook on life, and can contribute to relationship problems.
Common symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction in Veterans include:
- Difficulty getting an erection
- Difficulty keeping an erection
- Decreased libido (low sex drive)
Top 3 Tips to Establish Service Connection for Erectile Dysfunction
If a Veteran is going to file an Erectile Dysfunction VA claim, he/she must present medical evidence that shows all three of the following:
- Tip #1: Make sure you have a medical diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction in a medical record, AND
- Tip #2: You must have a “Nexus” for service connection, meaning, your Erectile Dysfunction was caused or made worse by your active duty military service OR your ED is “proximately due to or aggravated by” another service connected disability rated at 0% or higher, AND
- Tip #3: Current symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction that negatively impact your work, life, or social functioning documented in a medical record. It also helps to write a strong personal VA statement in support of a claim.
ED VA Rating: How Does the VA Rate Erectile Dysfunction?
While ED is assigned a 0% rating under SMC-K, there are five other scheduler rating categories that are related to Erectile Dysfunction, the penis, and testicles, which are rated as follows:
DC 7521: If the Glans is removed, it is rated 20%. This condition can also be rated under the urinary rating system if that can result in a higher rating than 20%.
DC 7522: If the penis is deformed and cannot erect, then it is rated 20%. The following two requirements must be met before a 20% evaluation can be assigned for deformity of the penis with loss of erectile power under 38 CFR 4.115b, DC 7522:
- The deformity must be evident, AND
- The deformity must be accompanied by loss of erectile power.
DC 7523: Atrophy of the testicles is when they shrink and become nonfunctional. If one testicle is atrophied, then it is rated 0%. If both testicles are atrophied, then it is rated 20%.
DC 7524: If both testicles are removed, it is rated 30%. If only one testicle is removed, it is rated 0%. There are a few conditions for this code. If the testicle was removed because it was not fully developed or did not descend, then it is not ratable since this is a pre-existing condition and not directly related to military service. If the testicle had to be removed because of an injury or condition that is related to military service, and the remaining testicle is not functioning (whether it is related to service), it is rated 30%.
Is Erectile Dysfunction a VA Disability?
Yes, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a VA disability and is assigned a 0% rating under Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Category K.
Normally, the VA will grant a 0% service connected VA rating for Erectile Dysfunction unless you are eligible under the other Diagnostic Codes (DCs) listed above.
VA Rating for Erectile Dysfunction: How to Get VA Special Monthly Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction
Getting service connected for Erectile Dysfunction at 0 percent means eligible veterans can obtain Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for loss of use of a creative organ.
This is known as SMC(K) and it is paid out each month on top of your other VA disability pay.
The current pay rate for VA Special Monthly Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction is $111.74 per month.
Erectile Dysfunction and Secondary Service Connection
In many cases, Erectile Dysfunction is caused by something physical or mental, and can be rated secondary to any of the following service connected conditions:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (Atherosclerosis)
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Obesity as an “interim link” for secondary service connection
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain prescription medications
- Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue inside the penis)
- Various sleep disorders (Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, etc.)
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Low testosterone
Erectile Dysfunction Secondary to PTSD, Depression, or Anxiety
The brain plays an important role in getting and keeping an erection, beginning with feelings of sexual excitement.
Several mental health conditions can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen Erectile Dysfunction in Veterans, including but not limited to:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Other service connected mental health conditions
Many veterans with Erectile Dysfunction, especially those who were diagnosed long after leaving the military are eligible under the law for secondary service connection.
For example, if veterans are taking SSRIs to help manage their PTSD, Depression, or Anxiety symptoms, perhaps you’re suffering from side effects of those SSRI medications, which can cause or aggravate Erectile Dysfunction.
Thus, veterans can get an ED VA rating secondary to PTSD, Depression, or Anxiety.
How to Establish Secondary Service Connection for Erectile Dysfunction
Service connection on a secondary basis requires a showing of causation.
