VA Disability Rating for Hemorrhoids

If you are a veteran suffering from hemorrhoids due to your time in service, the VA gives a rating of 10% or 20%, depending on severity. Veterans Guide has information about the factors that go into the VA rating for hemorrhoids, eligibility requirements for total disability based on individual unemployability, how hemorrhoids can be considered a secondary disability, and how to submit an effective application to receive VA disability benefits for your condition.

Key Takeaways
  • Hemorrhoids can be rated under the VA disability rating system, with possible ratings depending on the severity of the condition.
  • A 20% rating is assigned for persistent bleeding leading to secondary anemia or requiring fissure treatment.
  • Veterans with large or thrombotic, irreducible hemorrhoids with excessive redundant tissue may receive a 10% rating.
  • Mild or moderate hemorrhoids can be rated at 10%.

Veterans suffering from hemorrhoids experience regular discomfort and pain that affect their quality of life. If your time in military service caused hemorrhoids or exacerbated the condition, you may be entitled to benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The payments depend on the VA rating for hemorrhoids. In order to receive compensation, you need to submit a strong application

Whether you are entitled to VA benefits for your hemorrhoids depends upon the evidence provided with your application. You will need to prove that your condition meets the VA rating for hemorrhoids and also that they are related to your service. The process of gathering evidence, finding experts to provide assessments, and filing your VA Form 21-0960-2 can be extensive. Refer to Veterans Guide for information on how to file and where to find legal assistance to help you process your application.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located near the anus and can be inside or outside the body, as defined by VA Code 7336. The pain and suffering associated with hemorrhoids varies depending upon their type and whether there are other related conditions.

Hemorrhoid Risk Factors

Certain behaviors and factors increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids. They generally develop due to increased pressure in the lower rectum as a result of the following: 

  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation 
  • Straining during bowel movements 
  • Obesity
  • Anal intercourse 
  • A low-fiber diet
  • Regular heavy lifting 

The risk of hemorrhoids increases with age and also when an individual is obese or pregnant.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

The symptoms depend upon the type of hemorrhoids and whether they are external or internal. 

Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids, which are inside the rectum, include: 

  • Painless bleeding that happens during bowel movements
  • A hemorrhoid that is pushed through the anal opening, which causes pain and irritation 

Symptoms of external hemorrhoids, those located under the skin around the anus, include: 

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Swelling of the anus
  • Bleeding
  • Itching or irritation in the anal region

When blood pools within an external hemorrhoid and a clot forms, it can result in thrombosed hemorrhoids, which can lead to: 

  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Severe pain
  • A hard lump in the anal region

How Are Hemorrhoids Caused from Time in Service?

The source of hemorrhoids can vary, and a medical expert will need to conduct a review to determine whether they came about or were worsened by your duties in service.

Veterans have multiple risk factors for hemorrhoids, including:

  • Constipation: A common issue in the military, this can come about due to stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise
  • Diarrhea: This can arise due to deployments where there is poor sanitation and exposure to pathogens
  • Strenuous physical activity: Marching during training, heavy lifting during service, and other activities put pressure on the veins in the abdomen, which can contribute to hemorrhoids
  • Dietary deficiencies: Soldiers are at an increased risk of hemorrhoids in deployments where they lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which are important sources of fiber
  • Obesity: This can result from medications and other conditions 

Given the above risk factors, it is clear how hemorrhoids can be caused by military service.  For example, service members must often perform strenuous activities like heavy lifting. They also may have a diet of low-fiber foods or be exposed to contaminated drinking water, resulting in  chronic diarrhea.

The VA Rating for Hemorrhoids

The rating of your hemorrhoids will determine what VA benefits you are entitled to receive. Establishing how your condition is classified requires the input of professionals and the collection of evidence supporting your claim. Veterans Guide can direct you to VA benefits attorneys who will guide you through the process, including scheduling appointments with professionals to diagnose and classify your condition accurately. 

In 2022 the VA published changes to the ratings of the digestive system that hemorrhoids are classified under. 

The VA rating for hemorrhoids includes the following:

  • Persistent bleeding with secondary anemia or fissures: 20 percent
  • Large or thrombotic hemorrhoids that are irreducible, with excessive redundant tissue: 10 percent
  • Mild or moderate hemorrhoids : 10 percent

TDIU and Hemorrhoids

TDIU, or Total Disability Individual Unemployability, provides qualifying veterans with compensation at 100 percent of the VA’s disability rate, even when they don’t have a 100 percent disabling condition. 

To qualify for TIDU, your service-connected condition must prevent you from holding substantially gainful employment, and you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must have one or more service-connected disabilities rated at 60 percent or more disabling, or
  • Multiple disabling conditions, with one rated at 40 percent or more and both totaling 70 percent or more

Since the maximum VA rating for hemorrhoids is 20 percent, you must combine it with another disabling condition to qualify for TDIU.

Hemorrhoids as a Secondary Disability

You can claim a condition as secondary to another service-connected condition that has caused it to form or exacerbated it. Hemorrhoids can occur in connection with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. The VA code for IBS is 7319. 

A 30 percent disability rating for IBS is granted with stomach pain at least once each week for the prior three months and at least two of the following:

  • Change in the frequency of bowel movement 
  • Change in the form of stool
  • Changes in stool passage, including greater difficulty 
  • Stomach bloating 
  • Large amounts of mucus with bowel movements
  • Feeling bloated 

A 20 percent rating applies when stomach pain was experienced three times or more a month for the prior month, in addition to two conditions from the list above. 

A 10 percent rating is given when there is stomach pain at least once in the prior three months and two or more items on the list above. Hemorrhoids can exacerbate difficulty with bowel movements due to IBS, and the two codes can impact the benefits you are entitled to receive. 

Additional conditions that overlap with hemorrhoids are colon polyps and dysentery, among others. Adding a secondary disability increases your VA disability payments and your overall disability rating. Other conditions carry a higher disability rating and have more impact on your life, but your hemorrhoids continue to create a level of disruption.

How Do I Obtain VA Disability Compensation for Hemorrhoids?

To begin the process of collecting disability benefits, gather the evidence required to file VA Form 21-0960H-2. You will need a physician to provide information in the form to support your application. Their evaluation must be current and concern the specific condition for which you are claiming benefits. 

nexus letter from a doctor or other expert is necessary to link your hemorrhoids to your service. You should also include statements from family and friends testifying to the severity of your hemorrhoids, how long you’ve had them, and their effects on your daily life.

After you file your claim, the VA may require you to undergo a Compensation & Pension, or C&P, exam. This is only necessary when you file a compensation or pension claim, which is the purpose of VA Form 21-0960-2. A C&P exam is different from a regular medical exam, and the purpose is to determine the following:

  • Whether your disability is service-connected
  • The level of your disability 
  • Whether your disability should receive an increased rating because it is getting worse

Diagnostic testing is also necessary in some situations. However, no further testing is required if diagnostic procedures, imaging studies, or lab testing have been performed and reflect the current condition for which compensation is being applied. 

Determining when prior testing applies to your C&P exam can save steps in the process, which may enable you to receive compensation sooner. Discussing options with an experienced VA benefits attorney in your area is best, and Veterans Guide has resources to assist you.

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