By submitting this form, you agree to be contacted via the information given through email, phone call, or text message.

VA Disability For Asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects the respiratory airways and can make breathing difficult. Asthma can cause the bronchial airways to become swollen and narrow, often producing excess mucus. Sometimes these symptoms are persistent and can also become exacerbated by an asthma attack resulting in these symptoms becoming more acute and even causing an inability to breathe in the case of severe attacks. 

Due to many causes, veterans can acquire asthma directly as a result of their service or as secondary condition to a service-related condition.

Symptoms of asthma can include:

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Problems falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or speaking

These asthma symptoms can vary in frequency, intensity, and duration.

For veterans and other individuals suffering from asthma, this condition can sometimes be controlled with medication which allows them to engage in most daily activities without too many problems. In other cases an individual may experience more frequent asthma attacks or more severe symptoms that impact an individual’s ability to work.

In general, to meet the VA ratings for disability due to asthma you must show:

  1. That you are currently diagnosed with asthma

  2. An in-service injury or illness

  3. A medical link, or nexus, between the diagnosis and in-service event

Evaluating Asthma

Two test results help to determine the effect of the condition on an individual. One is FEV-1, which is a measurement of how much an individual can forcefully exhale in one second. The second test involves measuring the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled or exhaled from the lungs, this is known as the FVC. The FEV-1 is used for gauging the condition along with a ratio using FEV-1/FVC. Both are compared to the general population to measure how limited an individual’s breathing is.

The VA rating system for asthma is as follows:

  • 10% -- at this rating a veteran has a need for occasional use of an asthma inhaler or an oral bronchodilator. FEV-1 --; 71-80%, FEV/FVC ratio --; 71-80%

  • 30% --; this rating indicates a need for a daily inhaler for bronchodilator therapy and / or anti-inflammatory medication. FEV-1 --; 56-70%, FEV-1/FVC ratio --; 56-70%

  • 60% --; at this rating there are monthly doctor visits to manage exacerbations or at least three prescribed courses of corticosteroids per year. FEV-1 --; 40-55%, FEV-1/FVC --; 40-50%

  • 100% --; this rating is for cases in which one asthma attack occurs per week involving respiratory failure, or the use of daily corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications.  FEV-1 under 40%, FEV-1/FVC under 40%

Multiple VA Disability Ratings

In many cases, veterans deployed overseas can be more likely to experience asthma. This is especially true when stationed in locations such as deserts, which can produce dust particles, and also if stationed in locations where burn pits have been used to burn off garbage and waste. 

In some cases, asthma can lead to other conditions that can be independently rated by the VA. For example, sleep apnea can be a secondary claim to a condition such as asthma. A secondary service claim can be made for a current diagnosis of sleep apnea if it can be shown that the sleep apnea was caused or made worse by a separate condition that stems from service in the military, such as asthma.

Asthma as a secondary condition

Asthma can also result from another service-related condition. Asthma can be secondary to diabetes, depression, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

If you suffer from asthma and it affects your ability to sleep, you may want to consider undergoing a sleep study. A secondary VA rating may not boost your overall rating to 100% due to the VA’s complicated method of calculation. However, a secondary rating may make you a candidate for Individual Unemployability, which allows for benefits to be paid at the 100% rating level without actually increasing your rating to 100%.

Contact the Friedman Firm

Whether you need to appeal a denial of benefits or are seeking an increase in your VA rating, we can help. The Friedman Firm offers a free consultation and will explore all possible options when it comes to obtaining the maximum VA disability benefits available for you. 

More in VA Benefits: Veterans Disability Claims