Making a VA Claim for Erectile Dysfunction is a little more challenging than a straight service connection. In other words, there are more steps for a Veteran to take before winning the claim. Instead of having a straight service connection, the Veteran must apply for SMC (Special Monthly Compensation) as well to get the correct rating.
The goal is to help Veterans understand that it is possible to have ED as part of their compensation plan. To assist in Veterans ED, let’s first explain what exactly is ED.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is simply the inability to sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. Many times erectile dysfunction may or may not develop until after a service member gets out of the military.
ED is relatively common amongst many men across the nation. Many men experience ED during periods of stress and when mentally drained. When a person has an ED, that can mean it is a sign of health problems that will need medical treatment. By treating ED in the early stages, you will be able to alleviate stress.
What causes ED?
These are some signs of ED:
- Struggling to get an erection
- No interest in sexual activities
Other signs of ED:
- Premature ejaculation
- Difficulty having an ejaculation
- Anorgasmia, the inability to achieve orgasm after ample stimulation
Consult with your doctor if these symptoms happen regularly and to find out what prescriptions are available. There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, one of those being medication. One of the most pertinent being anti-depressants medications, these note that erectile dysfunction is a side effect of taking. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more can also cause ED.
In a normal erection, the blood fills up the tissues in the penis. With erectile dysfunction, anything which affects the tissue in the penis, or the blood, its ability to flow easily and regularly, or anything else that’s in it, can cause erectile dysfunction. When medication is consumed, this may or may not affect the blood flow in the body.
Here are some examples of conditions in many veterans which cause a secondary effect of ED:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue inside the penis)
- Prostate cancer
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- BPH, or enlarged prostate
- Injuries in the hips, lower spine, upper parts of your legs (basically any musculoskeletal injury in or adjacent to the pelvis)
The majority of cases claiming erectile dysfunction as a secondary condition is either caused by a service-connected condition or can aggravate a service-connected condition. That means that proving a direct service-connection will be rated at 0, which will be explained below.
At the beginning of the article, we discussed the definition of ED and its causes. The Department of Veterans Affairs defines ED as the “loss of a creative organ.” Now, that may cause some confusion as to why the Department of VA would classify it this way.
What does this mean? It means that a straight service-connection for ED will give a service member 0 percent. As mentioned earlier, the Veteran cannot just claim a straight service connection. They can apply for SMC, Special Monthly Compensation.
SMC occurs when a veteran already has a service connection, and it’s in addition to the disability. For example, if the Veteran falls into the loss of a creative organ, then they can apply for the actual SMC, which will be further evaluated by the VA.
The overall intent of SMC is to connect the disability and if it qualifies, for loss of vision, mobility, or limb. The SMC has strict guidelines that it must adhere to for a Veteran to qualify. Because of the nature of the SMC, it is not common for Veterans to receive a zero percent rating for their SMC claim. The reason being is that the Veteran did not have a loss of limb or deformity.
The Diagnostic Codes (DC) which would be applied in that situation are DC 7520, 7521, or 7522, and they include:
Penis, removal of half or more……30% (0r rate as voiding dysfunction)
Penis, removal of glans……20% (or rate as voiding dysfunction).
Penis, deformity, with loss of erectile power……20%
Proving Your Service Connection For Erectile Dysfunction
Let’s be honest, most veterans do not suffer from a deformity problem. When you file your claim for erectile dysfunction, explain what your (or better yet, your doctor) symptoms. The ED mentioned earlier will have to be a secondary condition. To understand how secondary conditions work, check out this post here on a more in-depth understanding. VA raters often won’t address secondary conditions or medication side effects unless you give them a specific explanation for why they should consider anything other than direct service connection.
Don’t give up hope on claiming your ED claim as SMC! You have to make sure you have documentation to back up your ED claim.
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About the Author
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.