The Central Nervous System
The Central Nervous System Overview
The VA awards disability compensation for each condition of the Central Nervous System that is service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected conditions as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, the condition must have occurred in or resulted from an injury in the Line of Duty to qualify.
The nervous system connects the brain to the rest of the body. Impulses travel up the nerves and spinal cord to the brain, and the brain then turns these impulses into ideas like pain, heat, etc. Similarly, the brain can send signals through the nerves to various parts of the body, telling it to raise the arm, point the toes, expand the lungs to breath, etc.
The nervous system is divided into two parts: the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the cranial nerves. The peripheral nervous system is made up of all the nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the rest of the body.
The majority of conditions of the Central Nervous System are rated on the symptoms that they cause. Because the Central Nervous System controls every function of the body, these symptoms could be vast and complex.
To honor the Pyramiding Principle, only a single rating can usually be given for multiple conditions of the Central Nervous System unless it is possible to clearly and distinctly separate the symptoms. In situations where multiple Central Nervous System conditions are present, separate ratings can be given as long as no symptom is rated twice and no single code can sufficiently cover the overall level of disability (see The Central Nervous System Ratings page).
Central Nervous System Ratings
The VASRD offers a general rating system for Central Nervous System conditions, as well as individualized ratings to properly cover the symptoms of specific conditions. Ratings are given for:
- Conditions of the Brain
- Conditions of the Spinal Cord
- Nervous System Diseases
- Cancer and Tumors of the Nervous System
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- Migraine Headaches
- The Cranial Nerves
All Central Nervous System conditions not included in the VASRD is rated on the code that best describes the overall condition and/or best rates its symptoms.
In addition to or instead of the standard disability compensation for Central Nervous System conditions, conditions resulting in the loss of use of some body parts or abilities (like walking or speaking) may also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation.
How will the VA rate my Central Nervous System condition?
The VA uses the rules of the VASRD to rate Central Nervous System conditions based on the symptoms that they cause. Check out our Central Nervous System Ratings page for the exact codes and ratings.
My condition wasn't diagnosed until after I was discharged. Can it qualify for VA disability?
The VA can only rate conditions that meet some type of service-connection requirement. For conditions diagnosed after service, the condition must either be a secondary condition caused by another service-connected condition, or it must be on the VA's Presumptive List.
Are my conditions eligible for a rating?
Your conditions are eligible to be rated by the VA if they are the result of your military service. You must be able to show proof of service-connection for each condition. For the DoD, they will rate your service-connected conditions as long as they also make you Unfit for Duty.
How do I apply to receive my ratings for my thigh muscles?
If you are still in the military, then you can request your military physician to refer you to the MEB and start the IDES process. If you are already a veteran, you can submit a VA Disability Claim along with evidence of service-connection and all medical records regarding the conditions on the claim.
If my claim is approved, what benefits will I receive?
If you are rated 20% or less from the DoD, then you will receive a single separation payment. If you are rated 30% or more, you will receive full retirement benefits. From the VA, you will receive a monthly payment as well as full medical care from the VA for the qualifying conditions.
How long does it take to receive my disability benefits?
Brand new claims usually take 3-6 months to process. Once processed, you will start receiving payments in 1-3 months.
How are the rating percentages assigned to my conditions?
The rules of the VA's Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) are used to assign rating percentages to conditions. The VASRD gives rating rules for conditions based on their symptoms, treatment options, and the resulting level of disability they cause.
My Central Nervous System conditions have worsened. How do I increase my rating percentages?
If your Central Nervous System conditions have worsened since you last applied and now qualify for a higher rating, you can submit a new claim, checking the box for an increased evaluation.