Increased VA Disability Ratings for Joint Pain and Arthritis (2022)

If you’re a veteran who suffers from joint pain or arthritis, you know how debilitating it is and the severe impact your condition can have on your daily life.

Countless veterans have disability ratings of only 50% or lower for these types of conditions when they might be eligible for significantly higher ratings — others have disability ratings of only 80% when they might be eligible for a 100% disability rating.

Arthritis and joint pain can worsen with time, warranting an increase to an existing VA disability rating. You may also have developed a secondary condition that should have been factored into the rating.

Increasing your VA disability rating for arthritis or joint pain can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

Read on to learn more about the VA ratings for joint pain and arthritis and how you may be able to get a higher disability rating to receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled from the VA.

What You’ll Learn in This Article:

  • VA Disability Rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Total Disability / Individual Unemployability for Arthritis and Joint Pain Conditions (TDIU)
  • VA Disability Rating for Arthritis in Hands
  • VA Disability Ratings for Knee Joint Pain and Arthritis
  • Can I Get a 100% Disability Rating for Joint Pain?
  • How Can I Increase My VA Disability Rating for Joint Pain and Arthritis?
  • Total Disability Rating for Joint Replacement Surgery
  • Increasing Your VA Rating by Combining Multiple Disabilities
  • Get Help With Increasing Your Joint Pain and Arthritis Disability Rating

VA Disability Rating for Rheumatoid Arthritis

VA disability ratingsfor rheumatoid arthritis start at 20% for one or two painful flareups per year. The disability rating increases based on how many flareups you experience annually and how they affect your daily life.

Three episodes of rheumatoid arthritis flareups each year can increase your disability rating to 40%. Four or more painful flareups can cause your disability rating to go up to 60%. Typically to get a 60% rating, you also need to demonstrate to the VA that you have other symptoms associated with the condition such as weight loss, anemia, and a decline in overall health. You can increase a 60% disability rating for rheumatoid arthritis by combining multiple disabilities, or by qualifying for TDIU to receive compensation equivalent to a 100% disability rating.

Increased VA Disability Ratings for Joint Pain and Arthritis (1)

If multiple areas of the body are affected, you may be able to show that your rheumatoid arthritis condition is incapacitating, warranting a 100% disability rating.

When you go for your C&P exam, it’s important to inform the doctor of your flareups and how they affect you. Providing sufficient evidence of the pain you experience may be able to help significantly increase your rating.

Essentially, the difference in conditions between a veteran who receives a 60% rating and a 100% rating depends on whether rheumatoid arthritis causes them to be bedridden and completely incapable of doing chores, household tasks, their daily activities, and working.

Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.

(Video) Osteoarthritis VA Disability Ratings: An Old Military Injury That You May Have Ignored Until Now

Total Disability / Individual Unemployability for Arthritis and Joint Pain Conditions (TDIU)

Even when conditions are completely debilitating, many veterans only have an 80% disability rating for arthritis and conditions related to joint pain. However, even without a 100% disability rating, you may be eligible for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) if you cannot carry out substantially gainful employment due to your arthritis or joint pain.

TDIU is the equivalent of a 100% disability rating, entitling you to the same amount of compensation each month. While your disability rating is meant to reflect how your condition affects your daily life, TDIU is intended to compensate you for the impact your service-related disability has on your employment.

Generally, you may be eligible for TDIU if you have one service-connected condition with a disability rating of 60%, or if you have two or more service-connected conditions with a combined rating of 70% or more and one of the conditions has at least a 40% disability rating.

The Ultimate Guide to VA Individual Unemployability: TDIU

VA Disability Rating for Arthritis in Hands

Joint pain and arthritis in the hands is a common condition faced by veterans. It can occur in or near the wrist, thumb, or fingers. Arthritis can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which can result in complete paralysis of the hand, warranting a disability rating of up to 70% for your dominant hand. You may be able to increase this rating if you also have symptoms of “trigger finger.”If you have lost the use of your hand and are can no longer work, you may be eligible for TDIU.

If you have joint pain or osteoarthritis in both hands, the rating for each disability can be combined for an increased rating. If arthritis has caused you to lose function in your hands, you may also be entitled to Special Monthly Compensation.

1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—and
2. You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.

Taken from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/

Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about how SMC (Special Monthly Compensation) works to help you get more money for extra expenses related to your disabling condition every month.

VA Disability Ratings for Knee Joint Pain and Arthritis

Knee pain is rated by the VA under various diagnostic codes depending on the condition causing the pain. A VA disability rating for knee tendonitis or joint pain may also be based on your range of motion during your VA disability knee exam.

While each condition that causes knee joint pain is assigned a rating based on its severity, your disability rating may be increased based on VA secondary conditions to knee pain.

Increased VA Disability Ratings for Joint Pain and Arthritis (2)

VA disability for arthritis in the knee is generally determined through range of motion testing. However, if you have a satisfactory range of motion but there is still pain, the VA will look to X-ray evidence for evidence of arthritis and assign a 10% or 20% disability rating. Arthritis in the knees often gives rise to secondary conditions which can increase your rating.

(Video) Arthritis Pain May Qualify for VA Disability Benefits

You may also be able to increase a disability rating for knee pain by combining the VA’s bilateral factor. Depending on the combined rating of your disabilities, the bilateral factor can bump you up to a rating of 80% or more. The bilateral factor takes into consideration that a disability affecting both knees (or arms, legs, etc.) can result in further difficulties. It adds 10% to the combined disability rating.

VA Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Can I Get a 100% Disability Rating for Joint Pain?

Some joint pain conditions are rated higher by the VA than others. Generally, the difference between a veteran who receives a lower rating and one who receives a higher rating depends on how many painful episodes occur within one year and the impairments associated with them. For example, two veterans may have the same arthritic condition, but the veteran who has more flareups each year will receive a higher rating. The VA will also consider whether arthritis is an overall condition in the body — such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis — or if it occurs in specific joints.

Talk to Us About Your Claim:(866) 232-5777

Typically, the VA will look to medical evidence to determine your rating such as blood tests as well as X-rays and MRIs of the joints that are affected. It will also consider how much pain you experience and the effect of the condition on your everyday life.

Rheumatoid arthritis often worsens over time. It’s possible to increase a rating for rheumatoid arthritis to 100% when there is sufficient medical evidence that your condition has become completely incapacitating.

Veterans who have less than a 100% rating for joint pain or osteoarthritis may be able to increase their rating by having each joint considered individually. Each joint may receive a separate disability rating under different diagnostic codes that can make your rating closer to reaching 100% when combined. For example, if osteoarthritis is present in one joint, but another has a torn ACL, your disability rating will increase because each joint’s condition is evaluated separately. The same applies if you are assigned a 50% rating for degenerative disc disease in the spine — adding additional joint conditions to your combined rating may be able to get you to a rating of 80% or higher, depending on the rating assigned to each.

Arthritis Patients that Took Xeljanz:

Did you take Xeljanz for at least one year? Have you been diagnosed with cancer, blood clots, or a heart problem?

Xeljanz is a medicine prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and colitis.
If you had any of these conditions and took Xeljanz, contact us to see if your side-effects qualify for this case.

See if you qualify

(Video) Rheumatoid Arthritis VA Claims: How To Get The Highest Rating For Your Veterans Disability Benefits
How The VA Disability Bilateral Factor Affects Veterans Ratings

How Can I Increase My VA Disability Rating for Joint Pain and Arthritis?

Since arthritis worsens over time, you should consider having your condition reviewed every few years. If you’re already receiving VA disability benefits for joint pain or arthritis and your current rating no longer reflects the severity of your condition, you may be able to file for anincreaseto your disability benefits.

