VA Disability Rating for Genitourinary Conditions
Genitourinary conditions, such as prostate cancer and chronic renal failure, affect reproductive and urinary organs, including the uterus, prostate gland, kidneys, and bladder. Many veterans experience such conditions due to service-related diseases or injuries. If you can demonstrate that your genitourinary conditions were directly aggravated or caused by your time in service, consider filing a claim for Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation.
Genitourinary conditions can change your life forever. Prostate cancer, for instance, can cause blood in the urine and semen, urination problems, bone pain, and erectile dysfunction. Chronic renal failure can cause chest pain, decreased mental sharpness, high blood pressure, vomiting, and sleep problems.
Fortunately, you can receive assistance by filing a claim for Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation if you:
- Are a United States veteran and
- Can prove that your conditions were caused or aggravated by your time in service
Genitourinary VA disability covers many symptoms and conditions associated with the reproductive and urinary systems. You can get urinary incontinence VA disability, erectile dysfunction VA disability, and more if you meet certain requirements under 38 C.F.R. § 4.115b.
What Are Genitourinary Conditions?
Genitourinary conditions affect the genitourinary system, which consists of the following organs:
There is a wide range of genitourinary conditions. Some produce few to no symptoms, while others can be extremely painful and life-altering. Examples of common genitourinary conditions include:
- Urethral stricture, or scarring of the urethra, which can cause various genitourinary problems, including inflammation
- Sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction
- Kidney failure
- Urogenital cancers like testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine cancer
- Kidney stones
Why Do Veterans Experience Genitourinary Problems?
Veterans are prone to genitourinary problems for various reasons, including:
- Active-duty experience: Veterans often have limited access to good hygiene and restrooms during active duty. Accordingly, many veterans — especially females — experience urinary tract infections, which can trigger other genitourinary issues.
- Blast injuries: Veterans with blast injuries often develop various genitourinary issues, including sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and urethral stricture.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Veterans who experience TBI may also experience genitourinary issues. Research has revealed that TBI survivors are especially likely to suffer from urinary dysfunction. Primary lesions and midbrain dysfunction are possible causes, but behavior and cognitive factors may also play a role.
Are Genitourinary Conditions Eligible for VA Disability?
Yes, genitourinary conditions are eligible for genitourinary VA disability. However, you must prove that your genitourinary conditions are directly connected to your military service before receiving compensation.
How Does a Veteran Qualify for Genitourinary Disability Benefits?
To show that your condition is directly related to your time in service, you must show evidence of the following:
- An in-service injury, event, or illness
- A current diagnosis of a genitourinary disease or condition
- A medical opinion linking the current, diagnosed genitourinary disability or condition to the in-service event
After receiving your claim and evidence, VA will decide whether your in-service event caused or aggravated your genitourinary condition. If it approves your claim, it will assign you a disability rating that will determine your monthly compensation.
VA Genitourinary Disability Rating
VA rates genitourinary conditions under 38 CFR § 4.115a — Ratings of the Genitourinary System – Dysfunctions. The ratings are given in percentages that represent the average loss of earning potential that the disease or injury may cause. Therefore, the more severe the condition, the higher the percentage rating.
Conditions affecting the urethra, ureters, and bladder are called “urinary,” while those affecting the kidneys are “renal.” It rates erectile dysfunction and other conditions affecting the genital tract under 38 C.F.R. § 4.115b — Ratings of the Genitourinary System – Diagnoses.
Urinary Rating System
VA uses several urinary rating systems, including:
VA uses the obstructed voiding rating system for conditions that make it difficult to urinate. Its ratings are as follows:
- 30 percent: You constantly or intermittently need a catheter for urination.
- 10 percent: You have a slow or weak urine stream, hesitancy to start urinating, and one or more of the following:
- Over 150cc of urine left in the bladder after urinating
- Less than 10cc of urine passing through the ureter per second
- Regular urinary tract infections due to obstruction
- Urethra strictures requiring dilatation treatments every two to three months
- 0 percent: You have a weak or slow urine stream, hesitation to start urinating, or urethra strictures that require dilatation treatments only once or twice a year.
VA evaluates a condition under urinary frequency if it causes you to urinate more often than usual. The urinary frequency ratings are as follows:
- 40 percent: The condition causes you to urinate more than every hour during the day and five or more times during the night.
- 20 percent: The condition causes you to urinate every one to two hours during the day and three to four times per night.
- 10 percent: The condition causes you to urinate every two to three hours during the day and at least twice at night.
Urinary conditions that can’t be rated according to obstructed voiding or urinary frequency ratings are rated by this system, which has the following ratings:
- 60 percent: The genitourinary condition either requires:
- The use of a catheter to remove urine
- The use of absorbent materials that need to be changed more than four times a day
- 40 percent: The condition requires absorbent materials that must be changed two to four times a day.
- 20 percent: The condition requires absorbent materials that must be changed once per day.
Renal Rating System
The VA uses a general rating formula for renal conditions. Specifically, it uses criteria that include a blood test called a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) that estimates the amount of blood that passes through your kidney’s filters. These filters are called glomeruli, and they remove waste from the blood.
Criteria for Rating Renal Conditions
- 100 percent: One or more of the following applies to you:
- You have chronic kidney disease with a glomerular filtration rate of less than 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 for at least three consecutive months during the past year.
- You require routine dialysis.
- You are eligible for a kidney transplant.
- 80 percent: You have chronic kidney disease with a glomerular filtration rate from 15 to 29 mL/min/1.73 m2 for over three consecutive months during the past year.
- 60 percent: You have chronic kidney disease with a glomerular filtration rate from 30 to 44 mL/min/1.73 m2 for over three consecutive months during the past year.
- 30 percent: You have chronic kidney disease with a glomerular filtration rate from 45 to 59 mL/min/1.73 m2 for over three consecutive months during the past year.
- 0 percent: One or more of the following applies to you:
- Your glomerular filtration rate ranges from 60 to 89 mL/min/1.73 m2, and you require either recurrent red blood cell (RBC) casts, white blood cell (WBC) casts, or granular casts for at least 3 consecutive months during the past year.
- Your glomerular filtration rate ranges from 60 to 89 mL/min/1.73 m2, and you have experienced structural kidney abnormalities (obstructive, cystic, or glomerular) for at least 3 consecutive months during the past year.
- Your glomerular filtration rate ranges from 60 to 89 mL/min/1.73 m2, and you have had an albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) of 30 mg/g or more for at least three consecutive months during the past year.
Erectile Dysfunction Rating System
The VA has no specific disability rating for erectile dysfunction. However, it does rate erectile dysfunction-related conditions under 38 C.F.R. § 4.115b, which includes:
- Code 7522: If your penis can’t get erect due to a physical deformity, you will receive a 20 percent rating.
- Code 7523: If your erectile dysfunction is caused by atrophied testicles, you will receive a 20 percent rating if the condition affects both testicles and a 0 percent rating if the condition only affects one testicle.
- Code 7520: If doctors have removed half or more of your penis, you will receive a 30 percent rating.
Apply for VA Benefits
Genitourinary conditions can make everyday activities like urination painful and frustrating. They can also drain your time, energy, and money.
Accordingly, if you can demonstrate that your genitourinary problems were directly caused or aggravated by your time in service, file a claim for VA disability compensation. If VA approves your claim, it will determine your eligible compensation according to the VA genitourinary disability rating system.