Skip to content

August 10, 2022

Can I Get a VA Disability Rating for COVID-19? (The Insider’s Guide)

Last updated on March 7, 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.

The short answer is “yes,” you can get a VA disability rating for COVID-19.

However, the devil is in the details, and thus, many factors determine if a veteran’s “chronic residuals” due to COVID can be rated under the law.

COVID (by itself) does not have its own VA disability rating.

Rather, the VA will rate the “chronic residuals” from COVID under the most appropriate Diagnostic Code (DC), depending on the disability affected as well as the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms.

Effective January 5, 2021, 38 U.S.C. 1164 established presumptive service connection for the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Source: For more information on the establishment of presumptive service connection for COVID-19, see Public Law (PL) 116-315, Section 4101, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.

VA Raters Reveal 3 SECRET Strategies to INCREASE Your VA Rating FASTER!

VA Claim Secrets Free Webinar

So many veterans are stuckfrustrated, and underrated by the VA.

And we’re on a MISSION to change it so you and your family get the VA disability benefits you deserve for serving our country.

If you’re ready to increase your VA rating, regardless of past denials, checkout my brand-new FREE video training for 2023:

“VA CLAIM SECRETS: Top 3 Strategies to WIN Your VA Claim, PROVE Service Connection, and INCREASE Your VA Rating in Less Time!”

[Former VA Raters] Reveal SECRET VA Claim Tips & Strategies for Veterans…

Click the button below to launch the FREE training:

How Do I Prove Service Connection for COVID?

Service Connection for COVID

38 U.S.C 1164 provides that if symptoms of COVID-19 manifest within a defined period for individuals with qualifying service, COVID-19 shall be presumed to have occurred during the qualifying period of duty.

Important: While the law is specific to establishing service connection on a presumptive basis, there is no preclusion to other avenues of entitlement, such as

Reference: For more information on considering multiple theories of service connection, see M21-1, Part II, Subpart iii, 1.A.2.e.

What is the Qualifying Period for a Presumptive Service Connection for COVID?

Presumptive Service Connection for COVID

The qualifying service for presumptive service connection for COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Active duty from March 1, 2020, until January 5, 2024
  • Active duty for training (ADT) under Title 10 or full-time National Guard duty (as defined in Section 101 of Title 10) under orders issued on or after March 13, 2020, until January 5, 2024, or
  • Certain periods of inactive duty for training (IADT) during which COVID-19 is presumed to have been incurred occurring between March 13, 2020, and January 5, 2024.

References: For more information on

As noted in M21-1, Part VIII, Subpart iii, 10.1.e, when COVID-19 symptoms develop during an applicable qualifying period of service, the duty period must have been more than 48 hours for presumption to apply relative to exposure to COVID-19 during that period.

When COVID-19 manifests within the 14 days following a qualifying period of service, there is no minimum length of service for the qualifying period.

How Do VA Raters Determine Service Connection for COVID?

COVID VA Disability Rating

While the law only addresses presumptive service connection for COVID, depending on the veteran’s circumstances, it could also be connected via direct service connection, secondary service connection, or service connection by aggravation.

VA Raters should use the table below for guidance on determining whether to apply presumptive or direct service connection provisions for COVID-19:

If COVID-19 manifests …Then consider entitlement to service connection via …
During a period of active dutyDirect service connection
Within the 14-day period after separating from active dutyPresumptive service connection
A period of ADTDirect service connection
Within the 14-day period after separating from ADTPresumptive service connection
A period of IADTPresumptive service connection
Within the 14-day period after separating from IADTPresumptive service connection

What is the VA Disability Rating for COVID-19?

VA Disability Rating for COVID-19

COVID-19 is an acute infectious disease, and therefore, does not have its own VA rating.

Therefore, the COVID VA disability rating is “N/A.”

COVID can only be rated based on chronic residual condition(s) of other VA disabilities that can be rated.

If a veteran previously had COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, the VA Rater should deny the claim based on no evidence of a current, chronic disability.

Important: Do not arbitrarily determine that a chronic disability is not demonstrated without relying on competent medical evidence.

References: For more information on

38 CFR 4.88b advises to rate any residual disability of infection within the appropriate body system.  

As applicable, consider the long-term health effects potentially associated with the infectious disease. 

If COVID-19 was diagnosed and resolved during a period of qualifying service or any applicable presumptive period, any chronic residuals attributable to the disease may be service connected.

To select a proper VA rating for COVID, VA Raters should assign the most appropriate Diagnostic Code (DC) for residuals based on general rating principles.

Serious long-term complications of COVID in veterans may include, but are not limited to, the following types of issues:

  • Cardiovascular (inflammation of the heart muscle, heart attack, stroke, blood clots)
  • Skin (rash, hair loss)


  • Since the long-term effects of this disease are still being studied, decision makers must rely on the expertise of medical professionals to determine whether the chronic residual is due to COVID-19.  A medical nexus opinion will generally be required to determine whether a disability is a chronic residual of COVID-19.
  • Evaluations for pension purposes must be based on permanent residuals of COVID-19.

Reference:  For more information on requesting examinations in claims for service connection for residuals of COVID-19, see M21-1, Part VIII, Subpart iii, 10.5.

How Does Hospitalization Affect COVID VA Ratings?

Hospitalization for COVID VA Ratings

If a veteran is hospitalized due to a complication of COVID-19 for over 21 days, apply the provisions of 38 CFR 4.29 to assign a hospital rating.                      

  • Assign the hospital rating for the primary condition that warranted hospitalization.
  • If the primary cause of the hospitalization is unknown, consider reported symptoms and other evidence of record to determine the most appropriate disability for which to assign the hospitalization rating.
  • If the veteran remains hospitalized at the time the claim is considered, assign an open-ended hospital evaluation as warranted.
  • Following the hospitalization, assign an appropriate schedular evaluation for any chronic residual, applying 38 CFR 4.31 when appropriate.

Note: Application of 38 CFR 4.30 requires surgical treatment, which may occur for treatment of certain COVID-19 residuals.  However, do not apply the provisions of 38 CFR 4.30(a)(2) concerning the necessity of house confinement to a period of self-quarantine due to COVID-19 since self-quarantine would be unrelated to the surgical treatment.

References: For more information on

Looking for VA Claim Help? WE GOT YOUR SIX!

Click HERE now to join VA Claims Insider Elite, our premier education-based membership program, which also gets you discounted access to independent medical providers in our referral network for medical examinations, VA disability evaluations, and credible Nexus Letters for a wide range of conditions.

VA Claims Insider is the #1 most trusted name in VA disability claims:

  • VA Claims Insider is a highly-rated, veteran-owned and operated business.
  • 25,000+ disabled veterans served in our membership programs since 2016.
  • 30% average VA rating increase for veterans who complete our #1 rated Elite program.
  • Employs 144 teammates; comprised of 44 veterans and 12 military spouses.

We’re a company OF veterans, BY veterans, FOR veterans and we’ve helped 25,000+ veterans increase their VA rating since 2016!

At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans get the VA disability rating they deserve in less time, if you’ve already filed, been denied, or gave up.

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).

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 Ambassadors having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call