Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. ED can have various causes, including physical, psychological, or a combination of both, and, unfortunately, it is a common condition among Veterans.
Combat injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other health issues often associated with military service increase the risk of ED. As of today, the VA does not typically assign a disability rating specifically for ED as a standalone condition.
However, if a Veteran believes that their ED is related to a service-connected disability or it is a result of a medical condition linked to their military service, they can file a claim with the VA for compensation.
Getting Rated for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
To get rated for ED you will need to establish the connection between the current ED and the conditions of your military service or a certain event that might have happened during your service, leading to a physical or mental trauma that may qualify you for disability benefits. Those can be an injury in the pelvic area, exposure, mental trauma from a certain event, etc.
Service-connected disabilities such as PTSD, various types of cancer, diabetes, or their treatment may also aggravate ED that may have existed before. In this case, the VA may consider ED as a secondary condition when determining the overall disability rating. It can help significantly increase your previously assigned VA disability rate.
ED as a Secondary Condition
The VA evaluates the connection between the primary and secondary conditions and estimates how ED may affect your overall health and well-being.
Here’s how it typically works:
1. Providing Evidence of Nexus
A key element in successfully claiming ED as a secondary condition is establishing a medical nexus or a connection between the primary disability and the ED. This may involve medical evidence, such as a physician’s statement or medical records, indicating that the primary disability has led to or is exacerbating the ED.
2. Filing a Claim
Next, you need to file a claim with the VA specifically addressing the secondary condition (VA Form 21-526EZ) and providing all relevant medical documentation and evidence supporting the connection between the primary and secondary conditions.
3. VA Evaluation
The VA will review the claim, including the evidence of the primary disability, its treatment, and the impact it has on the development of ED, and determine the validity of the secondary condition claim and whether it warrants a disability rating.
The VA will then assign a rating for the secondary condition, and the rating percentage will be based on the severity and impact of the ED, as well as its connection to the primary disability. The specific rating criteria and percentages for ED as a secondary condition will be based on the Genitourinary System ratings.
Genitourinary Ratings for ED
The VA rates ED under diagnostic Code 7522, which falls under the category of “Impairment of the Genitourinary System.” The rating for ED is determined based on the severity of the condition and its impact on the individual.
Here are the general rating criteria for ED:
- 0% Rating
A 0% rating means that ED is present but is not severe enough to qualify for compensation. These are the cases when there may be occasional or mild difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, but it does not significantly affect the individual’s ability to work or engage in daily activities.
- 10% Rating
A 10% rating may be assigned in cases of a more noticeable impact on sexual function, which still responds to therapy and treatment.
- 20% Rating
This rating indicates a significant impairment of the genitourinary system. A 20% rating is typically reserved for severe ED. This may involve a consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection, despite treatment or intervention, and a substantial impact on sexual function.
Special Monthly Compensation for ED
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a VA program that provides additional compensation to Veterans with service-connected disabilities who have specific, severe, or complex medical needs.
SMC is intended to provide you with extra financial assistance if you require regular aid and attendance or have lost the ability to use some essential body parts.
Veterans who suffer from ED caused by physical trauma or surgery in the pelvic area, which leads to loss or deformity of the penis, often qualify for benefits through SMC Category K (SMC-K.)
However, claiming SMC can be a pretty complex process. The VA will assess the specific circumstances and impact of the condition to determine whether you qualify for the program.
We strongly recommend consulting a qualified professional who will help you determine eligibility for compensation and navigate the application procedure.
How to Learn More
To learn more about the VA rating principles and procedures, contact your VCU specialist today! We offer a free 30-minute call, your first step towards claiming your honorably earned benefits and compensation.