Blog

Musculoskeletal Claims for VA Disability Benefits

Many Veterans are living with musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. When these issues are military service-related, the Veteran may qualify for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to help treat the condition and cover related financial concerns.

If you are a Veteran with a musculoskeletal condition, you may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the specific requirements established by the VA for musculoskeletal claims. 

When you join the military, you place your life, body, and future on the line. As a result, you may wind up with various medical concerns, including musculoskeletal conditions. These conditions can last long after you complete your service and may affect you for the rest of your life. 

The VA supports Veterans with certain conditions and provides monthly benefit payments to help offset the costs of treatment, therapy, and ongoing concerns due to service-related injuries and conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines musculoskeletal conditions as ongoing impairments in the joints, bones, muscles, connective tissue, or even multiple areas and systems throughout the body.

These concerns can cause short-term or lifelong restrictions and pain that can lead to loss of employment, reduced well-being, and lack of social interactions.  People facing this condition are also at a higher risk of developing mental health concerns. 

Musculoskeletal problems are the leading cause of disability in the general population, and they are the most common reason Veterans seek VA treatment and disability benefits. Most people with musculoskeletal conditions require therapy and rehabilitative services to address their issues, and the associated costs can continue indefinitely.

Common Types of Musculoskeletal Conditions

The medical profession recognizes more than 150 types of musculoskeletal conditions. Many create chronic pain, which is defined as lasting for at least three months.

Common service-related musculoskeletal conditions include:

What tests determine if you have musculoskeletal issues?

To determine if your condition is musculoskeletal in nature, doctors may require several tests, including:

  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
  • Blood testing
  • CT scans – computerized tomography
  • X-rays

Possible treatments once determine the extent and location of damage

Once you are diagnosed with a musculoskeletal condition, you may find relief from your symptoms using one or more of these accepted treatments:

  • Steroid injections
  • Massage
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain relievers
  • Occupational therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Acupuncture or acupressure 

Actions you can do on your own to help relieve your musculoskeletal pain

Beyond prescribed therapies or treatments, you can address your musculoskeletal condition on your own with:

  • Strengthening and conditioning exercises
  • Stretching maneuvers
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Meditation or other stress-relieving practices

How can Veterans develop musculoskeletal problems?

During military service, many service members participate in activities that can lead to long-term muscle and skeletal concerns, such as:

  • Carrying heavy equipment
  • Extreme physical training and exercise
  • Overuse of certain body parts
  • Overtraining and repetitive movements
  • Accidents, including falls or vehicle crashes
  • Active duty in combat situations

As a Veteran with musculoskeletal injuries, you may be eligible for VA benefits, but not all Veterans qualify. When you apply, you must prove that your condition is service-related and the extent of your disability.

How to Qualify for VA Disability Benefits For Musculoskeletal Issues

If you are a Veteran who is facing musculoskeletal issues, you may qualify for VA benefits if you can meet the following two requirements:

First, your injury or condition must affect your body or mind, and you must have served in active duty in the military. 

Second, your claim must show:

  • Your injury or condition occurred during your military service, and you can connect your current medical condition to that in-service injury or occurrence
  • Your injury or condition was present before your military service, but joining the military worsened your condition
  • Your injury or condition is connected to your military service, but it didn’t appear until after you separated from service. 
  • Your injury or condition is caused or worsened because of other conditions that the VA agrees are service-connected disabilities

To prove these requirements, you must submit documentation that shows:

  • The terms of your separation from the military – your discharge papers or DD214
  • Either a VA Form 4142 and 4142a that allows the VA to request all medical treatment outside of the VA or any medical documents and other evidence that supports your disability claim, including doctors’ diagnoses and prognoses, x-rays, MRI results, and other test results, along with prescribed treatments

Note that the VA will likely request your in-service treatment records as well as your military personnel file. The VA will also have access to all your VA medical records. 

What Are the Potential VA Musculoskeletal Disability Ratings?

Depending on which diagnostic code and disability rating the VA assigns to your claim, you can expect certain monthly disability payments.

For example:

  • If you are diagnosed with active tuberculosis in your joints and bones, you will likely be rated 100 percent disabled.
  • With chronic arthritis in at least two joints, your rating could range from 20 percent to 100 percent, depending on the severity of your symptoms, your motion limitations, and required treatments.
  • If you are facing cancerous bone tumors, including primary or secondary issues, you may be rated at 100 percent disabled until one year after you finish treatment, at which time your rating could be modified.
  • Other service-related musculoskeletal conditions may fall into various categories and earn different ratings depending on the unique circumstances involved.

In general, disability ratings range from zero percent to 100 percent. The higher your rating, the more your monthly payment will be. The number of dependents you support will also affect the monthly benefit amount if you receive at least a 30 percent rating. 

Since VA benefit payments can change based on your changing circumstances and even annual cost of living increases, talk to a VA benefits representative or a legal professional with VA experience to better understand what your payment might be.

Should You File a VA Claim for Musculoskeletal Issues?

If you are suffering a service-related musculoskeletal illness or condition, you may qualify for VA disability benefits. These benefits were specifically created to compensate those who have served our country and are facing ongoing issues as a result.

There are several ways to apply for VA benefits, including online, in person, and by mail. Law firms that are dedicated to helping Veterans receive VA benefits can also guide you through the often complicated process of applying for benefits and appealing the VA’s decision if it denies or limits your benefits.

Trust Berry Law to Help You Receive the VA Benefits for Musculoskeletal Conditions You Deserve

At Berry Law, we are proud to be Veterans serving Veterans. When you need VA benefits or you want to challenge a VA benefits decision, you can count on our team of legal professionals to go to battle for you.

We are dedicated to helping Veterans throughout the nation live better lives and receive the care and compensation they deserve after sacrificing so much for our country.

If you have questions about a musculoskeletal claim for VA benefits, or you’ve been denied benefits, or you believe your VA rating is too low, give us a call. Put our extensive VA legal experience to work for you. Call (888) 682-0751 today or complete our simple online contact form to learn more.

John S. Berry, , Attorney for Veterans Disability
John S. Berry, , VA Disaility Lawyer
Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

Related Posts

How to File a PACT Act Claim
How to File a PACT Act Claim
How To Fill Out the VA Financial Hardship Form
How To Fill Out the VA Financial Hardship Form
Can You Get Disability With “Other than Honorable” Discharge?
Can You Get Disability With “Other than Honorable” Discharge?

Subscribe to our E-newsletter

The Service Connection

Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.

Skip to content