How the VA rates skin conditions

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Rating system

The VA rating schedule gives two ways to determine the skin rating: calculations and estimations. Skin area calculations take into account the surface area in squared inches that is affected whereas skin area estimations take into account the percentage of skin that is affected.

Scars on the head, face, or neck are rated based on skin loss and how many facial features have been disfigured.

The General Rating Formula for the Skin is used to rate the majority of skin conditions:

 

Rating Symptoms
60% At least one of the following: characteristic lesions involving more than 40% of the entire body or more than 40% of exposed areas affected; or constant or near-constant systematic therapy including, but not limited to, corticosteroids, phototherapy, retinoid, biologics, photo-chemotherapy, psoralen with long-wave ultraviolet-A-light (PUVA), or other immunosuppressive drugs required over the past 12-month period
30% At least one of the following: characteristic lesions involving 20-40% of the entire body, or 20-40% of exposed areas affected; or systematic therapy including, but not limited to, corticosteroids, phototherapy, retinoid, biologics, photo-chemotherapy, PUVA or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of 6 weeks or  more, but not constantly, over the past 12-month period
10% At least one of the following: characteristic lesions involving at least 5% but less than 20% of the entire body affected, or at least 5% but less than 20% of exposed areas affected, or intermittent systemic therapy including, but not limited to, corticosteroids, phototherapy, retinoid, biologics, photo-chemotherapy, PUVA, or other immunosuppressive drugs required for a total duration of less than 6 weeks over the past 12-month period
0% No more than topical therapy required over the past 12-month period and at least one of the following: characteristic lesions involving less than 5% of the entire body affected; or characteristic lesions involving less than 5% of exposed areas affected; or rate as disfigurement of the head, face, or neck or scars, depending upon the predominant disability

Understand the Impact 

Exposure to chemical or other environmental hazards while on active duty can cause skin disorders that arise while in service or after separating from duty. Some veterans also experience lasting effects of scars from injuries and burns.

 

    Service Connection for Skin Conditions

    Direct service connection is one way to obtain VA disability benefits. To establish a direct service connection for skin conditions veterans must demonstrate:

    (1) a current diagnosis of a skin condition;

    (2) an in-service event, injury, or illness; and

    (3) a medical link between the current diagnosis and in-service event.

    Presumptive service connection is another way to veterans to gain entitlement to VA disability benefits. The VA has determined that certain conditions are presumed service-connected if veterans fall under certain criteria. A presumptive service connection means that the veteran does not have to prove a medical link to their time in service. Some presumptive service connections for skin conditions include:

    • Veterans who were exposed to herbicide agents while serving in Vietnam and developed chloracne and/or porphyria cutanea tarda within one year of exposure to a degree of 10 percent disabling are afforded presumptive service connection.

     

    • Gulf War veterans with chronic skin conditions (ex. Dermatitis) or with chronic undiagnosed skin disorders can be eligible for presumptive service connection at any time if the condition can be rated at 10 percent or higher.

    We are here to help

    Bosley & Bratch have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from a skin condition, we are here to help. Call Bosley & Bratch at (727) 274-9227 or complete our free veterans’ benefits case evaluation form.

     

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