According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, tinnitus is the #1 disability among veterans. In fact, it affects at least 1 in 10 American adults. Tinnitus makes you hear buzzing, ringing, or hissing sounds when it’s otherwise silent. This condition makes it harder to concentrate and complete day-to-day tasks. Many vets suffer exposure to loud noises during active military duty. Below, we’ll share tips for filing your VA disability claim.
Who’s Eligible to File a VA Disability Claim?
Before filing your VA disability claim, check to see if you’re eligible. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, only veterans discharged or separated from service under honorable conditions can file eligible claims. In addition, your tinnitus must link back to an injury or illness that occurred active military duty.
Military veterans applying for benefits must prove their condition comes directly from active service. First, collect all medical evidence related to your diagnosis. It helps if your doctor can vouch that you have a service-connected disability.
What’s the VA Disability Rating for Tinnitus?
The Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) system helps establish your occupational earning capacity with certain service-related conditions. Ratings for most physical as well as mental disabilities range anywhere from 0%-100%. If your medical condition isn’t listed, the VA uses a similar condition that is listed to determine your rating.
The VA lists tinnitus under Section 4.87, Schedule of Rating–Ear. Recurrent tinnitus gets a 10% VA disability rating. Here is what the VA looks at while evaluating your VA disability claim:
- A separate evaluation may be combined with an evaluation under diagnostic codes 6100, 6200, 6204, or other diagnostic code, except when tinnitus supports an evaluation under one of those diagnosed codes.
- Assign only a single evaluation for recurrent tinnitus, whether the sound is perceived in one ear, both ears, or the head.
- Objective tinnitus is not evaluated under this diagnosis code, but may be evaluated under an underlying condition.
Knowing the VA’s rules for tinnitus claims is important, since it only gets a 10% disability rating. If you can list multiple conditions in addition to tinnitus, you’re much more likely to qualify for disability compensation. And take heart, you’re not alone! Nearly 40% of pending VA disability claims today list eight or more unrated, service-connected conditions. Less than 1 in 3 first-time applicants list less than seven disabilities on their VA compensation claims.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
If your VA disability claim’s denied, get a VA-accredited attorney to file your appeal. In the last few years, 4 in every 5 disabled vets prevailed against the VA in court with help from their lawyers. Attorneys can help you collect proper medical evidence, check your claim status, and fight the VA without charging you anything up front.
Ready to see if you may qualify for legal assistance fighting the VA? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.