GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (2023)

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (1)

If you are a Veteran suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), you may be eligible for medical benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). The VA assigns a disability rating to various illnesses and conditions, including GERD. This blog post will explain what the various disability ratings mean and how they can be determined. By better understanding the V.A.’s rating system, veterans can ensure they receive all the medical care and compensation they are eligible for.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (2)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a troublesome digestive disorder which causes stomach acid to regurgitate into the Esophagus, triggering burning sensations and other telltale signs. GERD is more than just occasional heartburn – it can lead to serious health problems if not treated properly. The VA recognizes GERD as a potentially disabling condition, which is why they provide medical benefits to Veterans suffering from the disorder.

Common Symptoms of GERD

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (3)

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you must speak with your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.

Risk Factors for GERD

GERD is a condition that can be caused or aggravated by certain risk factors. These risk factors include:

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (4)

Eating High-Fat Foods:

Which can relax the muscles of the Esophagus and increase stomach acid.

Consuming Certain Beverages:

Alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages can contribute to GERD.

Certain Medications:

Such as anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and iron pills can irritate the lining of the Esophagus.

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Which increases acid production in the stomach and damages the muscles of the Esophagus.


Which can put pressure on the stomach, resulting in GERD.


The extra weight and pressure from a growing baby can put pressure on the stomach, leading to GERD.

Respiratory Conditions:

Such as COPD, which can cause excessive coughing that can lead to GERD.

It is important to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to prevent or manage symptoms if necessary. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding certain foods and beverages, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways to help reduce the risk of GERD.

Is GERD a Rated Disability by the V.A.?

Yes, GERD is a V.A. disability and can be rated using the criteria in C.F.R. 38, Part 4, V.A. Schedule of Ratings. The rating for GERD is based on the severity of the individual’s symptoms and medical history. Individuals with mild symptoms may be given a 10% rating, while those with more severe GERD may qualify for a 30% or 60% rating.

V.A. Rating Scale for GERD

VA rating for GERD is based on the assumption that it is analogous to other digestive disorders. As such, it is subject to the rating criteria for a condition closest to or requiring the same treatment. This means that GERD is typically rated according to the diagnostic code for Hiatal Hernia, which falls under 38 C.F.R.; 4.114 diagnostic code 7346.

The VA disability ratings under this code, which range from 10 to 60%, are determined by the severity of GERD symptoms.

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (5)

10% rating

To qualify for a 10% rating, the Veteran must exhibit two or more symptoms of the 30% evaluation but with less severity.

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GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (6)

30% rating

For a 30% rating, the Veteran must present with persistently recurrent epigastric distress, dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation accompanied by substernal or arm and shoulder pain, which causes severe impairment of health.

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (7)

60% rating

A 60% rating requires multiple symptoms, such as pain, vomiting, material weight loss, hematemesis, or melena with moderate Anemia, to cause severe health impairment. Any combination of two or more symptoms can qualify for this rating.

(Video) VA Disability GERD & IBS Quick Tip

Connecting GERD as a V.A. Disability

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (8)

GERD Started During Service

If you develop GERD during active duty, you may be eligible for service-connected disability compensation. To qualify for this diagnosis, you must have evidence that the condition was contracted or aggravated during service. This qualifies as a “presumption of service connection” and can make it easier to be approved for disability compensation.

GERD Made Worse by Service

Not all veterans who suffer from GERD were diagnosed with it during active duty. However, if the Veteran can show that their current level of GERD was made worse by their service, they may be eligible for a disability rating. The Veteran must show evidence that the condition was aggravated during active duty and has worsened since discharge.

GERD Diagnosed After Service

Veterans diagnosed with GERD after leaving service may still be eligible for disability compensation. The Veteran must show evidence of the diagnosis and demonstrate that the condition is related to service. The Veteran must also prove that the symptoms and diagnosis are consistent with an in-service event or injury.

Pursuing GERD as a Secondary Condition

Regarding GERD as a secondary condition, veterans may be able to obtain service connections if they are already service-connected for another respiratory condition. The VA will consider the opinion of medical experts that GERD was developed secondarily due to chronic irritation of the Esophagus caused by a pre-existing respiratory condition.

