VA Disability Rating for Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid does not produce enough hormones. It can cause depression, a slow heart rate, fatigue, and unexplained weight gain. The condition can develop from exposure to certain chemicals that military personnel may come in contact with during service. If you or a loved one are a veteran with service-related hypothyroidism, Veterans Guide can help you determine your hypothyroidism VA disability rating. We can also help you file your claim and receive maximum compensation for your condition.

Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones for your body. Although this endocrine disorder does not cause noticeable problems in its early stages, it can lead to other health issues over time, such as heart problems, high cholesterol, and even heart failure.

If your hypothyroidism resulted from service, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits. Veterans Guide’s advocates can determine your hypothyroidism VA disability rating, assist with the benefits application and appeal processes, and help you get maximum disability benefits.

Veterans and Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that creates and releases certain hormones to control your metabolism. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism depend on the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Puffy face
  • Coarse skin and hair
  • Constipation
  • Unintended weight gain
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular or heavier menstrual cycles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma
  • Heart failure
  • Myxedema, a form of severe hypothyroidism that results in the swelling of your face and other parts of your body, such as your lower legs

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that damages the thyroid, causing it to stop creating and releasing enough hormones. Other common causes include cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Veterans may develop hypothyroidism and conditions that lead to hypothyroidism from exposure to various chemicals, including Agent Orange and lead.

Medical professionals diagnose hypothyroidism by performing physical exams, blood tests, and imaging tests.

After diagnosing a patient with hypothyroidism, doctors may treat the condition by prescribing thyroid hormone medicine in pill or liquid form.

Service Connection for Hypothyroidism

Veterans can obtain VA compensation for service-connected hypothyroidism. To prove service-connected hypothyroidism, veterans must prove they had exposure to chemicals that have been linked to the condition, including the following:

  • Agent Orange
  • Solvents, such as TCE or trichloroethylene
  • Radiation
  • Lead
  • Ammonium perchlorate, a rocket and missile propellant
  • Perfluoroalkyl acid, or AFFF Foam
  • Pesticides
  • Chlorine dioxide, a water disinfectant
  • Heavy metals
  • Benzopyrene found in JP-4 and other exhausts
  • Dioxins, like TCDD found in Agent Orange and burn pits
  • Coal smoke
  • Wood preservatives from burn pits

Keep in mind that the VA presumes that Agent Orange causes hypothyroidism. It also assumes that veterans who served in certain locations, such as Vietnam, were exposed to Agent Orange. As such, anyone who served in an area exposed to Agent Orange can establish the required connection for hypothyroidism. This includes anyone who served in Vietnam and certain locations and service dates in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Samoa, Guam, and Johnston Atoll.

How Does the VA Rate Hypothyroidism?

The VA uses diagnostic codes and ratings to identify disability types and severities and determine how much compensation veterans can receive for their disabilities. According to Title 38 of Code of Federal Regulations § 4.119 – Schedule of Ratings – Endocrine System, the VA rates hypothyroidism under code 7903. The rating depends on whether the service member has developed myxedema, a swelling of the skin and underlying tissues that accompanies advanced hypothyroidism.


The VA rates hypothyroidism at two levels as follows: 

  • 30 percent rating: If you have hypothyroidism without myxedema, you may receive a 30 percent VA rating. 
  • 100 percent rating: You may receive a 100 percent rating if you have hypothyroidism with myxedema. People with a 100 percent rating for hypothyroidism may experience the following:
    • Bradycardia, in which the heart beats too slowly
    • Pericardial effusion, in which fluid builds up around the heart, causing shortness of breath, abnormal heart function, fatigue, and chest pain
    • Low blood pressure or hypotension
    • Mental disturbance, including but not limited to depression, slowing of thought, and dementia

Unlike other VA disability ratings, VA ratings for hypothyroidism have strict timelines. The VA only grants a temporary 100 percent hypothyroidism rating, which will be removed once your myxedema is in remission for six months. Once your condition stabilizes for six months, the VA will rate each symptom according to the appropriate body system. For instance, if your myxedema has gone into remission for over six months, but your hypothyroidism is still causing eye problems, you may be eligible for a VA visual impairment rating.

Similarly, the 30 percent hypothyroidism rating lasts only six months after the initial diagnosis. After the six months pass, the VA will rate your symptoms under different body systems.

Total Disability Individual Unemployability and Hypothyroidism

If hypothyroidism prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability, or TDIU, benefits. This means you will receive benefits or disability compensation at the same level as veterans with 100 percent disability ratings.

You must meet both of the following requirements to qualify for TDIU benefits:

  • You have a minimum of one service-connected disability rated at 60 percent or more disabling or multiple service-connected disabilities, with one rated at a minimum of 40 percent disabling and a combined rating of 70 percent or more

  • You cannot sustain substantially gainful employment due to your service-connected disability. Marginal employment, such as odd jobs, does not count.

Hypothyroidism as a Secondary Disability

Veterans may be eligible for a hypothyroidism VA disability rating and monthly disability compensation by establishing hypothyroidism as a secondary disability. A secondary disability is aggravated or caused by a direct service-connected condition.

Hypothyroidism can be secondary to several service-connected disorders, such as pituitary gland problems and disorders that disrupt iodine regulation in the body. It can also arise when taking medications for service-connected disorders, such as:

  • Lithium
  • Amiodarone, or Cordarone
  • Carbamazepine
  • Antidepressants
  • Drugs used to treat hepatitis and multiple sclerosis
  • Some chemotherapy drugs

To establish hypothyroidism as a secondary disability or condition, you must provide the VA with the following evidence:

  • Medical reports and evidence demonstrating the nexus or relationship between your hypothyroidism and the direct service-connected condition
  • Medical records showing your hypothyroidism diagnosis and treatment

How To Obtain VA Disability Compensation for Hypothyroidism

If you are a veteran with service-connected hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism as a secondary disability, you may be eligible for VA compensation under diagnostic code 7903. You may also be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability if hypothyroidism prevents you from working.

You can obtain VA disability compensation for hypothyroidism by filing a claim. Provide as much information as possible, including medical reports showing your hypothyroidism diagnosis and treatment. If you are filing a secondary disability claim, you must include a doctor’s nexus letter explaining that your hypothyroidism was caused or aggravated by a direct service-connected condition. 

If the VA has enough medical evidence to support your claim, it will follow the Acceptable Clinical Evidence, or ACE, process. This means the VA will review your records and ask you for more evidence when needed. 

On the other hand, if the VA does not have enough information to follow the ACE process, it may ask you to submit more documentation or undergo a VA Compensation and Pension exam, also known as a C&P exam. The exam helps the VA determine whether you have a service-connected disability. It also helps the VA rate your disability if you have one. You may need more than one exam if you request a decision review of your claim outcome, submit a claim for more than one condition, or need a follow-up exam.

Do you need help filing your VA claim and determining your hypothyroidism VA disability rating? Contact Veterans Guide today to learn more about your VA rating for hypothyroidism. Our advocates will determine your VA endocrine rating and help you file your claim.

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