The VASRD Overview
The VASRD (Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities) is a federal regulation that lists detailed requirements for assigning Military Disability Ratings to conditions for Military Disability. While it is a regulation, it carries the force of law, and so we refer to it as a “law” throughout this site for simplicity’s sake.
Each rating in the Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities is meant to reflect how much the service member’s ability to work is affected by their condition. Can they work to support themselves and their family? Are they able to perform the Activities of Daily Living?
The VASRD was created by Congress in an attempt to create a fair disability rating system, and it can only be changed by Congress. Although it tries to be fair, it often seems to fall a bit short. It is important to remember, though, that it is practically impossible to assign a rating for every possible condition and all its variations. To address this problem, there are numerous VASRD Principles that guide how the it should be applied in more complicated cases.
Regardless of whether or not we agree with the VASRD, though, it is law, and that’s just the way it is. Sorry. Of course, you can always help your case by being as knowledgeable as possible about your conditions and their possible rating requirements.
The Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities sorts conditions into numerous categories, including musculoskeletal (bone injuries, joint injuries, arthritis, etc.), muscle (injuries directly related to and affecting the muscles of the body), sensory organs (eyes, ears, etc.), neurological (nerve pain, fibromyalgia, etc.), and more.
Each condition is assigned a four-digit VASRD Code that is used for reference. When assigning a rating, the Rating Authorities will try to choose the code in the VASRD that is the most appropriate for the condition and all its symptoms.
Since the VASRD cannot cover every condition, some conditions must be rated analogously or by the symptoms of the condition. For example, there is no rating in the VASRD for chicken pox, probably since most cases do not cause lasting damage. In the case of the chicken pox leading to severe scarring on the face, however, it is the scars that can be rated. So the chicken pox condition would be rated analogously under a scar code. See our Analogous and Equivalent Codes page for complete information.
While the VASRD has been put in place to regulate the amount of compensation received for each disability, it often leaves a great deal of room for interpretation. It is up to the medical examiners to record the appropriate information and then for the Rating Authorities to review all the medical data and make the ultimate rating decision. A single condition may be able to be rated a number of different ways, but based on the evidence at hand, the Rating Authorities are required to award the most appropriate rating for the condition.
Note: We cannot guarantee that the ratings you may think your condition deserves based on the information on this site will be the ratings you actually receive.
Before you Find Your Condition, read about VA Disability and DoD Disability so that you understand how each rates conditions. The majority of the VASRD applies to both the VA and the DoD, but because of the differences in their rating systems, some rules have to be applied differently.
The Current VASRD
All of our condition pages give complete information about the current VASRD. Simply Find Your Condition to access the current VASRD. The entire original text of the current VASRD can also be found our site with cross-references to our discussions of the various conditions.
All DoD Disability ratings are based on the VASRD that was in effect at the time of separation, so if you were separated a while ago, you may be rated on older versions of the VASRD. If you were separated between 2001 and the present, make sure to check out our Historic VASRDs page to see how the old VASRDs compare to the current one.
What is the Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD)?
The Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities is a federal regulation that details how ratings are assigned to conditions in order for veterans to receive disability benefits.
How does the VASRD rate conditions?
The rating requirements were created with the intent of compensating veterans for any lack of income resulting from their condition. Each condition has its own set of requirements that assigns ratings based on that condition's unique symptoms, physical limitations, treatments, etc.
Who created the VASRD?
It was created by a Congress-appointed committee of doctors, lawyers, and Veteran Affairs officers.
Who uses the Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities?
Originally, it was only used by the VA, and each branch of the military had their own system in place for rating conditions. This ultimately created a large disparity between compensation across all the branches, so Congress ruled in 2008 that all branches were to use the Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities to rate conditions. It is now the only regulation used to rate conditions for military disability.
What if my condition isn't included?
Because of the unlimited number of medical conditions, it is impossible to include every single condition with its own unique rating requirements. Instead, analogous ratings are used to rate conditions not included on the closest condition in either symptoms or treatments.
Does the Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities ever change?
Yes, Congress occasionally will put together a committee to review and update the ratings based on progressed medical knowledge and practices. A complete update started in 2014 and has yet to be completed.
What if I don't agree with the rating my condition was given?
If an incorrect rating was given or you have evidence that you qualify for a different rating, then you can submit an appeal. If, however, your disagreement is with the rating requirements themselves, there isn't much you can do. The rating requirements are law, so your best chance at getting them changed in your favor is to submit a comment during the comment period before a new change is published. We post about these opportunities on our blog.
What do I do if my conditions have worsened?
The VA will update your ratings over time as your conditions worsen and progress. If your conditions have worsened and now qualify for a higher rating, you can submit a new claim and check the box for an increased evaluation.