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February 14, 2024

VA Disability for Acid Reflux: Changes Coming Soon!

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Changes to VA disability for acid reflux could be coming by the summer or fall of 2024.


The VA has proposed to add a new Diagnostic Code (DC) 7206 for rating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Acid Reflux.

Traditionally, the VA rates Acid Reflux analogous to Hiatal Hernia under DC 7346, with VA disability ratings of 10%, 30%, or 60% depending on the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms.

However, under the new proposal, DC 7206 for Acid Reflux will now be rated under Esophageal Stricture, DC 7203, with new ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, or 80%.

It’s a strange proposition: The VA is adding a new DC 7206 for Acid Reflux; however, it will actually be rated under DC 7203 for Esophageal Stricture.

Esophageal stricture refers to the narrowing of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

I think this is bad news for veterans because the new VA rating criteria for Acid Reflux under “esophageal stricture” doesn’t contain any of the most common symptoms of Acid Reflux…

Thus, I think this change will result in veterans getting lower ratings for Acid Reflux than under the previous ratings analogous to Hiatal Hernia.

Alright, let’s explore the new Acid Reflux rating criteria in more detail.

What is the *New* Acid Reflux VA Rating Criteria?

Acid Reflux VA Rating Changes

The VA attempts to explain these changes: “The new rating criteria considers symptoms of esophageal obstruction and irritation, which are consistent with the symptoms of GERD and Acid Reflux.”

Overall, I’m very skeptical of this change because the new rating criteria for Acid Reflux only gives credit for acid reflux with “esophageal stricture,” which means you have difficulty swallowing.

However, many veterans with GERD and Acid Reflux experience symptoms such as:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which may worsen at night
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food particles or sour liquid
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat

If you have nighttime GERD with acid reflux, you might also experience:

  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Disrupted sleep and insomnia

Acid Reflux VA Disability Rating Changes: What is the Implementation Date?

The exact implementation date is not known; however, summer or fall of 2024 is our best guess.

Important: Once the VA finalizes these proposed changes, there is a 60 day “cooling off” period before the changes take effect.

What does this mean for you and your VA disability strategy?


I think you’re better off being rated under the old system analogous to Hiatal Hernia under DC 7346.

Pro Tip: If you already have a VA rating for GERD or acid reflux, you are “grandfathered in” under the old rating system. These new rating criteria will not affect your current disability rating.

VA Disability for Acid Reflux (2024 Proposed Update)

VA Disability for Acid Reflux, Rate As DC 7203, Esophagus, Stricture of:New VA Rating
Documented history of recurrent or refractory esophageal stricture(s) causing dysphagia with at least one of the symptoms present: (1) Aspiration, (2) undernutrition, and/or (3) substantial weight loss as defined by § 4.112(a) and treatment with either surgical correction or percutaneous esophago-gastrointestinal tube (PEG tube)80%
Documented history of recurrent or refractory esophageal stricture(s) causing dysphagia which requires at least one of the following (1) dilation 3 or more times per year, (2) dilation using steroids at least one time per year, or (3) esophageal stent placement50%
Documented history of recurrent or refractory esophageal stricture(s) causing dysphagia which requires dilatation no more than 2 times per year30%
Documented history of esophageal stricture(s) that requires daily medications to control dysphagia otherwise asymptomatic10%
Documented history without daily symptoms or requirement for daily medications0%
Note (#1): Findings must be documented by barium swallow, computerized tomography, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy 
Note (#2): Non-gastrointestinal complications of procedures should be rated under the appropriate system 
Note (#3): This diagnostic code applies, but is not limited to, esophagitis, mechanical or chemical; Mallory Weiss syndrome (bleeding at junction of esophagus and stomach due to tears) due to caustic ingestion of alkali or acid; drug-induced or infectious esophagitis due to Candida, virus, or other organism; idiopathic eosinophilic, or lymphocytic esophagitis; esophagitis due to radiation therapy; esophagitis due to peptic stricture; and any esophageal condition that requires treatment with sclerotherapy 
Note (#4): Recurrent esophageal stricture is defined as the inability to maintain target esophageal diameter beyond 4 weeks after the target diameter has been achieved 
Note (#5): Refractory esophageal stricture is defined as the inability to achieve target esophageal diameter despite receiving no fewer than 5 dilation sessions performed at 2-week intervals 

Read the Proposed VA Rating Changes for Acid Reflux

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

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).

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