Pure Autonomic Failure is a condition where the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that controls the functioning of the organs) does not work properly. Pure Autonomic Failure mostly affects blood pressure, but can affect other functions as well. The most common symptom is dizziness or fainting because of the blood pooling in the legs since the blood pressure is not strong enough to push it back up to the rest of the body. There is no cure for this condition, and it gets worse over time. It normally does not appear until at least middle age.
Since Pure Autonomic Failure can affect different systems in the body, it can be tough to assign a Military Disability Rating to. The main rule is that the Rating Authorities should choose the VASRD code that is closest to YOUR condition. So first, we need to find a nervous system code that has similar symptoms as your condition.
Some possible nervous system codes include:
Code 8105 – Sydenham’s Chorea. Although pure autonomic failure is not caused by an infection, Sydenham’s Chorea can be degenerative, and can affect the autonomic nervous system.
Code 8019 – Cerebrospinal Meningitis. Again, pure autonomic failure is not caused by meningitis, but it can have many similar symptoms of meningitis, including heart problems, seizures, etc.
There are many possible nervous system codes. Remember, just pick the one that is closest to your condition. Ultimately, the nervous system code does not really matter since most nervous system codes are rated on the symptoms they cause. So, regardless of the code chosen to represent your condition, it will still be rated on the symptoms it causes. For example, if your condition causes high blood pressure, it would be rated under code 7101 (hypertension). If it causes difficulty breathing, it would be rated under code 6841 (difficulty breathing due to spinal cord damage), etc.
The final code for each of the symptoms will look like this: 8019-7101. The first 4 digits refer to the nervous system code that is chosen (8019: Cerebrospinal Meningitis), and the last four refer to the particular symptom that is being rated (7101: Hypertension). This is called an analogous rating.
For the VA, every symptom can be rated separately. For the DoD, only the symptoms that independently cause you to be unable to perform your job at the time of separation can be rated. For example, if your condition causes high blood pressure and neck pain, then the VA will rate both. The DoD will only rate the symptoms that interfere with your ability to do your job. So, if the neck pain is so severe that you can’t perform your duties, it can be rated. If, however, it is just irritating, but doesn’t really limit your abilities, then it can’t be rated.
It can be rather confusing, but just focus on finding and rating each of the symptoms caused by the Pure Autonomic Failure. You can do it!