Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System
The VA awards disability compensation for all Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System that are service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected musculoskeletal diseases as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, the musculoskeletal diseases must have occurred in the Line of Duty to qualify.
Since Musculoskeletal Diseases can affect the bones, muscles, joints, connective tissues, ligaments, etc., anywhere in the body, the effects are wide-ranged and varied. This makes rating Musculoskeletal Diseases tricky, to say the least. But while Musculoskeletal Diseases are varied, many cause similar symptoms.
In order to best rate the various effects of Musculoskeletal Diseases while ensuring that no symptom is rated twice (the Pyramiding Principle), the VASRD groups together diseases that cause similar symptoms and rates them all under the same rating system.
These rating systems offer rating options for Musculoskeletal Diseases that are intended to reflect the amount of impact the condition has on the veteran’s ability to work and/or function in daily life.
The first rating system for Musculoskeletal Diseases is Degenerative Arthritis. The following Musculoskeletal Diseases are rated as Degenerative Arthritis:
- Degenerative Arthritis
- Post-traumatic Arthritis
- Non-cancerous bone growth
- Osteitis deformans (Paget’s disease)
- Intermittent hydrarthrosis
- Myositis ossificans
The second rating system for Musculoskeletal Diseases is Rheumatoid Arthritis. The following Musculoskeletal Diseases are rated as Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Gonorrheal Arthritis (a.k.a. gonococcal arthritis)
- Pneumococcic Arthritis
- Typhoid Arthritis
- Syphilitic Arthritis
- Streptococcic Arthritis
- All other Arthritis
Other stand-alone Musculoskeletal Diseases that have their own rating systems include:
All other Musculoskeletal Diseases are rated under the rating system that best covers its symptoms (see the Musculoskeletal Diseases Ratings page).
In any case where Musculoskeletal Diseases are rated under a code other than their own, then the final code for the condition would be two four-digit numbers hyphenated together: i.e. 5019-5003. The first four-digit code defines the condition as Bursitis while the last four-digit code tells how it is rated (Degenerative Arthritis).
If any Musculoskeletal Diseases lead to complete loss of use or amputation of a limb, then it may also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation in addition to or instead of the standard compensation.