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March 6, 2020

Top 3 IBS VA Rating Tips for 2021 Explained (The Expert’s Guide)

Last updated on March 30, 2021

In this post, we will be exploring the Top 3 IBS VA Rating Tips for 2021 along with a detailed description of the VA rating criteria for IBS at 0 percent, 10 percent, and 30 percent.

In 2021, VA ratings for IBS are 0%, 10%, and 30%.

The highest scheduler VA rating for IBS is 30 percent.

So, let’s take a minute to explore the law regarding the symptoms and impairment required to warrant a VA disability rating for IBS.

Many veterans suffer from various digestive system issues, to include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

In addition, IBS is a common secondary VA disability claim, especially IBS secondary to PTSD or any other mental health condition due to the side effects of medication taken to help manage symptoms.

A veterans final VA disability rating for IBS depends upon the frequency, severity, and duration of their IBS symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for IBS.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Veterans?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common disorder that affects a veteran’s large intestine.

Symptoms of IBS include cramping, stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

IBS is typically a chronic disability condition that may or may not improve over time.

The most severe symptoms of IBS can usually be treated and managed with medication.

The specific cause of IBS isn’t known within the medical community, however, there are common triggers that can cause or make IBS worse.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some common triggers of IBS in disabled veterans include:

  • #1 Food. The role of food allergy or intolerance in IBS isn’t fully understood. A true food allergy rarely causes IBS. But many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks.
  • #2 Stress. Most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn’t cause them.
  • #3 Hormones. Women are 2x as likely to have IBS than men, which might indicate that hormonal changes play a role. Many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.
  • #4 Medication Side Effects. Many over the counter and prescription medications taken to help manage a variety of physical and mental disabilities in veterans may cause IBS symptoms or make them worse.

Medical research suggests a link between IBS and veterans who have a mental health condition.

For example, PTSD anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are associated with IBS and the severity of a veteran’s mental health symptoms may trigger IBS symptoms and make them worse.

Finally, many over the counter and prescription medications taken to help manage a variety of physical and mental disabilities in veterans may lead to IBS symptoms.

IBS VA Rating – Common Symptoms in Veterans

IBS VA Rating - Common Symptoms in Veterans

Many veterans have IBS, and deserve an IBS va rating, especially Gulf War Veterans with Gulf War Syndrome.

While symptoms of IBS can vary wildly over time, the most common symptoms of IBS in veterans include:

  • Abdominal pain, cramping, or bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation (veterans may experience both diarrhea and constipation)
  • Mucus and/or bloody stools

IBS symptoms can come and go by the way and may even disappear entirely before reappearing or getting worse.

Is IBS a VA Disability?

Yes, IBS is a VA disability and can be rated at 0%, 10%, or 30%, depending upon the severity of your symptoms.

IBS is a digestive system issue that is most often rated under CFR 38, Part 4, VA Schedule of Ratings, Diagnostic Code 7319, Irritable Colon Syndrome.

How to Get a 30% VA Disability Rating for IBS

✔️ Wondering how to get a VA Rating for IBS?

In this video, Brian Reese and VA Claims Insider breaks down how to get a VA rating for IBS, along with tips, strategies, and lessons learned.

Veterans, in this video “IBS VA Rating SECRETS – How to Get a 30% VA Disability Rating for IBS!” you will learn everything you need to know about filing a successful IBS VA Disability Claim!

WATCH: IBS VA Rating SECRETS – How to Get a 30% VA Disability Rating for IBS!

0:27 VA Ratings for IBS

0:35 IBS Versus GERD for VA Disability

1:50 Filing Secondary VA Disability for IBS

3:31 VA Rating for IBS Symptoms Categorized by the VA

5:08 IBS Secondary VA Disability Requirements

8:08 VA Disability Severity of Symptoms for IBS

8:47 0% VA Rating for IBS

9:32 10% VA Rating for IBS

10:00 30% VA Rating for IBS

11:26 VA Secondary Conditions from Medications

13:08 Nexus Letter for IBS VA Claim

21:13 Static VA Disabilities

23:26 GERD Presumptive Condition under Gulf War Syndrome

28:52 Burn Pit Exposure for VA Claims

IBS VA Rating in 2021

VA Disability Rating for IBS

IBS VA Ratings range from 0% to 30%, with an interim break at 10%.

A veterans final VA disability rating for IBS depends upon the frequency, severity, and duration of your symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for IBS.

There is no separate diagnostic code for IBS, and it’s most commonly assigned a VA rating analogous to diagnostic code 7319, Irritable Colon Syndrome:

7319 Irritable Colon Syndrome (e.g., spastic colitis, mucous colitis) IBS VA Rating
Severe; diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress 30%
Moderate; frequent episodes of bowel disturbance with abdominal distress 10%
Mild; disturbances of bowel function with occasional episodes of abdominal distress 0%
VA Ratings Scale for IBS

30 Percent IBS VA Rating Criteria

30 VA Rating for IBS

A 30 VA Rating for IBS is warranted when there are severe symptoms of IBS to include diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress (stomach pain).

10 Percent VA Rating for IBS

10 VA Rating for IBS

A 10 VA Rating for IBS is warranted when there are moderate symptoms of IBS to include frequent episodes of bowel disturbance (diarrhea and/or constipation) with abdominal distress (stomach pain).

0 Percent VA Rating for IBS

0 Percent VA Rating fror IBS

A 0 VA Rating for IBS is warranted with mild symptoms of IBS, which include disturbances of bowel function with occasional episodes of abdominal distress (stomach pain).

VA Disability Rating for GERD and IBS

For VA purposes, a veteran shall NOT have a VA disability rating for both GERD and IBS at the same time.

Why?

Because of the legal concept of “Avoidance of Pyramiding” (aka, stacking similar disabilities and various diagnoses on top of each other is to be avoided).

In accordance with 38 CFR § 4.114 – Schedule of Ratings – Digestive System, VA disability ratings under diagnostic codes 7301 to 7329, inclusive, 7331, 7342, and 7345 to 7348 inclusive will NOT be combined with each other.

A single evaluation will be assigned under the diagnostic code which reflects the predominant disability picture, with elevation to the next higher evaluation where the severity of the overall disability warrants such elevation.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus, which is the tube connecting your mouth and stomach – this common leads to heartburn.

GERD is a VA disability and can be rated at 10%, 30%, or 60%, depending upon the severity of your symptoms.

>> Click HERE to learn about VA Ratings for GERD <<

GERD is most often rated under CFR 38, Part 4, VA Schedule of Ratings, Diagnostic Code 7346, Hernia Hiatal.

Whereas IBS normally causes stomach pain along with changes in bowel habits, either diarrhea, constipation, or both.

IBS is rated under diagnostic code 7319, Irritable Colon Syndrome.

In our opinion, a veteran should file a VA disability claim for the more severe condition (either GERD or IBS, but NOT both), assuming you have a medical diagnoses for both GERD and IBS.

You could also file a VA claim for both GERD and IBS and let the VA sort-it-out for you.

IBS Secondary to PTSD

Many veterans with IBS, especially those who were diagnosed long after leaving the military are eligible under the law for IBS secondary to PTSD, IBS secondary to Depression, or IBS secondary to Anxiety.

Service connection on a secondary basis requires a “showing of causation.”

A showing of causation requires that the secondary disability be “proximately due to” or “the result of” another service-connected disability.

By law, there are three evidentiary elements that must be satisfied for IBS secondary to PTSD to prove secondary service connection:

  1. A medical diagnosis of IBS in VA medical records or private records (unless you already have a diagnosis of IBS in your service treatment records)
  2. Evidence of a service-connected primary disability (such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, migraines, GERD), AND
  3. Medical nexus evidence establishing a connection between the service-connected disability (PTSD) and the current disability (IBS)

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.

Veterans may want to read this BVA case decision from 2016, whereby a veteran was granted secondary service connection for IBS, which was proximately due to or the result of medication side effects taken to manage symptoms of other service-connected disabilities:

“There is an approximate balance of favorable and unfavorable evidence as to whether the Veteran has irritable bowel syndrome proximately due to or the result of pain medications from his service-connected hiatal hernia, thoracolumbar spine, cervical spine, migraine headache, bilateral hip, bilateral shoulder, and bilateral knee disabilities. Resolving all reasonable doubt in his favor (aka, Benefit of the Doubt Doctrine “Tie goes to the runner,”) the Veteran has irritable bowel syndrome secondary to medication from his service-connected disabilities. 38 U.S.C.A. 1110, 5103, 5103A, 5107 (West 2014); 38 CFR 3.102, 3.159, and 3.310.”

– BVA Case Decision DOCKET NO. 06-05 255

C&P Exam for IBS

A C&P exam for IBS usually involves a physical examination and history of your signs and symptoms over time.

You’ll want to explain to the C&P examiner HOW your IBS symptoms are limiting or affecting your work, life, and social functioning.

For example, how often do you have symptoms of IBS?

How severe are your IBS symptoms and do they limit or affect your work, life, and social functioning?

Be prepared to tell your true story about the frequency, severity, and duration of your IBS symptoms.

You’ll want to review the intestinal conditions DBQ form prior to your C&P exam for IBS, specifically Section III, Signs and Symptoms, and Section IV, Symptom Episodes, Attacks, and Exacerbations with special emphasis on frequency, severity, and duration of your IBS symptoms over time.

VA Ratings for IBS Symptoms List

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About The Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is VA benefits 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).

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