VA Disability Rating for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is commonly seen in Gulf War Veterans, but it is certainly not limited to this group. Unfortunately, it is one of the more difficult disabilities to diagnosis and prove, making it even more difficult for Veterans to receive disability compensation from the VA. Often, we hear from Veterans who have already filed their own appeals or received a denial notice leading them to feel discouraged from the process entirely. However, we urge Veterans to keep their appeals open and maintain their effective date to ensure they receive all the disability compensation they are entitled to. In this blog, we will look at why CFS is a tough disability to qualify for and how we can potentially help ease, expedite, and increase your odds throughout the appeals process.

Applying for CFS Disability Benefits

As is the case for all other VA disability cases, there are three key pieces of information you must prove in order to receive compensation:

The first and most vital step in the process is establishing or providing evidence of a valid diagnosis of CFS through a licensed medical practitioner. However, CFS cases are not held to the same standard of proof necessary to establish service connection that most other VA disability claims are held to. According to the VA, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must “have emerged during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2021, and be at least 10 percent disabling” in order to meet the basic qualifications necessary to apply for a CFS-related disability rating.

Additional requirements specified by the VA include: Debilitating fatigue severe enough to reduce daily activity to less than 50% of the usual level for at least 6 months in addition to having all other conditions with similar symptoms being ruled out by physical examinations and lab tests.  Moreover, you must have six or more of the following symptoms:

  • acute onset of the condition
  • low grade fever
  • sore throat
  • palpable or tender cervical or axial lymph nodes
  • generalized muscle aches or weakness
  • fatigue lasting 24 hours or longer after exercise
  • headaches
  • migratory joint pain
  • neuropsychologic symptoms (such as problems with concentrating, learning, memory, coordination, decision making, and verbal ability)
  • sleep disturbance

Obtaining a Rating Once Diagnosed

Once you’ve received a certified doctor’s diagnosis confirming you have CFS and it falls within the parameters of service connectivity, the next step will be ensuring the rating assigned to your disability claim is fair and satisfactory. The VA rates CFS based upon the amount of time you are incapacitated in a years’ time and the percentage of reduction in activity caused by it.

CFS ratings, however, are restricted to 5 levels as opposed to the 10 level increments normally available. The rating scale is as follows:

  • 10% – $140.05/month
  • 20% – $276.84/month
  • 40% – $617.73/month (able to receive additional benefits on behalf of any dependents living in your home at this level and above)
  • 60% – $1,113.86/month
  • 80% – $3,057.13/month

The Bottom Line

Any time you’re attempting to receive service-connected disability compensation, it may seem stressful and overwhelming. That’s why having a well-versed team in your arsenal can make a world of difference. Not only can it drastically increase your chances of obtaining a more favorable rating, but they’ll also help to take some of that stress of your shoulders.

Contact Berry Law today at (888) 883-2483 to get in touch with one of our experienced Veterans law attorneys and begin the fight for the compensation you deserve.