What Is the Average VA Disability Rating for Neck Pain?

The average VA disability rating for neck pain generally ranges between 10 percent and 40 percent, depending on the severity of the injury. Neck pain is usually designated in VA claims as cervical spine injury and may be evaluated along with or in addition to claims for back pain.

Knowing the average ratings for a VA disability claim due to neck pain is a compass in your journey. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about translating the impact of your pain into a language the system recognizes. By exploring the average ratings, you can gain insight into the potential compensation you might receive.

You may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the claims process. Understanding the average ratings provides clarity and a sense of control, reducing anxiety. The physical and emotional toll of neck pain can be immense. Recognizing that the VA disability system acknowledges and compensates for these struggles can provide validation for your claim.

Initial Evaluation of Neck Pain for VA Disability Benefits

The VA evaluates neck pain using the criteria outlined in the 38 CFR § 4.73 – Schedule of ratings—muscle injuries. This regulation provides a framework for assessing disabilities related to muscle injuries, including those affecting the neck. The specific criteria outlined in this section help determine the severity of the condition and the corresponding disability rating.

The rating scale for neck pain falls under the section of criteria for injuries to the torso and neck. The scale evaluates function – the postural support of the body, and the extension and lateral movements of the spine. It examines the muscles in the cervical and thoracic regions. The cervical spine is evaluated based on flexion-extension, rotation, and lateral flexion.

Your neck pain will usually be rated according to the following scale:

Severe ………………………………………………….. 40

Moderately Severe …………………………………. 20

Moderate ………………………………………………. 10

Slight ……………………………………………………. 0 

How to Answer Questions About Your Neck Pain

When you’re filling out the application for VA disability benefits for your neck injury, they’ll ask about how your neck moves and feels. It might sound a bit technical, but let’s break it down.

First off, they want to know if the movement of your neck causes any problems. They ask, “Does this range of motion (ROM) contribute to a functional loss?” In simple terms, they’re asking if your neck movements cause any issues that affect how you go about your day.

Later on, they’ll ask more questions about things like pain, fatigue, weakness, lack of endurance, or incoordination. They want to understand how your neck problems might be impacting your daily life.

If you experience pain during the examination, they want to figure out if that pain itself is causing functional loss. It’s essential to describe your pain and how it affects you, especially during flare-ups or after using your neck repeatedly.

Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts of Neck Injury

They divide the questions about your neck function into two parts. The first part asks for objective findings after doing certain movements multiple times. The second part looks at the overall impact of repeated use over time. They want to know if your neck gets worse with time and how that affects you. This part considers both what the doctor finds during the exam and what you share about your situation.

If possible, describe any additional loss of function, like how your neck moves after using it a lot. But if that’s hard to do, just be as clear as you can about how your neck troubles affect you.

Remember, they’re trying to understand your situation as best as possible, so share what you can about your neck’s movement and any pain you experience. It’s all about making sure they get the full picture of what you’re going through.

Proving the Connection Between Military Service and Neck Injury

Proving the link between neck pain and military service is crucial for a successful VA disability claim. Here are some ways you can establish this connection:

  • Service Medical Records: Provide medical records from your time in the military that document any incidents, injuries, or treatments related to your neck pain. This establishes a historical record of the issue.
  • In-Service Events: Describe specific events or activities during your military service that contributed to or exacerbated your neck pain. This could include accidents, falls, or any incidents that led to the development of your condition.
  • Buddy Statements: Statements from fellow service members who witnessed the events or noticed the onset of your neck pain can provide additional evidence. Their accounts can strengthen your case by offering firsthand observations.
  • Post-Service Medical Opinions: Get medical opinions from healthcare professionals linking your current neck condition to events or injuries during your military service. This expert testimony can carry significant weight in establishing causation.
  • Continuous Treatment Records: If you’ve been seeking treatment for your neck pain since leaving the military, provide a detailed record of medical appointments, diagnoses, and treatment plans. This demonstrates the ongoing nature of your condition.
  • Compelling Nexus Letters: Obtain nexus letters from healthcare professionals explicitly stating the connection between your neck pain and military service. These letters should explain how the events during service directly led to your current condition.
  • Photographs or Documentation of Injuries: If available, provide photographs or other documentation related to the injuries or incidents during your military service that contributed to your neck pain.
  • Consistency in Statements: Ensure consistency in your statements across all documentation. Any inconsistencies may be used to question the credibility of your claim.