There are a few different ways you canrequest an increasein an existing disability rating. This can be done by filing:

  • A request for an increased VA disability rating usingVA Form 21-526EZ
  • A Notice of Disagreement
  • A claim for a secondary service-related disability
  • A supplemental claim

You may also be able to file an appeal within one year of the VA’s decision on your claim. An experienced VA attorney can advise you concerning how best to request an increase in your disability rating based on your particular circumstances and condition.

We help veterans appeal for higher VA ratings every day.Call us.

Total Disability Rating for Joint Replacement Surgery

You may be eligible for a temporary increase of a 100% disability rating if you have been hospitalized for more than 21 days for joint replacement surgery. You may also be eligible for a 100% disability rating during the time period in which you are convalescing.

If you underwent a full knee replacement surgery, you would receive a disability rating of 100% for the first year following the surgery. Partial knee replacements are also eligible to receive 100% disability in the first year following the procedure.

It may be difficult to get 100% TDIU from one disability, but here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about common disabilities that add up to a 100% combined rating.

Increasing Your VA Rating by Combining Multiple Disabilities

One way your disability rating can be increased is by combining multiple disabilities. The VA uses aCombined Rating Tableto determine your compensation when factoring in more than one condition. By combining multiple disabilities, you may be able to get your disability rating up to 80% or higher depending on the rating assigned to each.

(Video) A Vet Might Get VA Disability Benefits for Knee Pain from a Variety of Different Conditions

It’s critical to understand that the VA doesn’t add your disability ratings, but rather, it combines them using a specific formula based on the “whole person remaining” concept. (What most of us call ‘VA Math’.) The combined ratings are then calculated by rounding up to the nearest ten.

Use our free VA Disability Calculator to estimate your combined VA rating and monthly entitlement here.

Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.

Get Help With Increasing Your Joint Pain and Arthritis Disability Rating

Going through the process of getting your disability rating increased for joint pain or arthritis can be confusing and overwhelming. If you have arthritis or joint pain issues, the VA disability lawyers at Woods and Woods can help ensure you get the highest disability rating that you’re qualified to get.

A family-owned business since 1985, our lawyers have helped thousands of veterans who are entitled to disability benefits get the highest disability rating they deserve for their service-connected joint pain and arthritis. We also assist the surviving spouses of deceased service members to obtain the benefits to which they’re entitled.

We never charge a fee to help you apply for disability benefits or increase your disability rating — you only pay if we are successful and win your case case.

Contact ustoday to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help increase your VA rating for joint pain and arthritis.

If I apply for arthritis VA disability but I should also get a rating for someting else like tinnitus, won’t the VA add that automatically?

The VA is required to give you the best of everyting, but over 30% of VA decisions end up being wrong. You want to make sure you apply for every benefit you deserve, and don’t leave it to the VA to figure it out.

Can I get backpay on my VA disability if they increase my rating?

Only if you win a CUE case. You would have to show that it should have always been rated higher, not that your condition is getting worse.

(Video) VA Disability for Arthritis

FAQs

How much is arthritis for VA disability? ›

Degenerative arthritis will be rated at 10 or 20 percent based upon the number of joints/joint groups affected and the level of incapacitation. VA requires that limitation of motion be confirmed by observations such as swelling, muscle spasms, or evidence of painful motion.

What is the average VA rating for arthritis? ›

Degenerative arthritis, caused by overuse of the joints or an injury, is the most common form of arthritis in veterans and is rated under Diagnostic Code 5003. Veterans receive either a 10% or 20% rating depending on the severity of their symptoms and the number of joints affected.

What is the VA rating for arthritis in both knees? ›

VA's Major Joint Rule and Arthritis of the Knees

If a veteran has confirmation of arthritis through x-ray evidence, VA should assign either a 10 or 20 percent disability rating based on the severity of the arthritis and whether it affects one or both knees.

How does the VA rate joint pain? ›

VA rates rheumatoid arthritis under 38 C.F.R. 4.71(a) diagnostic code 5002. The ratings range from 0 to 100% disabling and depend mostly on the number of incapacitating episodes a veteran experiences due to their rheumatoid arthritis.

Is arthritis a permanent VA disability? ›

Because arthritis is so prevalent in soldiers and veterans, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determined that this condition is service-connected if diagnosed within a year of discharge. However, if symptoms of arthritis present in later years, you may still be eligible for VA disability.

How do you prove arthritis? ›

What imaging techniques may be used to diagnose arthritis?
  1. X-ray. X-rays may show joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis. ...
  2. Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves (not radiation) to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). ...
  4. Arthroscopy.

Is degenerative arthritis the same as osteoarthritis? ›

Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is the most common type of arthritis because it's often caused by the wear and tear on a joint over a lifetime. It is most often found in the hands, knees, hips and spine.

What knee problems qualify for VA disability? ›

This refers to the range of motion a person has when their knee is moving towards the body. This is the most common knee problem eligible for VA disability benefits, with ratings that typically range from 10% to 30%.

What is the highest VA disability rating for knee pain? ›

The highest rating available for residuals of the total knee replacement is 60%. A 60% rating will be assigned when there is weakness and severe pain with motion.

What is the average VA disability rating for knee pain? ›

If your claim is approved, you will receive a specific disability rating that corresponds to the amount of monthly compensation you can receive. In order to receive disability benefits from the VA for knee pain, you will need to receive at least a 10 percent disability rating after filing your claim.

What are 5 symptoms of arthritis? ›

What are the symptoms of arthritis?
  • Pain.
  • Redness.
  • Stiffness.
  • Swelling.
  • Tenderness.
  • Warmth.
Apr 15, 2021

What type of arthritis qualify for disability? ›

SSA recognizes inflammatory arthritis could qualify as a disabling disease if it is accompanied by the following findings. Deformity or swelling of an ankle, knee, or hip joint with: At least two of the following symptoms: fever, loss of weight, fatigue, or a general feeling of discomfort.

What is the most painful type of arthritis? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis can be one of the most painful types of arthritis; it affects joints as well as other surrounding tissues, including organs. This inflammatory, autoimmune disease attacks healthy cells by mistake, causing painful swelling in the joints, like hands, wrists and knees.

Is arthritis considered a joint disease? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints. Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.

How severe can arthritis pain be? ›

Symptoms vary from mild to severe and may come and go. Some may stay about the same for years, but symptoms can also progress and get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, difficulty performing daily activities and make walking and climbing stairs painful and grueling.

What does moderately severe arthritis mean? ›

Symptoms of 'Level 2' include more constant aches and occasional severe pains often affecting the whole knee or hip. At this stage your cartilage is worn and there are some bald patches (i.e. the tyre thread is wearing low).

How do you prove arthritis is service connected? ›

How is a Service Connection Established for Arthritis? To establish a service connection for arthritis, a veteran must prove that the condition was a result of an event that occurred during service, such as an in-service injury or overuse of a joint during a service-related task that caused the condition to develop.

How does arthritis of the knee feel? ›

There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee: Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises (crepitus). Difficulty walking. Joint pain that changes (gets better or worse) depending on the weather.

What is the VA rating for hip pain? ›

Hip replacement Hip pain VA rating

You qualify for at least 30% VA disability compensation for hip pain after a knee or joint surgery. If you have a hip replacement, the VA will consider you disabled for one year. After the one year, they will give you a permanent rating based on how severe your hip problem is.

What is the VA rating for neck pain? ›

Can I get VA Disability for neck muscle pain? Yes, as long as the neck pain is service-connected, you can qualify for VA Disability. It will be rated the minimum 10% unless there is limited motion that qualifies for a higher rating.

How does the VA check range of motion? ›

Range of motion is arguably the most important factor VA considers when evaluating a veteran's back pain or condition. To ensure accuracy when measuring the veteran's range of motion, VA is required to use a specific instrument known as a goniometer (i.e., an instrument used for the precise measurement of angles).

