VA Disability Rating for Gynecological Conditions
Veterans Affairs (VA) disability gynecological benefits exist for veterans who suffer from these conditions due to injuries or toxic exposures during military service. Gynecological problems can upend your life. They can make it difficult or, in some cases, impossible for a woman to get pregnant. When gynecological conditions arise or are worsened by time spent in military service, they may be eligible for VA disability benefits.
When you made the incredible commitment of service to your country, you likely never anticipated enduring gynecological issues that could impact your ability to lead a normal life or safely bear healthy children.
The truth is that many women veterans develop gynecological conditions during their military service. Some of these conditions are treatable and may have little impact on daily life. However, other conditions are more serious, with lifelong effects, such as loss of reproductive organs.
If your gynecological problem stems from your military service, you may be eligible to receive VA disability benefits. Your condition and its severity will determine the total disability payment you may receive. Veterans with eligible gynecological conditions can file a disability claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
What are gynecological conditions?
Gynecological problems affect the regular function of the female reproductive organs. These organs include the following:
- Uterus or womb
- fallopian tubes
Different gynecological problems often produce similar symptoms. Common symptoms associated with gynecological conditions include the following:
- Heavy bleeding
- Irregular bleeding
- Post-coital bleeding
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
Although many gynecological disorders have the same symptoms, doctors can distinguish between the conditions based on the frequency and duration of pain.
What gynecological problems affect veterans?
According to the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, military deployment to hazardous environments limit female service members’ access to medical services and sanitary products. Women in the military face unique challenges in managing menstrual cycles, which may lead to a higher risk of gynecologic conditions, such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
Deployment may also cause women to forgo cervical cancer screenings, which are critical for all women, and fail to receive treatment and evaluations for reproductive conditions such as:
- Uterine leiomyomas
Exposure to toxic chemicals and environmental toxins on military bases or in war zones may cause:
- Uterine Fibroids
Military sexual trauma is also a risk factor for a range of health conditions in women veterans. Research from the Department of Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centers shows that women who have experienced sexual trauma or assault while in the military report “significantly more physical symptoms compared to women veterans with no [military sexual trauma],” including:
- Pelvic pain
- Menstrual problems
How Military Service Can Cause Gynecological Conditions?
Sometimes a service member will experience a traumatic injury resulting in damage to a female reproductive organ, such as the uterus. However, gynecological conditions need not be related to a specific military service injury or event. If your gynecological condition began during your service, you might be eligible for VA disability benefits.
Additional military service situations that can cause gynecological problems include the following:
- Traumatic injuries
- Service in the Gulf War
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
- Military sexual trauma
Traumatic Injuries and Gynecological Conditions
Traumatic injuries can occur during active combat. A bullet or shrapnel could hit a service member. Alternatively, a service member may sustain a traumatic injury during a motor vehicle accident or training exercises.
When these injuries occur in or near a reproductive organ, they can cause pain, traumatic damage, or infection. These traumatic injuries can have long-lasting implications on the veteran’s gynecological health, reproductive ability, and disability levels.
Service in the Gulf War
During the Gulf War, some female service members were exposed to toxic chemicals that may have put them at risk for negative gynecological and reproductive health conditions. One survey of 239 female veteran participants indicated that many female Gulf War veterans had gynecological issues, including the following:
- Difficulty conceiving, 25 percent
- Miscarriage or stillbirth, 31 percent
- High-risk pregnancy, 23 percent
- Preeclampsia, 16 percent
According to the researchers, “exploratory analyses suggest pesticide exposure as associated with higher odds of adverse reproductive outcomes.”
Many veterans who served in the Gulf War have experienced gynecological conditions that cannot be explained and have symptoms that doctors cannot attribute to a known condition. These veterans are presumed to have contracted the condition while serving in the Persian Gulf and are eligible for benefits.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Across the United States, out of more than 450 military bases, at least 385 are heavily contaminated with PFAS. These chemicals are often employed to create products resistant to heat, water, grease, oil, and stains.
PFAS are also prevalent in the aqueous film-forming foam used by firefighters and trainees. Each time someone deploys this foam, it releases dangerous chemicals into the environment.
Prolonged exposure to these PFAs can result in life-threatening diseases, including ovarian and cervical cancer in female veterans.
Are gynecological conditions eligible for VA disability?
Many gynecological ailments are eligible for VA disability benefits. One of the first steps to being approved for disability benefits is determining whether your condition is eligible for coverage.
The VA lists eligible gynecological-related conditions under Section 4.116 Schedule of ratings – gynecological conditions and disorders of the breast. It includes the following conditions and their diagnostic codes:
- DC 7610: Disease or injury of the vulva or clitoris
- DC 7611: Disease or injury of the vagina
- DC 7612: Disease or injury of the cervix
- DC 7613: Disease, injury, or adhesions of the uterus
- DC 7614: Disease, injury, or adhesions of the fallopian tube, including pelvic inflammatory disease
- DC 7615: Disease, injury, or adhesions of the ovary
- DC 7617: Complete removal of the uterus and both ovaries
- DC 7618: Removal of the uterus, including corpus
- DC 7619: Removal of the ovary
- DC 7620: Complete atrophy of both ovaries
- DC 7621: Complete or incomplete pelvic organ prolapse because of disease, injury, or surgical complications of pregnancy
- DC 7624: Rectovaginal fistula
- 7625: Urethrovaginal fistula
- 7626: Surgery of the breast
- 7627: Malignant neoplasms of the gynecological system
- 7628: Benign neoplasms of the gynecological system
- 7629: Endometriosis
- 7630: Malignant neoplasms of the breast
- 7631: Benign neoplasms of the breast
- 7632: Female sexual arousal disorder
These conditions became eligible for disability ratings in May 2018.
VA Gynecological Disability Rating
The disability rating your gynecological condition is assigned determines the amount of compensation you will receive in VA disability payments.
Depending on the gynecological condition and its severity, veterans may be eligible to receive disability ratings between zero and 100 percent. A zero percent rating would indicate no significant disability and be ineligible for compensation. A 100 percent rating would indicate total disability and be eligible for maximum compensation.
For example, the general rating from diagnostic codes 7610 through 7615 are as follows:
- 30 percent rating: Symptoms are not controlled by continuous treatment
- 10 percent rating: Symptoms require continuous treatment
- Zero percent rating: Symptoms do not require continuous treatment
A veteran with a VA disability rating for a hysterectomy under diagnostic code 7618 (Removal of the uterus and both ovaries) may be entitled to compensation at 100 percent for three months after removal and a 50 percent rating after that.
For a veteran without dependents, this would translate to $3,737.85 in monthly compensation for the first three months and monthly VA disability payments of $1,075.16 after that.
The compensation for your VA disability rating for gynecological ailments increases with the number of dependents. A 100 percent rating with a spouse and two-parent dependents would be eligible for $4,433.39 per month, plus additional compensation for child dependents.
Apply for VA Benefits
To receive benefits, you must prove that your condition is related to your time in service. You must also confirm that your particular condition is eligible for VA disability. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to find out if you are eligible for VA disability benefits.
To begin your application for VA disability, you can File your claim online or by mail. To file by mail, download VA Form 21-526EZ, print, complete, and return it to the specified address.
The VA is ready to help veterans who suffer from eligible gynecological and reproductive health conditions.