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Most Common VA Disabilities: A Comprehensive Overview

It is an unfortunate reality that the people who have already struggled to serve our country often face their own struggles with disabilities. In August of 2022, it was reported that 4.9 million veterans had a service-connected disability. When you consider the number of veterans with other disabilities, the number of vets who struggle with disabilities is staggering. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this struggle, learning about the most common VA disabilities is a great place to start. This can help you learn if the disabilities you are facing are common and what the VA thinks about them. If you want to discover this, keep reading. 

Hearing Damage or Loss

The ear is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. It can be damaged by accidents or loud noises. The unfortunate part is that healing this damage is often either impossible or incredibly difficult. 

Bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common ear-related VA disabilities. These issues can make hearing more difficult and add a lot of stress to life in general. 

10% is the maximum rating you’ll find with the VA for these issues. It’s not uncommon to get a 0% rating. In addition, a physician’s diagnosis is not enough for a claim. The VA will also take other diagnoses into account though they’ll evaluate your hearing damage separately.

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Knee Problems

Knee problems are common for veterans, though the term is quite broad. Some are even associated with other injuries or diseases. These can cause chronic pain that will require something to treat the pain

In general, VA ratings may be given due to:

  • Arthritis
  • Weakness
  • Muscles with limited motion or pain
  • Joint problems
  • Loss of power
  • Lack of coordination
  • Decreased movement
  • Decreased control of movement
  • Fatigue

You’ll need to submit documentation of your injury if your knee problem is related to an injury. If you have limitations such as “painful motion,” but it’s not injury-related, you’ll need a current diagnosis to submit with your claim.

Neck and Back Pain 

Neck and back issues can also range quite a bit. The VA will be interested in how it affects your ability to sit, stand, bend, and work, as well as your flexibility and range of motion. They will also want to determine if the pain is service-related.

In your claim, it’s important to list any military experience that had you working in a non-ergonomic position, carrying heavy objects, hiking for prolonged times, or walking or running with loaded backpacks.

Spinal Issues

Spinal issues, including cervical strain, are similar to back and neck issues for the VA. This is an injury, tearing, or stretching in the muscles or tendons of the neck. It’s usually associated with trauma or repetitive use.

These types of issues are incredibly serious, as your spinal cord is a vital part of your overall health. Because of this, as soon as these types of issues occur, it’s important to see a doctor. This can help you get the care you need and provide you with documentation for your claim.


Scarring can occur for a variety of reasons. You may have sustained an injury, whether traumatic or lesser, or could have undergone surgery. It can also range from cosmetic to life-threatening.

Unfortunately, scarring is complicated and strict when it comes to the VA’s criteria. The rating could be tied to the size of the scar rather than the location of it. Many veterans get a 0% rating unless they have complications such as pain or unstable healing.

A post-surgery scar may not lead to VA compensation, but you might be able to claim temporary disability benefits while healing from surgery. This is generally the case if your surgical wounds don’t seem to be healing properly.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

VA disabilities are not limited to physical ones. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unfortunately quite common among veterans. This disorder exists on a spectrum instead of being a specific mental state. Some people experience severe PTSD, while others have a mild form, and others are somewhere in between.

You’ll need to be evaluated by a VA provider to obtain a VA rating for PTSD. This will establish the severity of your case, whether it was service-related, and more. From there, you can start seeking professional help and other PTSD treatment options


Migraines are among the top ten VA disability claims, and 30% ratings are not uncommon. It’s important to note that headaches are very different from migraines. Migraines dramatically impact your ability to work and live your life.

The VA will look for certain kinds of symptoms related to the frequency and severity of the migraine attacks. They’ll also want to know how it affects your quality of life and employment and how it may be related to any other conditions.

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Other Common VA Disabilities

A number of other VA disabilities that might lead to disability claims are also common. These include:

  • Asthma and other respiratory conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Major depressive disorder (depression)
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chemical exposure
  • Sciatica
  • Other secondary conditions

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Dealing with Disabilities

If you’ve been experiencing a mental or physical condition, it’s important to get yourself evaluated. A VA rating can help put your condition into context. You may be eligible for a claim without realizing it’s been affecting you as much as it has.

Other disabilities can cause problems in your everyday life. Joint and muscle pain can lead to trouble working and discomfort throughout the day. Anxiety and PTSD can make otherwise innocuous events difficult to cope with. If you’ve been struggling with physical or mental pain, make sure to see a doctor for a diagnosis. You may also want to consider using products that can ease these troubles

Understand the Most Common VA Disabilities

Veterans face a number of service-related disabilities. Among the most common VA disabilities, you’ll find both mental and physical conditions that can affect everyday life. Make sure to file your claim if eligible and take steps to improve your quality of life in the meantime.

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