Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) & Your VA Rating

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare, progressive neurogenic disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As the disease advances and nerve cells get destroyed, the muscles progressively weaken. Early signs and symptoms of ALS include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Tripping and falling
  • Weakness in lower extremities
  • Hand weakness or clumsiness
  • Slurred speech and/or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and/or twitching
  • Difficulty holding good posture

As the disease progresses it impacts the ability to move, speak, eat and breathe. Ultimately, ALS is fatal.

Although there is no known cause of ALS, the ALS Association states that military veterans are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS as the general public.

How to Get a VA Disability Rating?

The VA will grant presumptive service connection if ALS manifests at any time after discharge from military service. This means that a veteran’s ALS can have developed or been diagnosed at any point following their military service.

To qualify for the presumption a veteran still needs a formal diagnosis of ALS and at least 90 days of active, continuous military, naval, or air service.

There are several exceptions to the presumption, veterans of the National Guard do not qualify. Further, if it has been shown that a veteran’s ALS is a result of their own willful misconduct during service they will not qualify for the presumption.

How is it Rated?

The VA automatically awards a 100% rating due to the severity of the condition. As the disease progresses and causes further functional impairment veterans may be entitled to additional benefits.

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from ALS, we are here to help. CallVeterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

More Articles

What Causes PTSD to be Triggered in Veterans?

In the past 15 years, the estimated number of veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD currently numbers more than 500,000. As many as 60,000 of these veterans are Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Estimates show more than 20% to 30% of veterans...

Federal Court Addresses PTSD Stressors

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirms that VA must apply a generous standard when evaluating the lay testimony of veterans suffering from PTSD concerning their combat experiences and PTSD stressors. Sanchez-Navarro v....

Permanent and Total VA Disability Ratings for PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the...

Depression And Your VA Claim

Depression can negatively affect every aspect of your life: how you feel, think, sleep, function, and interact with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 14% of veterans suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common...


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.