VA Disability for Scars and Burns
Scars–both general scarring and burn scars–are common service-connected disabilities. In 2022, the VA reported that burn scars were the 5th most common condition among new veterans disability benefits recipients. In that year alone, 81,629 new claims were approved for burn scars. The total number of VA disability benefits recipients with burn scars as a service-connected disability was more than 750,000, and nearly one million others were receiving benefits for general scarring.
Of course, not everyone who has scars from their military service qualifies for disability benefits.
Who Gets Veterans Disability Benefits for Scarring and Burns?
As with any VA disability claim, you must establish that your scarring resulted from your military service. This aspect of your claim may be more straightforward than some other types of veterans disability claims because you will typically be able to point to a specific injury that caused your scars.
However, the rating system for general scarring and burn scars is more complicated than the typical rating schedule. That’s because the regulations take into account both the disabling impact of the scar and the disfiguring effects.
Scars on and other disfigurements of the head, face, and neck are treated differently than scarring in other areas. Ratings are assigned based on specific types of disfigurement or, alternatively, a minimum number of “characteristics of disfigurement.” The characteristics to be considered include:
- A scar of 5” or more in length
- A scar at least ¼” wide at the widest point
- Surface contour of the scar is elevated or depressed on palpation
- Scar adherent to underlying tissue
- Skin hypo- or hyper-pigmented in an area of 6 square inches or more
- Skin texture abnormal (irregular, atrophic, shiny, scaly, etc.) in an area of 6 square inches or more
- Underlying soft tissue missing in an area of 6 square inches or more
- Skin indurated and inflexible in an area of 6 square inches or more
Ratings associated with these characteristics are:
- Six or more characteristics of disfigurement: 80%
- Four or five characteristics: 50%
- Two or three characteristics: 30%
- One characteristic: 10%
But, the evaluation does not end there. There is a separate evaluation for this disability that are on other areas of the body and not associated with soft tissue damage. And, scars that are unstable or painful can increase the rating. The bottom line is that this disability rating assessment is one of the most complex. To ensure that you receive the appropriate disability rating, you should consider working with an experienced veterans disability benefits advocate from the beginning. To learn more about how Veterans Help Group can be of service to you, call 855-855-8992 or contact us here.
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