What are Analogous Ratings?
The underlying objective of VA disability benefits is to compensate veterans for approximately the amount of earnings they will lose as the result of their service-connected impairment. When the VA assigns a disability rating that rating is based on the presence and severity of symptoms caused by that disease or injury. Disability payments to veterans are made based on the degree of the disability. The VA gives a disability rating to each injury, illness or disease. By law, the VA has the authority to assign disability ratings from zero percent to one hundred percent, in ten percent increments. You are considered totally disabled when you carry a one hundred percent rating. To assign a diagnostic code and rating the VA uses the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD). A diagnostic code is simply the numerical code assigned to a specific disability or condition that VA uses to identify and rate a veteran’s disability. Not all disabilities have their own diagnostic code in the VASRD. Those that do not have their own diagnostic code are given analogous ratings.
How are Analogous Ratings Assigned?
When a specific impairment does not have its own diagnostic code, analogous ratings are assigned based on what condition most closely matches the symptoms the veteran is exhibiting.
The VA says that to ensure they “are closely analogous” VA examiners can look at “not only the functions affected” when assigning an analogous rating, but also “the anatomical localization and symptomatology”. By regulation the VA must apply a rating criterion that is most favorable (typically higher) to the veteran applying for disability benefits.
What are Some Examples of Analogous Ratings?
Sinus headaches — a common impairment among veterans — are not listed in the VASRD only migraine headaches. If you have sinus headaches that are severe enough to be eligible for disability compensation, then they can be rated under the VASRD Code for migraine headaches — a VASRD-listed condition that most closely matches sinus headaches. Another example is Aphasia a condition of the brain where someone is unable to understand and process language. If this was caused by an injury to the head, it is rated under Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). But if it was caused by an illness or other condition, it is rated analogously under the code for vascular dementia. The rating for Crohn’s disease which causes the bowels to become irritated and swell is rated under ulcerative colitis.
When I Cannot Find My Condition on the VASRD Site What Should I Do?
If when you search the VASRD site and your particular condition does not come up, it does not necessarily mean it isn’t in the VASRD. It is common for medical conditions to have more than one name, maybe even three or four names. Our recommendation is to do an internet search for other names for your condition and then search all those names on the VASRD site. If you still cannot find your condition, look for similar impairments.
Will an Analogous Rating Reduce the Amount of My Disability Compensation?
As we said, the VA is supposed to assign a rating that is most favorable to the veteran, but it doesn’t always work out that way. The VA does not always assign the most appropriate rating criteria when assigning an analogous rating. This is where your VA accredited attorney can assist you. Your attorney can lay out a case for why you should be rated under another criteria that better matches your symptoms and that could result in a higher monthly VA disability payment.
Where Can I Turn for Help?
As you can see analogous ratings can be a complex issue for veterans, but you deserve the disability compensation you have earned. If you are facing an adverse medical condition, and you believe the VA did not award you the correct rating or if your case has been denied, don’t give up hope. Instead contact us at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your case. At Cuddigan Law you have team of professionals in your corner who know the system and will fight for your rights.