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January 5, 2021

VA Disability Rating for Asthma Explained!

Last updated on February 22, 2024

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

In this guide, we will be exploring how to get a VA disability rating for asthma.

We’ll break down how VA disability for asthma is rated, basic eligibility criteria, common secondary conditions to asthma, and more.

We’ll also reveal three “Insider” tips to increase your VA rating for asthma, even if you’ve already filed or been denied.

Let’s get started.


Can I Get VA Disability for Asthma?

Yes, asthma is a VA disability that can be rated at 10%, 30%, 60%, or 100% depending upon the frequency, severity, and duration of your symptoms.

Asthma is a bronchial disorder most commonly rated under CFR 38, Part 4, VA Schedule of Ratings, Diagnostic Code 6602, Asthma, Bronchial.

VA Disability for Asthma

Let’s take a minute to explore the law regarding the symptoms and impairment required to warrant a VA rating for asthma.

Many veterans suffer from various heart and lung conditions, including asthma.

In addition, numerous research studies have shown a link between bronchial asthma and obstructive sleep apnea; there is a bidirectional relationship where each disorder adversely influences the other one.

Your final VA rating for asthma depends upon the frequency and severity of symptoms, meaning the more severe your symptoms, the higher your asthma VA rating.


VA Disability Rating for Asthma: Basic Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for an asthma VA rating, a veteran must meet three (3) criteria by law:

  • #1. Medical diagnosis of Asthma in a medical record (Service Treatment Records, VA medical records, or private medical records)
  • #2. Your Asthma was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service (“Nexus” for service connection)
  • #3. Persistent and recurring symptoms of Asthma (“Severity of Symptoms”)

If you think you have a respiratory condition such as asthma but don’t have a medical diagnosis, pick up the phone and call the VA mental health facility nearest you to make an appointment right away!

If you’re trying to increase your VA disability rating for asthma, you need to prove to the VA that your symptoms are now worse and warrant a higher asthma VA rating by law.

The #1 best way to increase your VA rating for asthma is to get a private independent psychological evaluation and tell your uncomfortable truths about the severity of your symptoms.

Detailed Asthma VA Rating Criteria

DC 6602 VA Disability Rating for Asthma, Bronchial:VA Rating

FEV-1 less than 40-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC less than 40 percent, or; more than one attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure, or; requires daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immuno-suppressive medications


FEV-1 of 40- to 55-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 40 to 55 percent, or; at least monthly visits to a physician for required care of exacerbations, or; intermittent (at least three per year) courses of systemic (oral or parenteral) corticosteroids


FEV-1 of 56- to 70-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 56 to 70 percent, or; daily inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy, or; inhalational anti-inflammatory medication


FEV-1 of 71- to 80-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 71 to 80 percent, or; intermittent inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy


*Note: In the absence of clinical findings of asthma at time of examination, a verified history of asthmatic attacks must be of record. 
VA Disability Ratings for Asthma

How to Service Connect Your Asthma

To VA disability for asthma, you must meet the following requirements for service connection:

  1. A current medical diagnosis of asthma 
  2. An in-service event, injury, illness, or aggravation
  3. A medical nexus (or link) between the current diagnosis and the in-service event, injury, or illness (can be a Nexus Letter)

Need a Medical Nexus Letter for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Secondary to Asthma?

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Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.


How to File a VA Claim for Asthma 

You can file a claim for VA disability for asthma using the following five steps:

  1. Gather Documentation: Collect medical records showing current diagnosis, test results, service records, and other evidence, such as a medical Nexus Letter or Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) linking your asthma to your military service.
  2. Complete VA Form 21-526EZ: Fill out this form to apply for disability compensation. Include details about your exposure, symptoms, and how it affects your daily life.
  3. Submit Your Asthma VA Claim: Send the completed form and supporting documents to the VA regional office handling your claim. You can submit it online through the VA website, by mail, or in person.
  4. Undergo Examinations: The VA might schedule you for medical examinations (including a possible asthma C&P exam) to evaluate the extent of your asthma.
  5. Await the Decision: The VA will review your asthma VA claim, considering the evidence provided.

The VA will notify you of their decision regarding your eligibility for a VA rating for asthma, including VA benefits and compensation.

Common VA Secondary Conditions to Asthma

Sleep Apnea Secondary to Asthma

By law, service connection may be established on a secondary basis for a disability that is proximately due to or the result of service-connected disease or injury. See 38 CFR § 3.310(a).  

Establishing service connection on a secondary basis requires evidence sufficient to show (1) a Medical diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and (2) that the Sleep Apnea was either (a) proximately caused by or (b) proximately aggravated by a service-connected disability. Allen v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 439, 448 (1995).

When there is an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence (50/50) regarding any issue material to the determination of a matter, the Secretary shall give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant.  38 USCA § 5107; 38 CFR § 3.102; see also Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49, 53 (1990).

To service connect Sleep Apnea secondary to Asthma, you’ll need to get an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) “Medical Nexus Letter” to support the connection between Sleep Apnea and Asthma.

Recent medical research discusses the bidirectional relationship between sleep apnea and asthma and several studies support the finding of asthma worsening sleep apnea and vice versa. 

There are direct mechanical effects of asthma worsening sleep apnea beyond its natural progression.

Here’s a recent BVA case decision where a veteran got service-connected for obstructive sleep apnea secondary to asthma.  

Asthma in Veterans

According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing more difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

For some veterans, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities (e.g., work, life, and social functioning) and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

While asthma can’t be cured, its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust your treatment as needed.

VA Rating Asthma Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms of Asthma in Veterans

Asthma symptoms vary from veteran to veteran.

You may have intermittent asthma attacks, such as after exercising, or you may have symptoms all the time.

Your final VA rating for asthma will depend upon the severity of your symptoms.

Asthma signs and symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Difficulty sleeping

Signs that your asthma disability is probably worsening

  • Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
  • Increasing difficulty breathing, as measured with a device used to check how well your lungs are working (peak flow meter)
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

Asthma signs and symptoms flareups

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases, or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mold spores, cockroach waste, or particles of skin and dried saliva shed by pets (pet dander)

VA Disability for Asthma (FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an asthma VA disability rating?

Yes. VA disability for asthma is rated at 10%, 30%, 60%, or 100%, depending upon the frequency, severity, and duration of your asthma symptoms.

What is the highest asthma VA disability rating?

The highest VA disability rating for asthma is 100%. 

How is asthma VA disability determined?

Your asthma VA disability is determined by the frequency, severity, and duration of your symptoms.

How can I prove my asthma VA disability?

To prove VA disability for asthma, you must provide the following information:

  • Medical diagnosis of Asthma in a medical record (Service Treatment Records, VA medical records, or private medical records)
  • Your Asthma was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service (“Nexus” for service connection)
  • Persistent and recurring symptoms of Asthma (“Severity of Symptoms”)

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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