You may be eligible for VA disability compensation if you are experiencing knee pain, a knee injury, or functional loss of a knee due to your military service. However, winning a VA disability case due to a knee issue can be tricky, because there are many factors involved in obtaining a VA rating.

Situations like multiple parachute landings, vehicle accidents, osteomyelitis, and the onset of arthritis are just a few of the causes of debilitating knee damage which can happen to a service member.  

Range of motion and joint instability will play major parts in the evaluation of your knee injury. Disability ratings for injuries to all joints—leg, ankle, hip, shoulder and knee—are primarily based on range of motion. The less the knee can bend, the higher the rating will be. Depending on how much your knee can bend, percentages ranging from zero to 30 will be assigned. There are specific range of motion measurements that correspond with each percentage.

When damaged tendons and cartilage can no longer properly support your knee joint, knee instability—that is when it has too much motion from side to side, or dislocates regularly— can result. Percentages of 10 to 30 percent are assigned to cases of knee instability. To get the highest rating of 30 percent, the knee must be so unstable that it gives out or dislocates regularly. You must also have a history of surgical repair on your knee and you must show a doctor’s prescription for a knee brace or an assistive device such as a cane or a walker.

If your knee impairment becomes so severe that a total knee replacement is required, you will automatically receive a temporary 100 percent rating for four months. After that, your knee disability will be rated according to your condition and limitations after the knee replacement. If after your surgery you still suffer from weakness and severe pain when you move your knee, you will be assigned the highest rating of 60 percent.

Your level of pain may also play a part. While knee pain can sometimes be successfully treated by over-the-counter medicine, rest, or—in more severe cases—by surgery, it is not uncommon for knee injuries to cause chronic, ongoing pain. A 2018 legal case established that veterans are entitled to disability compensation for pain. If you are suffering from severe knee pain you may be eligible for monthly disability compensation. But keep in mind that subjective complaints of pain are not enough to be awarded compensation; you must provide proof that your pain impairs your ability to function.

Like for all VA disability claims, to be awarded benefits for a knee condition you must have a current, diagnosed medical issue. You must have experienced an injury or illness during your time in service. And you must provide proof of a medical nexus—that is a connection—which links your hip condition to that in-service injury or illness. 

 At Cuddigan Law, we understand how critical it is for veterans to get the disability benefits they have rightfully earned. That’s why we provide a wealth of free information on our website to help veterans with their claims. And we also offer you a free evaluation of your situation. Just give us a call or send us an email.




Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska