What is the Most Common Disability?

May 27, 2022

Veterans all across the country approach the Department of Veterans Affairs for various service-connected disabilities, as many veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as a result of severe injuries or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), but some of the most common claims are all linked, directly or indirectly to Tinnitus 

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a term used to describe the sensation of noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is frequently an indication of a more serious issue, such as hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system problem. This is characterized by phantom noises in the ears, such as buzzing, roaring, ringing, clicking, hissing, or humming. It is the most widely claimed condition among veterans, according to the VA’s 2019 report, with over 183 000 compensation beneficiaries. This is likely because Veterans are regularly exposed to loud noises such as gunshots, machinery, armoured vehicles, and aircraft. 

It’s important to note that service-connection is not contingent on a specific diagnosis of tinnitus. Veterans can instead offer a subjective report of their symptoms, which is sufficient to demonstrate that they fit the rating criteria. The VA (Veterans Affairs) will then determine whether your tinnitus is related to your service or not.

Rating Tinnitus

The VA will give a disability rating depending on the severity of your disability after you establish a service-connection for tinnitus. Under 38 CFR 4.87, tinnitus is classed as a Schedule of Ratings – Ear, Diagnostic Code 6260 and it also has the highest schedular rating of 10%, and receiving greater than that on an additional schedular basis is highly rare for veterans. Tinnitus affects 93.6 percent of all veterans, according to the VA. Most importantly, this single 10% impairment assessment takes both ears into account.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a rating process for service-connected medical issues, disabilities, and diseases. Veterans who submit claims to the VA for these issues must be evaluated by the VA and assigned a disability percentage rating.

All these steps are common knowledge for those who must navigate the system. The most common disabilities are NOT necessarily the most highly rated–in fact, in some cases, you can only earn a 10% rating from the VA for certain conditions such as hearing damage or tinnitus.

It is important for Veterans to know what the most common claims are because they might not consider themselves to be suffering from a physical or mental condition at first–until they have symptoms, experiences, and other issues put into context.

For any military career field that requires work around active runways, constantly turning motors or jet engines, gunfire, ordnance, or even heating and air conditioning work can bring hearing damage over the long term. This is why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this list of the most common issues.

If you have been denied service connection for your disability, contact a seasoned Veterans Advocacy lawyer at the Law Office of Andrew P. Gross.