A showing of causation requires that the secondary disability be shown to be “proximately due to” or “proximately aggravated by” another service-connected disability.
By law, there are three evidentiary elements that must be satisfied for ED secondary to PTSD to prove secondary service connection:
- A medical diagnosis of ED in VA medical records or private records (unless you already have a diagnosis of ED in your service treatment records)
- Evidence of a service-connected primary disability (such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other) AND
- Medical Nexus Evidence establishing a connection between the service-connected disability (PTSD) and the current disability (ED)
The first part can be satisfied with any existing medical evidence in service treatment records, VA medical records, or any private medical records.
The second part can be satisfied with a veteran’s existing service-connected disability rated at 0 percent or higher.
The third part can be satisfied with a medical nexus letter from a qualified medical professional.
VA Rating for ED Secondary to PTSD
The VA Rating for ED Secondary to PTSD is 0%.
Medical research has revealed a strong casual link between Veterans with PTSD and sexual dysfunction, and more specially, erectile dysfunction.
According to the VA’s Office of Research and Development, when compared with the general population, veterans with PTSD are at an increased risk of sexual dysfunction, such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
A review study published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that male veterans with PTSD were significantly more likely than the civilian population to report ED or other sexual problems.
For example, one study of male combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD—a shocking 85% reported ED, compared with a 22% rate among male combat veterans without any mental health diagnosis.
A second study of 90 male combat veterans with PTSD found more than 80% were experiencing sexual dysfunction.
VA C&P Exam for Erectile Dysfunction
The VA C&P exam for Erectile Dysfunction involves a series of questions and answers related to the male reproductive system on the DBQ for Male Reproductive Organ Conditions.
An in-person C&P examination for Erectile Dysfunction is usually not required unless deemed necessary by the examiner (e.g., check for deformities of the penis, loss of testes).
Often times a C&P exam for Erectile Dysfunction will be handled under the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) exam process, which is a records only review by the examiner.
Top 5 Most Common Questions Asked During a VA C&P Exam for Erectile Dysfunction
#1. Does the Veteran have a medical diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction? If yes, indicate the ICD code and date of diagnosis.
#2. Does the Veteran have Erectile Dysfunction? If yes, provide the etiology of Erectile Dysfunction.
#3. If the Veteran has Erectile Dysfunction, is it “at least as likely as not” (50% or greater) that the Veteran’s ED was caused by his military service or service-connected disabilities?
#4. If the Veteran has Erectile Dysfunction, is it “at least as likely as not” (50% or greater) that the Veteran’s ED has been aggravated by any of his service-connected disabilities, to include due to any side effects of medications taken to treat such disabilities?
#5. If the Veteran has Erectile Dysfunction, is he able to achieve an erection sufficient for penetration and ejaculation without medication? If no, has the Veteran used medications for treatment of his Erectile Dysfunction? If yes, is the Veteran able to achieve an erection sufficient for penetration and ejaculation with medication?
How Does the VA Rater Evaluate Claims for Erectile Dysfunction?
The VA Rater will grant SMC(K) when the medical evidence shows that service connected ED constitutes Loss of Use (LOU) of a creative organ.
Other diagnoses of sexual dysfunction that may result in LOU include (but are not limited to) loss of libido, loss of or low sex drive, or impotence.
When a VA examiner finds that there is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) or other sexual dysfunction, SMC(K) is established even though:
- The Veteran can achieve erection and penetration with the use of medication, or
- The Veteran had a vasectomy prior to the development of the LOU of a creative organ, as vasectomies may be reversible while LOU is not.
When the evidence, including an examination report or other medical information, shows that a diagnosis of ED or other sexual dysfunction is present but indicates that the Veteran can penetrate and ejaculate without the use of medication, resolve reasonable doubt in the Veteran’s favor and interpret the report to establish that LOU of a creative organ is present and grant entitlement to SMC(K).
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About the Author
Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).
Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start.
As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).