The Skull


The VA awards disability compensation for each Skull condition that is service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected Skull conditions as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, the Skull condition must have occurred in or resulted from an injury in the Line of Duty to qualify.

Often injuries to the Skull result from other serious conditions, like TBI, brain cancer, surgical treatment, and more. Because of this, conditions of the Skull can only be rated if they are not already covered by a rating for the condition that caused it (Pyramiding Principle). Luckily, all brain codes do not cover damage to the Skull, so a rating for the Skull can be given in addition to any brain rating. 

The VASRD only gives a single code to rate conditions of the Skull, code 5296

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The Skull FAQs

How will the VA rate my Skull condition?

The VA uses the rules of the VASRD to rate Skull conditions based on how the bones themselves are impacted. Check out our Skull Ratings page for the exact codes and ratings. These ratings do not include ratings for any brain damage that occurs in conjunction with the condition.

My 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.

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