Skin Conditions Overview
The VA awards disability compensation for Skin conditions that are service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected Skin conditions as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, Skin conditions must have occurred in or resulted from an injury in the Line of Duty to qualify.
As the largest of the body’s organs, Skin conditions can vary immensely in size and severity. Because the Skin is so vast, a single condition could affect one small area or the entire body, or multiple conditions can affect the Skin at the same time.
This page covers all Skin conditions except scars. Info on rating scars can be found on the Scars page.
Applying the Pyramiding Principle to Skin conditions is tricky. A single Skin condition affecting a small area presents with a very different disability than the same condition affecting the entire body, while multiple Skin conditions in the same area would cause symptoms that are impossible to separate for rating purposes. Because of this, the VASRD offers additional guidance on applying the Pyramiding Principle to Skin conditions:
Multiple ratings for different skin conditions can be given as long as:
- each condition has a clear and distinct diagnosis AND
- each condition affects a different area of skin
For a single condition that affects different skin areas, a single rating is given under that condition and takes into account all affected areas. For multiple conditions that affect the same area, the VA will rate only the one that gives the higher rating.
Skin conditions and scars caused by those conditions cannot be rated separately unless specifically noted (see The Skin Condition Ratings page).
Skin Condition Ratings
The VASRD offers ratings for the following Skin conditions:
- Urticaris (“Hives”)
- Skin Discoloration
- Skin Infections
- Acne and Chloracne
- Autoimmune Disorders of the Skin
- Diseases of Keratinization
- Conditions of the Pores and Hair
- Cancer and Tumors of the Skin
- Papulosquamous Disorders
If a Skin condition is not directly listed on the The Skin Condition Ratings page, it is rated under the code that best describes it or its dominant symptoms.
How will the VA rate my Skin conditions?
The VA uses the rules of the VASRD to rate Skin conditions based on their size, severity, etc. Check out our Skin Conditions Ratings page for the exact codes and ratings.
My skin 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?
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 conditions have worsened. How do I increase my rating percentages?
If your 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.