Veteran clutches her stomach in pain while eating breakfast due to a digestive problem

New VA Criteria for Service-Related Digestive Conditions Expands Access to Disability Benefits

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The VA is acknowledging the severity of digestive conditions with its improved disability rating schedule that provides greater benefits for veterans. 


  • Recent reforms to the VA’s disability rating schedule for digestive conditions mean that veterans may have a higher likelihood of securing disability benefits.
  • A veteran’s experiences in the military can cause them to develop service-related digestive issues.
  • Some of the most common digestive conditions, including IBS, celiac disease, and hemorrhoids, are affected by these updates.
  • VetLaw can assist veterans in navigating these changes, offering support for appeals and ensuring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits.

Service-related digestive issues can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and embarrassing to deal with. Getting the VA to take your digestive condition claim seriously can be a struggle. The VA has issued new criteria for digestive conditions that extend disability benefits to more veterans and offer higher compensation rates for qualified vets.

VetLaw can help you take advantage of this opportunity to access VA disability benefits for a digestive condition that was caused or aggravated by your military service. Our nationally recognized veterans disability claims lawyers understand what the VA is looking for in a disability benefits claim and how to obtain that documentation.

We encourage you to speak with one of our veterans disability appeals lawyers if your service-related digestive condition claim was denied under the existing VA ratings schedule, or if you believe you are now entitled to additional VA disability benefits based on the new standards. 

To schedule a free consultation with us, call (855) 670-0614 or complete our contact form today.

Vets With Digestive Conditions May Benefit From VA Adjustments to the Current Rating Schedule

The VA disability ratings schedule assigns a percentage to specific symptoms and impairments of a service-related condition. That percentage indicates a veteran’s level of disability from that injury or illness. 

The VA makes this determination based on the medical information you include in your disability benefits claim and the results of your C&P exam. As medical understanding of service-related illnesses and injuries evolves, the VA aims to adapt along with it, hence the new criteria for digestive conditions. 

Notably, the VA has increased the ceiling for celiac disease disability ratings, authorized disability benefits for less severe forms of hemorrhoids, and added more nuance to the IBS rating schedule. The VA’s new standards will officially take effect on May 19th, 2024.

Celiac Disease VA Rating Schedule

Even in its milder forms, celiac disease often requires veterans to restrict their gluten intake. When a vet with celiac disease consumes gluten, it can trigger an immune response that erodes the small intestine lining. A major concern with celiac disease is that the individual’s compromised digestive system will prevent them from absorbing nutrients. 

Veterans with celiac disease can now apply for VA disability benefits under the new system that distinguishes celiac disease with its own disability rating schedule. The existing VA disability rating schedule for celiac disease capped vets at 30%, but now veterans with service-related celiac disease can receive a 30%, 50%, or 80% disability rating.

Mild Hemorrhoids Now Qualify for VA Disability Benefits

Hemorrhoids are a common digestive condition characterized by engorged blood vessels along the anus or rectum. When irritated, they can be extremely painful, making it hard to tolerate sitting for extended periods. 

Veterans with a medical nexus for mild or moderate hemorrhoids are potentially eligible for a 10% disability rating and corresponding benefits. Both internal and external hemorrhoids can count as a service-related disability.

Based on the older VA disability rating schedule for hemorrhoids, veterans who experienced only mild or moderate levels of impairment or discomfort were not eligible for benefits even if their digestive condition was service-related.

Additional Level for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Included in New Criteria for Digestive Conditions

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) refers to a collection of digestive symptoms, such as acute stomach pain, irregular bowel movements, and gas. It is common for veterans with IBS to experience flare-ups of symptoms caused by triggers such as foods.

Generally, the more seriously and frequently a veteran’s IBS symptoms present, the higher their disability rating. The latest VA criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome now includes a 20% rating.

This benefits veterans with chronic IBS symptoms that aren’t severe enough to warrant a 30% disability rating but are measurably worse than the symptoms that correspond with a 10% disability rating.

Let VetLaw Help You Appeal Your VA Digestive Disability Claim

It’s important to ensure that the VA evaluates your veterans disability benefits claim under the new criteria for digestive conditions because your disability rating could change. As a result, you may be eligible for additional types of benefits, such as Special Monthly Compensation, in addition to a straightforward increase in compensation.

Vet Law specializes in tough appeals. We are the veterans disability claims attorneys you want on your side when the VA has denied your claim and you are at a loss for what to do next. Our accomplished veterans claim appeals lawyers will help you make the case for the VA disability benefits you deserve. Call (855) 670-0614 or complete our contact form today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the VA using the new rating schedule for pending VA disability claims or the old rating schedule?

The VA is evaluating pending disability claims for digestive conditions with both sets of criteria.  Ultimately, the VA will use the disability rating schedule that offers the veteran better disability benefits for their digestive condition. You may also be able to pursue an extra-schedular rating.

Will my VA disability rating automatically be updated based on the changing criteria for digestive conditions?

No. If you filed a VA disability claim for a service-connected digestive condition before May 19th, 2024, and received a decision, you’ll need to file an appeal for an increased rating. The VA will then review your appeal under the updated VA disability rating schedule for digestive issues.

What are the common causes of service-related digestive conditions?

Military personnel may have minor digestive issues that do not preclude them from serving, but later develop severe digestive symptoms brought on by military service. Veterans are also vulnerable to new digestive conditions resulting from their service.

The following are factors that can cause or contribute to digestive conditions, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in veterans:

  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gulf War service
  • Frequent use of pain relievers
  • Extreme or chronic stress