Most Common VA Disabilities

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Veterans often experience certain medical conditions as a result of military service that can cause permanent physical or mental health conditions. Many of these conditions qualify for VA disability pay under Veteran Benefits law. VA disability compensation offers a monthly tax-free payment to veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military. Veterans may qualify for VA disability benefits that developed before, during, or after service. These are some of the most common VA disabilities among the veteran population.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss issues that may be service-connected, and hearing loss issues that are aggravated by military service, affects veterans in all eras of service.  While hearing loss is most often thought of as being associated with combat, it can also be due to other causes, such as working around aircraft.  Usually, veterans are assigned a 10% disability rating for their service-connected hearing loss.


Tinnitus, an incessant ringing, buzzing or hissing in the ears, is one of the most common VA disability claims. It is a result of damages in the eardrum. It is especially prevalent in veterans due to frequent stress on the eardrums from exposure to loud noises. To receive a VA disability for tinnitus, a veteran must prove a service connection. The maximum VA disability rating for tinnitus is 10%


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that results from experiencing a distressing, shocking, or otherwise traumatic event. A veteran may be able to get VA disability benefits if they have symptoms related to a traumatic event and they meet all of these requirements: 

  • The traumatic event happened during their service, and
  • They can’t function as well as they once could because of their symptoms, and
  • A doctor has diagnosed the veteran with PTSD

What does the VA consider to be a traumatic event? Any of the following:

  • The veteran suffered a serious injury, personal or sexual trauma, or sexual violation, or
  • The veteran was threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death

Veterans receive one combined VA disability rating for PTSD that takes into account the full level of their impairment. All mental health conditions are rated on a scale from 0 to 100%. Veterans are most commonly assigned a 70% rating for PTSD.


Some veterans may be eligible for VA disability benefits for scars related to injuries like burns or gunshot wounds or from service-connected conditions that required surgery. The VA disability ratings for scars are usually quite low as the criteria to get above a 0% rating is difficult.  To do so, usually veterans must have more than one or two scars that are painful or unstable.  

Limitation of Flexion of the Knee

Limitation of flexion of the knee is one type of knee condition that can receive VA disability benefits. Other ratings available for the knee include instability of the knee, limitation of extension, knee replacements and more. Limitation of flexion of the knee refers to how much the knee can bend. The most common rating the VA assigns for limitation of flexion of the knee is 10%. 

Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain

Lumbosacral or cervical strain is disabling back and/or neck pain that can make even everyday tasks difficult. Pain is a common symptom of lumbosacral and cervical strain, as well as trouble bending and/or having limited range of motion. Lumbosacral and cervical strain are typically caused by overuse and trauma. These conditions are usually rated based on limitation of motion, as in how far the veteran can bend forward.The VA disability rating for lumbosacral and cervical strain range from 10 to 100%.

Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve

Paralysis of the sciatic nerve involves a reduction in movement and feeling of limbs and is often linked to back and neck problems. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body traveling from the lower back down through the legs. Common symptoms of sciatic nerve problems include numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and muscle weakness. The VA disability ratings go from 80% for complete paralysis of the sciatic nerve, which could cause all of the muscles in the leg to fail to work, to as low as 10% (the most common rating) for incomplete paralysis that is considered mild.

Limitation of Range of Motion of the Ankle

Ankle injuries are one of the most common disabilities suffered by veterans. The ankle will be evaluated for stability, flexion and extension before a disability rating is assigned. When rating limitations of motion of the ankle, veterans usually receive either a 10 or 20% disability rating.  


Migraines are recurring, painful headaches that may include intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head, nausea, vomiting, and/or extreme sensitivity to light or sound. They can last hours or days. Migraines usually prevent the veteran from working and going about their daily activities. To receive VA disability benefits for migraines, the migraines can be either directly connected to service or caused by a service-related condition, such as a neck injury. The VA’s disability ratings for migraines are based on the frequency and severity of the headaches and run from 10 to 50%.

Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine

Degenerative arthritis of the spine is a serious condition in which the protective cartilage that cushions the tops of bones wears down and degenerates. It is often accompanied by swelling, varying levels of pain and/or numbness and tingling in the upper or lower extremities.The VA does not rate degenerative arthritis of the spine under the arthritis diagnostic code as it usually results in such a low rating.  If the degenerative arthritis is established by X-ray findings, the veteran’s condition will be rated on the basis of limitation of motion for the specific joint or joints (in this case, the spine) involved. The VA’s disability rating for degenerative arthritis of the spine is from 0 to 50%.

Whether you suffer from any of these most common VA disabilities, or if you have questions about other condition’s eligibility for VA disability benefits, please call us at (404) 354-5432 to schedule your free consultation with a veterans disability attorney. We will work without end until you have the benefits promised to you.



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