Additionally, if you have developed secondary conditions as a result of your neck pain, provide evidence and medical opinions linking these conditions back to your military service.

Common Neck Injuries Suffered by Veterans

Whether stemming from combat experiences or other service-related activities, neck injuries can have a lasting impact on your well-being. In this overview, we’ll explore some common neck injuries faced by Veterans and provide insights into what you should consider when filing a disability claim for neck pain.

  • Whiplash: Often resulting from vehicular accidents or sudden impacts, whiplash can cause strain and injury to the neck’s soft tissues, leading to persistent pain and restricted movement.
  • Cervical Strain: Strains in the neck muscles, commonly caused by heavy gear, sudden movements, or prolonged postures, can contribute to chronic pain and discomfort.
  • Herniated Discs: Veterans engaged in physically demanding activities may experience herniated discs in the neck, causing nerve compression, pain, and potential mobility issues.
  • Combat-related Injuries: Trauma from combat situations, such as explosions or falls, can lead to various neck injuries, ranging from fractures to nerve damage.
  • Degenerative Conditions: Over time, wear and tear on the neck joints can result in degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, causing persistent pain and reduced range of motion.

How to File for VA Disability Benefits for Neck Pain

Filing for VA disability benefits for neck pain involves a step-by-step process. Remember, the key is to provide comprehensive and accurate information about your neck pain and its impact on your life. Here’s an overview to guide you through:

  • Complete VA Form 21-526EZ: This is the application form for disability benefits. Provide accurate and detailed information about your neck pain, how it occurred, and its impact on your daily life.
  • Gather and Submit Documentation: Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnoses, treatment plans, and evidence linking your neck pain to your military service.
  • Consider Buddy Statements: Statements from friends, family, or fellow service members who can attest to the impact of your neck pain on your life can be valuable supporting evidence.
  • Attend Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam: You may be scheduled for a medical examination to assess the severity of your neck pain. Be honest about your symptoms and limitations during this examination.

After your claim is reviewed, you’ll receive a decision letter outlining the VA’s determination. This may include the assigned disability rating and any granted benefits. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal.

If facing challenges or complexities in the process, consider seeking assistance from a law firm with experience in VA disability claims.

Contact Berry Law for Your VA Disability Benefits Claim

We understand the unique challenges you face when it comes to seeking the disability benefits you rightfully deserve for neck pain resulting from your dedicated service. At Berry Law, our commitment to Veterans goes beyond legal representation; it’s a shared understanding rooted in the experiences of those who have served.

Our team comprises fellow Veterans who have walked in your boots. Veterans working for Veterans means a unique understanding of the challenges you’ve faced. We’re not just legal advocates; we’re comrades dedicated to supporting our fellow service members. The claims process can be intricate, but with our experienced team by your side, you’ll have seasoned guides who know how to effectively navigate the system.

Obtaining the maximum disability rating for neck pain is not just a legal matter; it’s about recognizing the real impact on your life. If you’re ready to take the next step in securing the benefits you deserve, Berry Law is here to stand with you. Contact us today to explore how we can work together to navigate the VA claims process and achieve the maximum disability rating for your neck pain. Our team of VA disability lawyers is ready to stand by your side, just as you’ve stood for our country. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available to you 24/7. Your fight is our fight.

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

Can a Reservist Get VA Disability
Can a Reservist Get VA Disability
​What Is the VA Disability Rating for Shoulder Pain?
​What Is the VA Disability Rating for Shoulder Pain?
​Can the VA Take Away 100 Percent Permanent and Total Disability?
​Can the VA Take Away 100 Percent Permanent and Total Disability?

Subscribe to our 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