Symptom or Condition?

It can be a bit tricky to figure out how to assign a Military Disability Rating to some conditions/symptoms. Some things may seem like a condition in and of themselves but are really just symptoms of bigger conditions. Just because something has an official sounding name doesn’t mean it is a condition all by itself. Similarly, some conditions have such a small effect on the overall functioning of the body, that it just isn’t ratable.

Here are a few examples of such symptoms/conditions:
Nyctalopia is a vision condition that makes it very hard to see at night. The VASRD doesn’t give a VASRD Code for nyctalopia. It is rare to have serious nyctalopia without having normal vision loss as well, so while nyctalopia isn’t ratable, vision loss is definitely ratable.
Bruit is a term used to describe the sound of the blood rushing past a block in the arteries or veins. Bruit is not a condition at all, just a sound, and thus a sign of a blood flow restriction or block condition. The bruit cannot receive a rating, but the condition causing the bruit most likely can.
Barrett’s Esophagus is a condition where the esophagus is damaged by acid from the stomach. It can make it hard to swallow. This is really not a condition but a symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). So, if GERD is diagnosed, then that is what is rated, not the Barrett’s Esophagus. If, however, GERD is not diagnosed or the condition is caused by something else, then Barrett’s Esophagus can be rated under code 7203, stricture of the esophagus.
In order for you to properly understand how your conditions should be rated, it is important that you research your conditions and figure out whether each is truly a condition or whether it is just a symptom of another condition.
We provide thorough explanations of the VASRD and the VASRD Principles used to assign ratings for Military Disability. In our discussions, remember that each individual symptom cannot be rated unless it specifically says that it can. Find Your Conditions on our site to see what Military Disability Benefits you deserve.


  • I have a question to you regarding the VA Claim, which I have not submitted yet:

    1) I was told I have the following conditions with my feet: Plantar Fasciatis (acquired), cavus feet, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, shin splints, and calcaneus heels, so my question is should I list all of these separately, or just put "foot condition" on the claim form? Similarly, I was told I have GERD, but it was also discovered I have esophagitis and duodenitis on an endoscopy (EGD) I had about a year ago. I also get a lot of chest and throat pain with the GERD. Should I just list GERD on my claim and assume that esophagitis and duodentis fall under the GERD condition, or should I list all of these conditions separately?

    Thank You

  • You're correct that many of these will be considered a single condition since one will have caused another. On the form, however, it is best to list each one separately. The Rating Authorities can then decide which conditions can be rated separately or which are a single condition. If you only list Gerd and a generic foot condition, then you will only get two ratings. If you list everything, though, the Rating Authorities may decide that some of them can be rated separately, and you may get more than two ratings. Definitely list separately and let them combine them as they want.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top