Hi fellow Veterans, Brian Reese here from VA Claims Insider, and this is your VA Claims Made Easy moment because we go in-depth to bring you the most common VA disabilities by body system, condition, and rating using REAL VBA data.
Filing a VA disability claim is pretty simple using the new VA.gov website, and in fact, I do a complete step-by-step tutorial in this video:
However, you don’t just want to “file” a VA claim—you want to file a WINNING VA disability claim, with the right strategy and evidence necessary to get the VA benefits you’ve earned by law.
The bottom line is every Veteran’s VA claim is different and unique to them, which means YOU must do an inventory of your body from head-to-toe, and carefully document your disability conditions in medical records, if/how they’re related to your military service, and how severe your symptoms are today.
Generally, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA disability rating you’ll receive.
- Do you deserve a HIGHER VA disability rating by law?
- VA Claims Made Easy Data – Summary of Our Key Findings
- 10 Most Common Service Connected VA Disability Conditions
- Most Prevalent VA Disabilities for *NEW* VA Compensation Recipients in FY 2019
- Most Common VA Disabilities for *ALL* VA Compensation Recipients in FY 2019
- Average Combined VA Rating By Gender
- Total Estimated Annual Payments Made by VA to Disabled Veterans
- Most Common VA Disability Conditions by Gender
- Average VA Disability Rating by Body System
- About the Author
Do you deserve a HIGHER VA disability rating by law?
In our experience with over 10,000 disabled veterans, 8/10 (80%) are UNDERRATED by the VA…
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Veterans can use the information gleaned from this post to get a better understanding of some of the more interesting facts about the VA disability system, along with some of the easiest things to claim for VA disability.
Think of this post as your VA Claims Made Easy moment, to help you get “inside” the 8-step VA claim process and arm yourself with data to help you in your VA disability claim journey.
The information in this post was compiled using the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) 2019-2020 annual report to Congress about the VA disability compensation program.
We analyzed the entire 52-page VBA report, including data from 56 VA regional offices, 14,558 employees, and 4,944,275 veterans with a combined service-connected VA disability rating of 0% or higher.
Here’s a summary of our key findings about the VA disability compensation system.
VA Claims Made Easy Data – Summary of Our Key Findings
- The VA spends an estimated $84.6 billion per year in VA disability compensation payments to disabled veterans and surviving spouses
- Only 4,944,275 of the estimated 20,000,000 veterans in the United States have a combined VA disability rating of 0% or higher (just 24.7% of veterans)
- An estimated 75.3% of veterans in the United States do NOT receive any sort of VA disability compensation benefits from the VA…this is a bit shocking
- 4,944,275 veterans with a VA rating of 0% or higher have a total of 27,169,321 disability conditions service connected, meaning the average number of service-connected conditions per veteran is 5.50
- A tale of two extremes: The most common combined VA disability rating is 10% (18.2% of total) followed by veterans with a 100% VA rating (15.7% of total)
- Tinnitus (aka, “Ringing in the Ear Syndrome”) is still the #1 most common service-connected VA disability condition across all veteran demographics
- 76.7% of all service-connected mental health conditions are either Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or Chronic Adjustment Disorder (CAD)
- The average VA disability rating for mental health is 70%, and the most common service-connected mental health disability is PTSD, which represents 59.1% of all service connected mental health conditions
10 Most Common Service Connected VA Disability Conditions
- Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)
- Hearing loss
- Limitation of flexion, knee
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Lumbosacral or cervical strain (neck condition)
- Scars, general
- Paralysis of the sciatic nerve (sciatica and radiculopathy)
- Limitation of motion of the ankle
- Migraines (headaches)
- Limitation of motion of the arm
Most Prevalent VA Disabilities for *NEW* VA Compensation Recipients in FY 2019
|Limitation of flexion, knee||108,037|
|Lumbosacral or cervical strain||76,050|
|Limitation of motion of the arm||71,038|
|Scars, burns (2nd degree)||65,675|
|Limitation of motion of the ankle||55,028|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder||49,743|
|Paralysis of the sciatic nerve||42,314|
|Total number of most prevalent disabilities||782,270|
|Total number of disabilities||1,594,475|
Most Common VA Disabilities for *ALL* VA Compensation Recipients in FY 2019
|Limitation of flexion, knee||1,177,885|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder||1,118,041|
|Lumbosacral or cervical strain||1,063,781|
|Paralysis of the sciatic nerve||899,559|
|Limitation of motion of the ankle||705,073|
|Limitation of motion of the arm||567,656|
|Total number of most prevalent disabilities||10,658,699|
|Total number of disabilities||27,169,321|
Average Combined VA Rating By Gender
|Average Combined VA Disability Rating by Gender||Male||% Male||Female||% Female||Total||% Total|
Total Estimated Annual Payments Made by VA to Disabled Veterans
|Combined Service Connected VA Disability Rating||Total Estimated Annual Payments By VA Rating|
|Total Estimated Annual VA Disability Payments to Disabled Veterans||$84,665,293,361|
Most Common VA Disability Conditions by Gender
|VA Disability Condition||Body System||Male||%||Female||%||Total||% Total|
|Limitation of flexion, knee||Musculoskeletal||1,001,632||4.30%||170,710||4.90%||1,177,885||4.30%|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder||Mental||995,189||4.20%||112,144||3.20%||1,118,041||4.10%|
|Lumbosacral or cervical strain||Musculoskeletal||881,414||3.80%||175,907||5.10%||1,063,781||3.90%|
|Paralysis of the sciatic nerve||Neurological||808,583||3.40%||83,051||2.40%||899,559||3.30%|
|Limitation of motion of the ankle||Musculoskeletal||611,559||2.60%||89,933||2.60%||705,073||2.60%|
|Limitation of motion of the arm||Musculoskeletal||503,125||2.10%||62,079||1.80%||567,656||2.10%|
|Total most prevalent VA disabilities||9,424,990||40%||1,131,686||33%||10,658,699||39%|
|Total number of VA disabilities||23,457,597||100%||3,451,154||100%||27,169,321||100%|
Average VA Disability Rating by Body System
|VA Disability Body System||Total number||Percent of all VA disabilities||Average VA disability rating|
|Infection/ Immune/ Nutrition||53,933||0.20%||0%|
|Total All VA Disability Conditions||27,169,321||100%||Average VA Rating is 10%|
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).