This can also occur due to the effects of medications used to control the primary condition. These medications can include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, potassium, iron pills, and certain antibiotics.

For example, a service-connected veteran for COPD may file a V.A. claim for GERD as a secondary disability if they can provide evidence that their condition caused or aggravated GERD. To prove a secondary service connection, veterans must provide medical evidence showing that their pre-existing service-connected disability resulted in or aggravated the GERD.

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In addition, there are other medications that are known to weaken or relax the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) which can also cause GERD. Medications that fall under this scenario include but not limited to antidepressants, narcotics, calcium channel blockers, and sedatives.

The C&P Exam for GERD

The C&P Exam for GERD is an important part of obtaining veterans’ benefits. A C&P examiner will assess a veteran’s physical condition and history of signs and symptoms related to GERD. Recently, blood tests have been included in the C&P exam for GERD to screen for Anemia. An accurate diagnosis of Anemia requires a blood test to be conducted.

It’s important to explain to the C&P examiner how your GERD symptoms affect your ability to work and engage in everyday life and social activities. Questions may include the frequency of symptoms, how severe they are, and how long you have been experiencing them.

To prepare for the C&P exam, reviewing the GERD DBQ form is a good idea, especially section III: Signs and Symptoms. By considering the frequency, severity, and duration of esophageal symptoms in advance, you’ll be better prepared for the C&P exam. This can help ensure you get the benefits you deserve.

Secondary Conditions That GERD May cause

GERD VA Disability Rating Explained – VET CLAIM SOLUTIONS (9)

GERD can cause many secondary conditions. Sleep Apnea, Asthma, Sinusitis, Erosive Esophagitis, and Barrett’s Esophagus are all known to be caused by GERD in some cases.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing stops briefly during sleep. It is a serious condition that can cause oxygen deprivation and significantly impact a person’s ability to function during the day. GERD may lead to Sleep Apnea by narrowing the airway due to throat swelling.


Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. GERD can cause Asthma by causing inflammation of the air passages.


Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses which causes congestion, sinus headaches, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. GERD may lead to Sinusitis by increasing inflammation in the area and leading to the thickening of mucous membranes.

Erosive Esophagitis and Barrett’s Esophagus

Erosive Esophagitis and Barrett’s Esophagus are two more conditions that GERD can cause. Erosive Esophagitis is a condition where the lining of the Esophagus becomes damaged due to acid reflux. Barrett’s Esophagus is an abnormal change in cells in the lower Esophagus due to long-term irritation caused by GERD.

It’s important to recognize the potential secondary conditions caused by GERD and seek medical help early to minimize any adverse effects or long-term damage. Treating GERD promptly may prevent secondary conditions from developing or becoming more severe.

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Do You Have Questions about Filing a Claim for GERD?

If you have questions about filing a VA disability claim for GERD, the experienced coaches at Vet claim solutions will guide you through the entire process to ensure you get the VA benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our staff is here to help every step of the way.


How do I win a VA claim for GERD? ›

To qualify for VA disability benefits for a GERD, you must prove that your military service caused or aggravated your symptoms. This is easiest to demonstrate if you incurred an injury or illness that caused GERD during active duty or had the early symptoms of the condition documented in your service treatment records.

Can you get 100% VA disability for GERD? ›

The VA schedule of ratings allows a disability rating for a hiatal hernia and GERD ranging from 10% to 60%, depending on the severity of symptoms.

How do I get a 60% VA rating for GERD? ›

A 60% rating requires “symptoms of pain, vomiting, material weight loss and hematemesis or melena with moderate anemia; or other symptom combinations productive of severe impairment of health.”

What is the average VA disability rating for GERD? ›

VA Disability Ratings for GERD

GERD is typically rated analogous to a hiatal hernia under 38 CFR § 4.114, Schedule of Ratings – Digestive System, Diagnostic Code 7346. Ratings under this diagnostic code range from 10 to 60 percent disabling, depending on the severity of symptoms.

What is the C&P exam for GERD? ›

A C&P exam for GERD usually involves a physical examination and history of your signs and symptoms over time. Lately, C&P examiners have been administering blood tests during a veterans C&P exam for GERD, which is to screen for Anemia. The only accurate way to test for Anemia is through a blood test.

Is GERD secondary to sleep apnea? ›

Put simply, no— GERD does not cause sleep apnea, but it can occur secondary to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although there are few studies examining the relationship between the two conditions there's a high prevalence, with 58-62% of OSA patients with GERD.

Can acid reflux be service connected? ›

The majority of veterans receive service connection for acid reflux on a direct basis. Direct service connection requires three elements: (1) a current diagnosis; (2) an in-service event, injury, or illness; and (3) a medical nexus linking your diagnosed condition to the in-service occurrence.

How does PTSD cause GERD? ›

GERD can develop when the symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety, stress, and depression, lead to an overproduction of stomach acid. In some people, medications taken to treat PTSD can also lead to GERD as a side effect.

Can depression and anxiety cause GERD? ›

There is some evidence to suggest that stress and anxiety may provoke acid reflux or make the symptoms worse. For instance, a 2018 study involving more than 19,000 people found that those with anxiety were more likely to experience GERD symptoms.

How much is VA disability for erectile dysfunction? ›

Unlike other disabilities, erectile dysfunction is not given a rating schedule but instead, uses the following to determine compensation: Code 7520 Partial removal of the penis. This gives a rating of 30%.

Is GERD related to burn pits? ›

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have been linked to service-related exposure to contaminated drinking water, toxic burn pits, and combat-related stress.

What does the VA considered high blood pressure? ›

A 20 percent rating is assigned for diastolic pressure that is predominantly 110 or more, or systolic pressure predominantly 200 or more. A 40 percent rating is assigned where diastolic pressure is predominantly 120 or more. A 60 percent rating is assigned where diastolic pressure is predominantly 130 or more.

Is GERD and sleep apnea a VA disability? ›

Sleep apnea and GERD can both be disruptive conditions that can have a severe impact on your life. Doctors aren't entirely sure why there is a connection between sleep apnea and GERD. If you have either or both of these conditions and you served in the military, you could be eligible for compensation from the VA.

Is PTSD related to GERD? ›

Yes, GERD is a secondary service connection to PTSD. Research shows that PTSD symptoms like anxiety and depression can lead to acid reflux. Plus, as we mentioned above, some medications for PTSD symptoms can cause GERD.

What is the VA rating for gastritis and GERD? ›

Gastritis: Gastritis is an erosion of the stomach lining. VA disability ratings for gastritis range from 10% to 60% depending on the amount of the stomach affected and the presence of hemorrhages.

What not to say at C&P exam? ›

Don't Lie or Stretch the Truth. This is a big one. Don't ever lie or stretch the truth when it comes to your VA disability claim. At your C&P exam, you should think, look, act, and speak as you would on a normal day.

Who checks for GERD? ›

Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist to diagnose and treat GERD.

What is GERD assessment? ›

This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. Esophageal manometry also measures the coordination and force exerted by the muscles of your esophagus. This is typically done in people who have trouble swallowing.

Does CPAP make GERD worse? ›

Generally in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP reduces GERD by eliminating the suction built up behind the blocked airway due to the chest attempting to breathe in. However in some cases, especially in patients with severe OSA, CPAP can exacerbate GERD.

Will sleep apnea go away if GERD goes away? ›

GERD Treatment Helps Remedy Sleep Apnea

The good news is that treating either sleep apnea or acid reflux appears to improve both conditions. Because sleep apnea and GERD are challenging to diagnose, they can go undetected for years.

What is the secondary cause of GERD? ›

A hiatal hernia (in which a portion of the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm into the chest) and poor esophageal muscle contractions can also contribute to GERD. Diet and lifestyle also play a role. Fatty foods, mints, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and tea, all relax the LES.

Can I claim acid reflux for VA disability? ›

Is Acid Reflux Considered a Disability Qualified for VA Benefits? Yes. Since acid reflux and its effects can interfere with your ability to work, you can obtain GERD and acid reflux VA disability benefits.

What conditions are related to reflux? ›

Heartburn-like pain is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but several other conditions can cause a burning feeling in your chest, including gallstones, stomach ulcer and esophageal cancer.

What is the VA rating for sleep apnea? ›

The VA rates sleep apnea on a range of 0% for a documented sleep disorder that is asymptomatic, 30% for persistent day-time sleepiness, 50% with the required use of a breathing device such as a CPAP machine, or 100% with chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale (abnormal enlargement of ...

