Updates Proposed to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities
The VA Proposes Updates for Respiratory, Auditory, and Medical Disorders
Some changes could be coming to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities having to do with respiratory, auditory, and medical disorders. This will enable the VA to incorporate modern medical data and terminology to provide veterans with more accurate and consistent decisions.
The plan would be to incorporate modern medical data and to accurately compensate based on these changes. The new rules have been posted at the Federal Register and veterans and the public will be able to comment on them for the next 60 days. This means it is not being changed at the moment, just being proposed as a possible update to the VA rating system for disabilities.
Proposed Changes by VA
Here is what is being proposed:
- Sleep Apnea – Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that happens when your breathing stops and starts while you are sleeping. The change would modernize the rating criteria for sleep apnea. This would include rating a veteran at 0% if a CPAP or other treatment would help treat all of their symptoms. This would mean they would not receive compensation.
- Respiratory – For respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD, the rules would slightly lower the requirements needed for a 100% rating.
- Tinnitus – For tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears, the change would look at it as a symptom of an underlying disease instead of a stand-alone disability as it does now.
- Mental Health – For mental health, the minimum rating would change from 0% to 10% and they would get rid of the rule that veterans couldn’t get a 100% rating for a mental health condition if they are able to work. Instead of evaluating mental health conditions based on the number and type of symptoms present, they will do so in a more robust and holistic way. They would evaluate how impactful the disability is across five different domains. They are Cognition, interpersonal interactions and relationships, task completion, life activities and navigating environments, and self-care.
No Impact for Veterans Currently Receiving Compensation
In a quote from a news release posted 02/15/2022, Thomas Murphy, Northeast district director stated that “Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition in these body systems will not have their disability rating impacted when the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is updated. Updating the rating schedule allows Veterans to receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge relating to their condition.”
This means that these changes wouldn’t take away any existing benefits and lower a current veteran’s disability rating. It will however allow a veteran to increase their benefits because of these changes.
Currently, if a veteran with no dependents is receiving a 10% rating their payment would be $152.64 a month, vs $3,332.06 a month if they are rated at 100%.
Conditions Updated by VA Since 2017
Since 2017, the VA has updated the following conditions:
- Dental and Oral Conditions
- Endocrine System
- Gynecological Conditions and Disorders of the Breast
- Organs of Special Sense (eye conditions)
- Hematologic and Lymphatic Systems
- Infectious Diseases, Immune Disorders, and Nutritional Deficiencies
- Musculoskeletal System and Muscle Injuries
- Genitourinary and Cardiovascular Systems
This change could be a good one, allowing the rating system to reflect a more modern evaluation method. Veterans and the public have until April 18th, 2022 to leave a comment on these proposed rules.
- VA Expands Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
- Tax Free Military Retirement Pay In These States
- New Legislation Impacting the Veteran Community
- VA Enrollment May Become Automatic for Transitioning Veterans
- Nation’s Finest: Veteran Support Program
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.