Skip to content

October 22, 2019

Top 3 Guaranteed VA Disability Claims

Last updated on April 5, 2021

Of the complete list of VA disabilities, these 3 conditions stand out as possible guaranteed VA disability claims.

Now, I need to clarify something first.

There is no such thing as a “guaranteed VA disability claim,” because ALL VA disability compensation claims come down to medical evidence and can the veteran prove service connection on an “at least as likely as not” basis.

For example, it’s important for veterans to have (1) A current medical diagnosis of a disability, (2) A clear “Nexus” to prove service connection on at “at least as likely as not” basis, and (3) Current symptoms that are limiting or affecting your life in a negative way.

In this post, Brian Reese VA Claims Insider reveals and explains top 3 guaranteed VA disability claims based upon the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) Fiscal Year 2018-2019 report to Congress regarding VA disability compensation.

You might also like my post about the Top 10 Most Common VA Disability Claims.

List of Top 3 Guaranteed VA Disability Claims

List of Top 3 Guaranteed VA Disability Claims
List of Top 3 Guaranteed VA Disability Claims

#1: Tinnitus, recurrent

According to the 2018-2019 disability claims data, Tinnitus was the most commonly claimed disability and also the most compensated VA claim with 1,971,201 overall recipients.

Most Common Service Connected VA Disability Claims 1
Top 10 Most Common VA Disability Claims List

93.6% of Veterans receiving disability compensation for Tinnitus were rated at 10%.

Tinnitus can only have one VA disability rating.

It is either rated at 10% or nothing.

Thus, we consider Tinnitus to be a “low-value” claim, because it is always rated at 10%, with no exceptions.

There is also no bilateral factor for Tinnitus.

VA Claims Insider defines a “high-value” claim as a VA disability condition that has a high likelihood of being rated at 30% or higher on its own.

In contrast, a “low-value” claim is a VA claim with a low likelihood of being rated at 30% or higher.

People most at risk of developing Tinnitus are those who work in loud environments including musicians, elderly, factory workers, and military personnel.

The most common type of Tinnitus or “ringing in the ear syndrome” is called Subjective Tinnitus, which is ringing in the ear that only the veteran can hear.

Tinnitus involves the sensation of hearing a sound when no external sound is present.

Tinnitus symptoms may include ringing, buzzing, roaring, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or humming.

WATCH: How to File a VA Claim for Tinnitus

If you’re thinking about filing a Tinnitus VA claim as a secondary disability for secondary service connection, the following conditions can cause or make Tinnitus worse.

List of Tinnitus Secondary Conditions

  • Head and Neck Conditions
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • TBI
  • Hearing Loss
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
  • High Blood Pressure

#2: Musculoskeletal VA Claims (Strains, Sprains, Joints, Painful Motion, Limitation of Flexion)

Based on the 2018-2019 VBA data, musculoskeletal conditions were in the Top 3 most guaranteed VA disability claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.

92.2% of Veterans with musculoskeletal conditions were rated between 0% and 20%, once again making these low-value VA claims.

Musculoskeletal system VA disabilities include problems with joints and muscles and must involve (1) limitation of range of motion (flexion) and/or (2) painful motion.

Symptoms associated with musculoskeletal system conditions include limitation of range of motion (flexion), painful motion, arthritis, weakness, fatigue, loss of power, lack of coordination, and decreased movement control.

Musculoskeletal disabilities can also be filed as secondary VA disability claims for secondary service connection and can be caused or made worse any of the following conditions.

List of Musculoskeletal Secondary Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Medication Side Effects
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • TBI
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
  • Right side of body injuries affect left side of body (and vice versa)
  • Spine, Neck, Back, Hips, Arms, Legs, and Feet, among many others

#3 Mental Health Conditions

The 2018-2019 VBA data reported to congress shows that mental health conditions, including PTSD, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Adjustment Disorder were among the top 3 guaranteed VA disability claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.

For example, 90.7% of Veterans were rated at 30% or higher for mental health, while 41.1% of Veterans were rated at 70% or higher.

Thus, mental health conditions are “high-value” claims.

Brian Reese VA Insider calls mental health conditions high-value claims because they have a very high likelihood of getting rated at 30% or more.

Many mental health symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, anger issues, work problems and relationship issues.

All VA mental health claims fall into one of three categories: 1) PTSD Combat, 2) PTSD Non-Combat / Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and 3) All Other Mental Health Conditions.

You might enjoy my post on >> How to File a VA Claim for PTSD.

PTSD is a mental health condition, which is “triggered” by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or directly witnessing it.

PTSD always has in-service stressors, which cause or make the PTSD worse, such as exposure to death, threatened death (fear or hostility), actual serious injury, threatened serious injury, actual sexual violence and threatened sexual violence.

If you’re wondering whether your stressor is strong enough to warrant service connection, ask yourself this question: “Did I fear for my life?”

If the answer is no, your stressor may not be strong enough for VA rating purposes.

Non-combat PTSD stressors include things such as Military Sexual Trauma (MST), service-member suicide, serious car accidents, training accidents, victim of rape and witnessing a rape, getting beat-up, among others.

>> Trying to service connect Sleep Apnea secondary to PTSD? Read THIS! <<

Here are some mental health VA claim tips and evidence requirements for each:

PTSD First-Time Filer

If you are a Veteran filing a VA disability claim for PTSD for the very first time, you must meet the following evidence requirements: identification of in-service stress indicating the salient information such as dates, description, geographic location, unit assignment and dates of assignment; statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for PTSD; Statement in Support of a Claim – VA Form 21-4138; Buddy letter/s (highly recommended; and the C&P Examiner will complete the DBQ for PTSD Initial.

PTSD Increase

If you are already rated for PTSD by the VA, but believe you are underrated and deserve a higher VA rating based upon your symptoms, we highly recommend the following supporting evidence: DBQ for PTSD Review completed by a U.S. Board Certified Psychologist, Statement in Support of a Claim – VA Form 21-4138 and buddy letters.

These documents are important because you must show that your PTSD symptoms are worse, which means you qualify for the higher PTSD rating criteria under the law.

Other Mental Health Conditions

Anything that’s not PTSD falls under the category of “Other Mental Health Conditions and include things such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and somatic symptom disorder.

We recommend obtaining a DBQ for Other Mental Health Conditions completed by a U.S. Board Certified Psychologist, Medical Nexus letter for the first-time filer, Statement in Support of a Claim – VA Form 21-4138 and buddy letters.

Buddy letters are especially crucial if lay evidence is needed to further substantiate the approximate timeframe that your mental health condition was caused or made worse by your active duty military service.

This is legally referred to as the “Nexus” to prove service-connection.

In the absence of service treatment records, VA raters will consider first-hand witness testimony (buddy letters) to help make their decision.

WATCH: The Easiest VA Claims to Win!

Get a VA Medical Nexus Letter

? Hey Veteran, do you need a VA DBQ or Medical Nexus Letter completed by a qualified medical provider to help service connect your VA disabilities?

✔️ Join VA Claims Insider Elite, get instant access to the ELITE Experience Portal (EEP) and $7,500 worth of proprietary VA claim resources TODAY, and have our medical team get started on your nearly VA disability claim for FREE:


About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is VA disability expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

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).

Related Articles

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Success Managers having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call