What is the VA rating for GERD with PTSD? ›

VA Ratings for GERD

30%–Requires “persistently recurrent epigastric distress with dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm and shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of heath.”

What are the mental effects of GERD? ›

GERD can lead to anxiety and depression, in turn, psychological disorders can also lead to reflux symptoms. People with depression are 1.7 times more likely to develop GERD compared to those without depression.

Can GERD cause memory problems? ›

Findings: Patients with GERD showed higher incidence of dementia, and elder GERD patients had the highest risk of dementia occurrence. Meaning: Clinicians should be concern of the association between GERD and dementia and should develop strategies to prevent dementia while managing patients with GERD.

Can GERD affect your brain? ›

Patients with GERD showed higher risk developing dementia than control group, with an aHR of 1.34 (95% C.I., 1.07, 1.67). In GERD patients between above 70 years old, the risk of developing dementia was higher than that of the control groups (aHR = 1.34; 95% C.I., 1.01, 1.77).

Which antidepressant is best for GERD? ›

The results of this study clearly demonstrate that patients with typical reflux symptoms who have failed twice-daily PPI therapy and have a well-defined diagnosis of hypersensitive esophagus will benefit from treatment with citalopram.

Can anxiety be mistaken for GERD? ›

Not everyone experiences heartburn when they're stressed, and others may be experiencing symptoms of mild hyperventilation which can mimic heartburn symptoms (such as chest pain) and are very common with anxiety.

What is the easiest VA disability to claim? ›

Tinnitus. Tinnitus, otherwise known as “Ringing-in-the-Ear-Syndrome” is by far the #1 easiest VA disability to claim. Tinnitus is when you experience ringing, hissing, buzzing, or other noises in one or both of your ears.

What are the best things to claim for VA disability? ›

You may be able to get VA disability benefits for conditions like these:
  • Chronic (long-lasting) back pain resulting in a current diagnosed back disability.
  • Breathing problems resulting from a current lung condition or lung disease.
  • Severe hearing loss.
  • Scar tissue.
  • Loss of range of motion (problems moving your body)
  • Ulcers.
Apr 5, 2023

What is the VA rating for anxiety? ›

For most anxiety and depression disorders, VA offers ratings of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100%.

What are red flags with GERD? ›

Symptoms of GORD
  • heartburn (an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest that often occurs after eating)
  • acid reflux (where stomach acid comes back up into your mouth and causes an unpleasant, sour taste)
  • oesophagitis (a sore, inflamed oesophagus)
  • bad breath.
  • bloating and belching.
  • feeling or being sick.
Feb 13, 2023

Where does GERD do the most damage? ›

In addition to potentially damaging the lower esophagus, frequent heartburn or GERD may also damage the upper throat. This can occur if the stomach acid comes all the way up into the back of the throat or nasal airway.

What is the VA rating for GERD 30? ›

A 30 percent rating is warranted when there is persistently recurrent epigastric distress with dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm or shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of health. 38 C.F.R.

Is high cholesterol a VA disability? ›

Is there a VA disability rating for high cholesterol? Unfortunately, there is not. The VA does not recognize high cholesterol as something that can be related to service. This is likely because high cholesterol is often a byproduct of a combination of genetics, age, a lack of exercise and unhealthy eating.

How hard is it to get VA disability for high blood pressure? ›

The VA uses the following criteria to rate hypertension: 60% rating is given if your diastolic pressure is 130 or higher. 40% rating is given if your diastolic pressure measures between 120 and 129. 20% rating is given if your diastolic pressure is 110-119, or your systolic pressure is 200 or higher.

Does medication affect VA disability? ›

A veteran will continue to qualify for VA benefits regardless of any alleviating affects of medication on their condition as long as the diagnostic code for the condition does not specifically mention medication and the veteran otherwise meets the criteria to receive benefits for the disability.

Is it a mandatory 50% if issued a CPAP by the VA? ›

50 percent: the veteran requires the use of a breathing device, such as a CPAP machine. 30 percent: the veteran is experiencing hypersomnolence, or excessive daytime sleepiness, that does not improve with sufficient sleep or even with naps during the day.

Why did the VA deny my sleep apnea claim? ›

Medical Confirmation

If you have not been professionally diagnosed with sleep apnea, the VA will deny your claim based on inconclusive medical evidence. The denial of disability claims for unconfirmed, undiagnosed sleep apnea is a regular occurrence for the VA.

How do I prove sleep apnea for VA claim? ›

NOTE: The diagnosis of sleep apnea must be confirmed by a sleep study; provide sleep study results in Diagnostic testing section. If other respiratory condition is diagnosed, complete the Respiratory and / or Narcolepsy Questionnaire(s), in lieu of this one.

How is GERD rated by the VA? ›

VA Disability Ratings for GERD

GERD is typically rated analogous to a hiatal hernia under 38 CFR § 4.114, Schedule of Ratings – Digestive System, Diagnostic Code 7346. Ratings under this diagnostic code range from 10 to 60 percent disabling, depending on the severity of symptoms.

How does the VA rate GERD and IBS? ›

VA Disability Ratings for GERD

Typically, GERD is rated analogous to a hiatal hernia under 38 C.F.R. 4.114 diagnostic code 7346. Ratings under diagnostic code 7346 range from 10 to 60 percent disabling and depend on the presence and severity of a variety of symptoms.

Is GERD and acid reflux the same thing? ›

Acid reflux is the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. The feeling of acid reflux is heartburn: a mild burning sensation in the mid-chest, often occurring after meals or when lying down. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of acid reflux.

How does GERD impact your life? ›

GERD can impact a patient's life in some of the following ways: Persistent Typical and Atypical Symptoms: May result in heartburn, chest pain, sore throat and other symptoms despite medication. Sleeping Positions: Nighttime reflux can compromise sleep for people who sleep in a typical horizontal position.

How do I get the highest VA disability rating? ›

How Do I Increase My VA Disability Rating?
  1. Filing an appeal within VA's deadlines.
  2. Filing a new claim for an increased rating.
  3. Filing for TDIU, or total disability based on individual unemployability.
  4. Filing for secondary service connection.

Can you get disability for severe GERD? ›

If your gastroesophageal reflux disease is not well controlled by available treatments or has led to serious complications, then you may qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits or Social Security Disability benefits for GERD.

Can GERD cause anxiety? ›

There is some evidence to suggest that stress and anxiety may provoke acid reflux or make the symptoms worse. For instance, a 2018 study involving more than 19,000 people found that those with anxiety were more likely to experience GERD symptoms.

What is the trigger factor of GERD? ›

Smoking. Eating large meals or eating late at night. Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods. Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee.

What are the psychological causes of GERD? ›

GERD can lead to anxiety and depression, in turn, psychological disorders can also lead to reflux symptoms. People with depression are 1.7 times more likely to develop GERD compared to those without depression.

How do I go from 90% to 100% VA disability rating? ›

In this article about going from 90% to 100% VA rating
  1. #1 Add an additional service-connected condition.
  2. #2 Increase the rating of an existing service-connected condition.
  3. #3 Apply for TDIU.
Jun 2, 2022

Can you go from 70% to 100% VA disability? ›

Appealing your current ratings is another way to move from a 70% rating to a 100% rating. Veterans who wish to appeal an open claim in the AMA system have three options: Request a higher-level review. File a supplemental claim.

Is it hard to go from 80 to 100 VA disability? ›

Because of the way in which VA adds disabilities together, it is difficult to go from a schedular 80 percent to a schedular 100 percent rating. You would need to have another condition rated at 80 percent in order to receive a 100 percent combined schedular rating.

What are the 4 types of GERD? ›

Types of GERD
  • Stage 1: Mild GERD. Minimal acid reflux occurs once or twice a month. ...
  • Stage 2: Moderate GERD. Symptoms are frequent enough to require prescription acid reflux medication, which is typically taken daily. ...
  • Stage 3: Severe GERD. ...
  • Stage 4: Precancer or cancer.

What conditions are similar to GERD? ›

  • Anaphylaxis.
  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
  • Cough.
  • Cystic Fibrosis.
  • Food Allergy.
  • Lung Cancer.

What is worse than GERD? ›

GERD and LPR are more serious and should be checked out by a doctor. Not only will they help you get the treatment you need, but they will also see if there is any damage to your esophagus or throat.


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