The Hand Overview
The VA awards disability compensation for each Hand condition 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 Musculoskeletal System is vast and complex, consisting of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. Thus, a single injury to the Hand can cause multiple issues. Because of this complexity, the VA simplified the rating system for musculoskeletal conditions to focus on the resulting disability from a condition or group of conditions existing in the same body part.
To honor the Pyramiding Principle, only a single rating can be given for conditions of the Hand with a few exceptions. If a nerve condition also exists in the Hand, then that can be rated separately under one of the Lower Nerve codes since the Nervous System is separate and distinct. Other exceptions, if any, are noted in specific rating codes found on the Hand Condition Ratings page.
Muscles do have their own rating system (see the Forearm and Hand Muscles page), but cannot be rated in addition to another musculoskeletal rating for the Hand since they often result in similar symptoms (limitation of motion, etc.).
The VASRD offers ratings for the following musculoskeletal conditions of the Hand:
- Loss of Use/Amputation of the Hand
- Amputation of the Fingers
- Loss of Use of the Fingers
- Limitation of Motion of the Fingers
- Musculoskeletal Diseases
Hand conditions could also be rated on limitation of motion of the Wrist if that is the main symptom that they cause.
If a condition is not directly listed, it is rated under the code that best describes it or its dominant symptom.
In addition to or instead of the standard disability compensation for Hand conditions, amputations or loss of use of the Hand may also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation.