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VA Disability For Asthma

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney


Are you a veteran that has service-related asthma and are looking to have your asthma qualify for VA disability benefits? An attorney specializing in appealing the denial of veteran disability claims may be able to help with your asthma claim. The VA will determine whether your asthma qualifies for benefits by evaluating whether your asthma was caused by or became worse due to an event that occurred during your time in the military.

The VA can deny benefits by determining your disability does not qualify. This can be due to an inaccurate evaluation and you may receive a lower disability rating or fail to receive any benefits. There are a few reasons you may fail to receive benefits including the following:

1. You did not provide enough medical evidence;

2. You did not receive the required medical exam called a compensation and pension (C&P) exam;

3. You did not show an adequate correlation between your asthma and your military service.


The C&P exam allows the VA to assess a veteran’s condition. Without having the C&P exam, the veteran’s claim will be automatically denied in most cases.


The VA is often not correct in its decision. Our team of highly experienced veteran benefits attorneys can help you review your VA rating and appeal an asthma claim denial so that you can receive the benefits you deserve. We can help you create a request for the VA to review their decision by presenting statements, testimony, and other evidence. This can also include receiving an Independent Medical Examination (IME) which is similar to the C&P exam but conducted by a private doctor. The IME will also generally include a medical nexus opinion if the examiner can link the condition to your military service.

The IME can give you further evidence to present to the VA. The IME doctor can also provide additional evidence supporting your worsening asthma. You may also want to explore the potential for non-medical, or lay evidence, such as buddy letters or statements from fellow servicemembers who were either eyewitnesses to an in-service event which caused your asthma. Fellow servicemembers may also be able to testify that they witnessed your asthma getting worse throughout your time in the military.


The VA determines Disability ratings by applying the criteria in VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Individual disabilities are assigned separate diagnostic codes. Subsequently, disability ratings are based on the average impairment of earning capacity. “In order to evaluate the level of disability and any changes in severity, it is necessary to consider the complete medical history of the veteran’s disability.” If there is a doubt pertaining to the veteran’s degree of disability, the courts have stated that the doubt should be resolved in the veteran’s favor.

For Asthma, a determination will be made as to what percentage you are disabled under Diagnostic Code (DC) 6602.

The VA rates asthma claims from 0% to 100% using the following information to determine the severity of your asthma:

  • How frequent your asthma attacks occur.
  • How often you need medical intervention to prevent severe asthma attacks.
  • How often you need to use asthma medicine.

The VA uses two measures to evaluate your breathing: Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV-1) which measures the amount of air you breathe in one second forcefully and Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) which measures how much air you breathe out naturally after that second to provide a measurement of your lung function.

Some examples of how this rating is applied to include the following:

  • Bronchial asthma with FEV-1 of 56 to 70 percent predicted, or FEV-1/FVC of 56 to 70 percent predicted, or daily inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy or inhalational anti-inflammatory medication warrants a 30 percent disability rating.
  • Bronchial asthma with FEV-1 of 40 to 55 percent predicted, or FEV-1/FVC of 40 to 55 percent, or at least monthly visits to a physician for required care of exacerbations, or intermittent (at least three per year) courses of systemic (oral or parenteral) corticosteroids warrants a 60 percent disability rating.
  • Bronchial asthma with FEV-1 that is less than 40 percent predicted, or FEV-1/FVC less than 40 percent, or more than one attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure, or requires daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immuno-suppressive medications warrants a maximum 100 percent disability rating.

The disability rating will reflect the severity of the disability. Our team of attorneys can help compile your case so that you can ensure the evidence you present reflects the appropriate disability rating to provide you with benefits.


There are various causes of service-related asthma including the following:

  • Environmental irritants such as smoke, dust, pollution, asbestos exposure, and/ or chemical exposure
  • Side effect from certain medications
  • Abnormal weather conditions making it difficult to breathe
  • Certain physical activities exacerbating asthma
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Stress
  • Allergens

Oftentimes, deployment can trigger some causes listed above.


When assessing your asthma to determine whether you should receive benefits, the VA will evaluate the following criteria:

  • A medical diagnosis for asthma
  • An event that occurred in service creating the injury or worsening of your condition
  • A medical “nexus” or connection between the asthma diagnosis and your military service


Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath.”

The Mayo Clinic explains the symptoms including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing or sleep apnea
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

You may have worsening asthma if:

  • Your Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
  • You experience Increasing difficulty breathing
  • You need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

If you are experiencing asthma from service or worsening asthma due to your time in the military, we highly encourage you to use an attorney experienced in veterans benefits to guarantee you receive your maximum benefits.


What are the chances of winning a VA appeal?

Your chances of winning a VA appeal after your claim has been denied depends on your case and how well your appeal is handled. In order to have the best chance at winning your appeal, it is always in your best interest to work with an experienced VA disability lawyer.


A Veteran Disability Lawyer’s role is to assist you throughout the confusing and often frustrating claim appeals process if you have received a denial of benefits for your service-connected asthma. Generally, you need to be denied at least once before an attorney can assist, but once a lawyer is involved they will often be able to quickly determine what needs to be done in order to prove entitlement.

If your VA disability claim for asthma has been met with denial, be sure to contact the VA Accredited Attorneys at VetLaw right away to help make sure you get the entitlement you deserve.