Troops are exposed to a variety of risks for both their mental and physical health. When it comes to back pain, situations may vary from person to person, but there are often lingering effects of such an injury. A back pain VA rating can vary; Veterans with worse pain can achieve a higher rating. The higher your rating is, the more you’re compensated. All Veterans suffering from such ailments need to know about this system and how to get the benefits and support they rightfully deserve. Learn more about the VA rating for back pain and how to receive compensation, including free physical therapy.
What Is the Average VA Disability Rating for Back Pain?
Because of the nature of back pain from military service and the fact that everyone’s different, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact average back pain VA rating, though an average of 10% is cited by VA Claims Insider.
However, Veterans can expect anywhere between 10% and 100% to be a normal rating depending on the extent of the injury if confirmed by medical professionals.
Your back pain VA disability rating is created through various diagnostic codes assigned to different parts of your spine, but no matter which condition you incur, the formula is the same. Here are some of the ways you’ll need to prove your injury:
- An event while serving in the military that caused the injury or illness.
- A connection between your injury and your quality of life afterward.
- A diagnosis from a medical professional stating that you are currently experiencing back pain.
A wide variety of injuries can qualify Veterans for benefits, but some of the most common issues include:
- Chronic Back Pain.
- Chronic Pain Syndrome (additional benefits may also be available for mental health).
- Lumbosacral Strain.
- Spinal Fusion.
- Spinal Stenosis.
- Vertebral Fracture/Dislocation.
Additional issues include bulging discs or osteoporosis. The main thing is that you’ll have to show that your back pain comes from your military service.
What Is the Highest VA Disability Rating for Back Pain?
The highest back pain VA rating attainable is 100%. In order to receive a higher rating, you’ll need to qualify with severity deemed at the highest level in accordance with the described criteria above.
The key to understanding whether or not your VA back pain rating will be higher or lower will depend on the following factors:
- The lack of mobility you have.
- Hindrances you face due to your back injury.
- How severe your condition is considered to be by a medical professional.
- The frequency in which you experience back pain.
Those suffering from lower back pain from military service and in need of a low back pain VA disability rating should note that while the area in which the pain occurs could worsen their condition, all areas are assessed the same.
It’s also worth noting that this is all only a guideline. Actual procedures and medical advice should be taken from medical professionals.
Free Physical Therapy for TRICARE Beneficiaries
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is providing Veterans with back pain from military service options by establishing a TRICARE low back pain and physical therapy demonstration.
TRICARE beneficiaries with low back pain can receive waived cost-sharing for as many as three physical therapy visits thanks to the demonstration. The idea is to encourage Veterans suffering from such pain to receive treatment at a higher value.
This opportunity will be available for those who qualify through December 31, 2023, unless terminated earlier by the Director, DHA, or designee. The demonstration was selected to take place in states with the highest concentration of TRICARE retirees:
- North Carolina.
Research shows that Veterans who participate in high-quality physical therapy compared to those who only partake in low-quality healthcare are more likely to continue and, thus, are more likely to improve their quality of life.
Options for Veterans With VA Disability Ratings for Back Pain
Determining your eligibility for VA disability benefits is an important first step for getting the compensation you need. But for Veterans not rightfully compensated, there are various legal recourses that may be available.
The VA has reviews and appeals available for Veterans who disagree with their disability rating, and if you still feel short-changed, you can find legal councils that specialize in such cases throughout the country.
Military life is rough, and this means back injuries are, sadly, common. If you served, determine your back pain VA rating and be sure to check out the programs and options available to help you live a better life.
Suggested read: How To Apply for VA Disability & What You Need To Know