VA Disability Rating for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction occurs when a male cannot sustain an erection during sexual intercourse. The condition is common in military veterans, especially those who suffer from mental disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety due to their time in service. While the VA doesn’t have a specific disability rating for erectile dysfunction, obtaining monthly benefits is still possible through a special monthly compensation rating. Veterans Guide explains how to qualify for a VA rating for erectile dysfunction.
Your time in the military was likely unforgettable. However, your military service may have resulted in physical or mental conditions that negatively impact your health. One condition that many male veterans experience is erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction occurs when a male cannot sustain an erection during sexual intercourse. The impacts of erectile dysfunction can be highly detrimental, as sexual intercourse is an important component of a fulfilling and rewarding life. Sexual disorders can harm self-esteem and negatively impact relationships.
While the VA has no specific disability rating for erectile dysfunction, it does recognize the condition through several related listings related to the genitals. For example, you might qualify for a VA disability rating if you experienced an accident that deformed or harmed your penis.
Additionally, erectile dysfunction can be related to another service-connected disabling condition like diabetes or post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, you may be able to claim the condition as a secondary disability.
Veterans and Erectile Dysfunction
While erectile dysfunction typically stems from other physical or mental disorders, it can also arise from trauma to the penis, such as an injury sustained in combat or an accident.
A few risk factors for erectile dysfunction include obesity, smoking, penis injuries, and alcohol consumption. Medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction, as can psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.
Known causes of erectile dysfunction include the following:
- High cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Certain sleep disorders
- Surgeries that impact the penis or surrounding tissues
- Low testosterone
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
If you notice problems during sexual intercourse, like getting or sustaining an erection, you must speak with a physician. You may have erectile dysfunction.
How Does the VA Rate Erectile Dysfunction?
The VA rates erectile dysfunction under its rating schedule for genitourinary system diagnoses. Erectile dysfunction is rated 0 percent, regardless of whether there is a deformity of the penis.
To meet the VA’s requirements for erectile dysfunction, you’ll need to show that you have a medical diagnosis. You’ll also need to connect erectile dysfunction to your military service. For instance, if you suffered an injury to the pelvic area during your time in the military or experienced mental trauma from a specific event, that may qualify you for disability benefits.
You might also show that another service-connected disability aggravates the erectile dysfunction you already have a rating for, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or prostate cancer. It helps to demonstrate that your erectile dysfunction hurts your relationships or other aspects of your life.
While the 0 percent rating does not generally provide any compensation in itself, it may entitle you to pursue compensation through a couple of other routes.
Other Genitourinary Ratings That May Apply
If you’ve undergone surgery or experienced severe trauma to the pelvic area, it’s possible to qualify for a disability rating under other codes related to the penis and erectile dysfunction.
Conditions concerning the penis that can result in a disability rating are as follows:
- Code 7520 applies when there is a removal of at least half of the penis. The individual will receive a 30 percent disability rating.
- Code 7521 applies when a physician removes the penile glans. Individuals who qualify receive a 20 percent disability rating.
- Code 7523 applies when there is complete atrophy of the testes. To obtain a 20 percent disability rating, the condition must involve both testes. If only one testis is impacted, the individual will receive a 0 percent disability rating.
- Code 7524 applies when a physician removes the testes. Removal of both testes qualifies for a 30 percent disability rating, while removal of one testis results in a 0 percent disability rating.
If one testis is removed due to a service-connected injury and the individual doesn’t have another testis, or it is nonfunctioning due to other causes besides military service, the veteran is eligible for a 30 percent disability rating under code 7524.
Special Monthly Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction
Veterans who meet the qualifications for a 0 percent disability rating for erectile dysfunction under code 7522 may obtain benefits through Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Category K, otherwise known as SMC-K. SMC-K refers to the “loss of a creative organ|” and is an additional monthly benefit provided to veterans who lose the ability to use an essential body part, like a hand or an eye.
If your erectile dysfunction is so severe that it is impossible to engage in sexual intercourse, or you have a deformity to the penis, you may qualify for SMC-K. To meet the VA’s guidelines for receiving compensation, you must have medical records connecting your erectile dysfunction to your time in service and demonstrate that it adversely impacts your life.
It’s important to note that obtaining SMC-K is possible even if you take medication that improves your erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra or a similar medication.
For 2023, the current monthly compensation available under SMC-K is $128.62.
TDIU and Erectile Dysfunction
Since the VA rating for erectile dysfunction is 0 percent, the condition will unlikely help you meet the requirements for Total Disability Individual Unemployability, or TDIU.
To qualify for TDIU, a veteran must meet one of the following:
- At least one service-connected disability with a rating of 60 percent or more
- Two or more service-connected disabilities, with at least one having a rating of 40 percent, and a total combined rating of 70 percent or higher
In addition to meeting the VA’s rating requirements, you must demonstrate that you cannot work in a role that financially supports you. For instance, if you’re on medication with severe side effects that impact your ability to work, you might qualify for TDIU.
Erectile Dysfunction as a Secondary Disability
Multiple conditions can cause or aggravate erectile dysfunction, including the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peyronie’s disease
- Sleep apnea
- Low testosterone
- Multiple sclerosis
Medications you take for a condition, like antidepressants or beta-blockers, may aggravate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
To prove erectile dysfunction as a secondary disability, you must provide a copy of your erectile dysfunction diagnosis and evidence of your service-connected primary disability. A treating physician must indicate that your primary disability is the direct cause of your erectile dysfunction.
If your erectile dysfunction qualifies as a secondary disability, you may obtain a 0 percent disability rating and be eligible for additional compensation under SMC-K.
How To Obtain VA Disability Compensation for Erectile Dysfunction?
If you’d like to obtain a VA rating for erectile dysfunction, request a Compensation and Pension, or C&P, examination from your local VA facility. The VA examiner will complete the Disability Benefits Questionnaire for Male Reproductive Organ Conditions and submit it to the VA, which will review it and determine your rating.
People with no physical deformities to the penis may not need to undergo an in-person examination. Instead, the VA physician will fill out the questionnaire based on their existing medical records, which include a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction and evidence of the connection to the veteran’s time in service.
Including a nexus letter from a treating physician that establishes a connection between the veteran’s military service and their erectile dysfunction can help establish this connection. For instance, if the veteran is on medication for service-connected PTSD that impacts their ability to sustain an erection, the physician’s nexus letter will help the VA in their rating decision.
Ultimately, obtaining a VA rating for erectile dysfunction is possible as long as the veteran provides the proper supporting evidence and can demonstrate a connection between their condition and their time in the military.
Do you have further questions about obtaining a VA disability rating for erectile dysfunction? Contact the Veterans Guide for additional assistance.
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