Can knee pain be secondary to back pain? ›

Yes. The sciatic nerve, which is one of the spinal nerves, connects from your low back, through your leg into your knee. Sciatica feels like a shooting pain running from your lower back, down your leg, and can contribute to knee pain.

How do I prove my knee is service connected? ›

We can also use a professional medical opinion to prove to the VA that your injury resulted from your military service. This involves having your doctor issue a professional opinion that your military service — and, more specifically, an event during that service — caused or contributed to your injury.

What is knee flexion limitation? ›

Limitation of leg flexion is rated 0 percent when limited to 60 degrees, 10 percent when limited to 45 degrees, and 20 percent when limited to 30 degrees. 38 C.F.R.

How do you prove arthritis is service connected? ›

How is a Service Connection Established for Arthritis? To establish a service connection for arthritis, a veteran must prove that the condition was a result of an event that occurred during service, such as an in-service injury or overuse of a joint during a service-related task that caused the condition to develop.

How does the VA rate rheumatoid arthritis? ›

VA rates rheumatoid arthritis under Diagnostic Code 5002. Rheumatoid arthritis can be evaluated up to 100 percent if it results in complete incapacitation, such as causing the veteran to be bedridden. Lower ratings may be given for occasional incapacitating episodes.

Can you get disability for arthritis? ›

Many people may wonder is arthritis a disability. Yes. Arthritis can prompt incapacity, as can numerous other mental and physical conditions. If your arthritis confines your daily movements, or activities you may qualify for disability benefits.

Can I claim disability for arthritis? ›

Arthritis can be considered disability by the SSA. If you suffer from arthritis that is so severe you are going to be unable to work for at least 12 months and you meet the work requirements as well, the SSA will deem you disabled and you will be able to earn disability benefits.

What is the VA rating for hip pain? ›

Hip replacement Hip pain VA rating

You qualify for at least 30% VA disability compensation for hip pain after a knee or joint surgery. If you have a hip replacement, the VA will consider you disabled for one year. After the one year, they will give you a permanent rating based on how severe your hip problem is.

What are the 3 main types of arthritis? ›

Arthritis Types
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Childhood Arthritis.

Is there a difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis? ›

The main difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the cause behind the joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks the body's joints. It may begin any time in life.

Is joint pain a disability? ›

If your joint pain or immobility is severe enough to meet or equal the listing, you will be considered disabled. The listing for major dysfunction of a joint is 1.02. It has 2 parts: A and B. You will meet the listing and be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you meet either of the two parts.

How hard is it to get disability for osteoarthritis? ›

In order to be approved for SSDI benefits, your documentation and medical records will need to show that you meet one or more of the listing requirements and that the pain you suffer from osteoarthritis is severe enough to keep you from working and it impacts your ability to perform your routine daily tasks.

What are the different stages of arthritis? ›

Stages of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stage 1. Stage 1 is early stage RA. Many people feel joint pain, stiffness, or swelling. ...
  • Stage 2. Stage 2 is moderate-stage RA. ...
  • Stage 3. Once RA has progressed to stage 3, it's considered severe. ...
  • Stage 4. At stage 4, there's no longer inflammation in the joint.

Is hip arthritis a disability? ›

While there is no specific disability listing for a degenerative hip joint, the condition is likely to be considered an abnormality of a major joint, which is the subject of listing 1.18 of Social Security's listings.

Videos

1. VA Claims: Arthritis Ratings Explained (Part 1)
(VA MADNESS)
2. How Does The VA Rate My Arthritis Disability?
(Cuddigan Law)
3. VA Disability for Knee Conditions & Pain
(Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD)
4. Winning VA Disability for Knee Injuries
(Cuddigan Law)
5. Bilateral Factor VA Ratings for VA Disability Claims
(Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD)
6. VETERANS TAX FREE BENEFITS| HOW 2 GET INCREASED RATING FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED ORTHOPEDIC DISABILITIES
(TXC Tells All)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 08/29/2022

Views: 6135

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.