VA Disability For Diabetes


Diabetes is a condition that is all too common amongst veterans. The most affected veterans are those who served during the Vietnam War due to their exposure to Agent Orange. While they are the largest percentage who are now approaching their wisdom years, Diabetes seems to be keen on wrecking their lives. Luckily, VA disability benefits are available for veterans with diabetes.

In general, diabetes is identified as a metabolic condition that impairs the body’s capability to appropriately regulate blood sugar. It mainly manifests in two forms:

  • Type 1 Diabetes. This form is caused by an autoimmune reaction that makes the pancreas produce very little or no insulin. This is the type of diabetes that is very common amongst children and teenagers. About 5-10% of people diagnosed with diabetes have this type.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. This form is also commonly called adult-onset diabetes, mainly because it develops over a prolonged period and is induced by a number of lifestyle factors and genetics. For this form of diabetes, the body produces insulin but fails to effectively use it. About 90-95% of individuals who are diagnosed with diabetes have this type.

VA disability benefits are generally unavailable if you have type 1 diabetes, although there are certain limited exceptions. Type 2 diabetes, which is a presumptive condition for those veterans exposed to Agent Orange, is most commonly service connected.


If you developed diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, during or after your service in the US military, you could be eligible for VA disability benefits. However, to get the VA benefits for diabetes mellitus type 2, you must be able to prove that there was a nexus between the condition and an in-service illness, event, or injury.

It can be challenging to qualify for VA disability diabetes benefits, even when your claim is legitimate. Things like errors in the application process or omission of critical evidence pieces could leave you amongst the list of those whose VA disability claims have been denied. However, you can appeal your diabetes claim denial with the help of a veteran benefits lawyer and receive your share of VA benefits.


As it does other conditions, the VA rates diabetes as per the degree to which it affects the average loss in earning capacity for a veteran. The ratings start from 0% to 100% with increments of 10%. The higher your percentage rating, the higher the amount of compensation you qualify for. This is why it is very important for your claim to highlight all the symptoms you experience accurately.

You should note that the VA rating for diabetes mellitus type 2 features “and’s” but no “or’s.” This implies that there are several conditions you need to meet to qualify. For instance, you must be on insulin, and unable to undertake various activities, and on a restricted diet to receive a 20% rating.

At the bottom of the rating schedule, your diabetes will be considered as 10% disabling if it is possible to manage it by only following an appropriate diet. Diabetes will be rated as 100% disabling if you suffer from a severe host of symptoms, including multiple insulin injections per day and either medical care on a weekly basis or frequent hospitalizations for diabetic complications.


One of the most common reasons to obtain a service connection for diabetes is exposure to Agent Orange. However, there are a number of other in-service exposures that can lead to the disease.

For example, according to the VA’s Office of Research and Development, air pollution leads to an increased risk of diabetes. The agency conducted a study using the records of 1.7 million veterans and concluded that outdoor air pollution, even at levels generally considered harmless, can cause diabetes.

For military personnel, they frequently encounter a wide variety of airborne microscopic pieces as they serve in numerous parts of the world. This includes dirt, dust, smoke, liquid droplets, and soot. The VA reports that its previous studies have proven that such particles can enter the lungs and get into the bloodstream, where they trigger several conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. For diabetes, the particles inhibit proper insulin production and trigger inflammation, making the body unable to convert blood glucose into the energy it needs, as the VA experts hypothesized.


Sometimes it can be difficult to prove how the time spent on active duty contributed to a diabetes diagnosis. However, the connection can be implied using several conditions. For example, if you are one of the veterans who served as “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam War, your diabetes might have been triggered by a toxic chemical commonly called Agent Orange. This applies to veterans who served in Thailand as well and other locations related to the Vietnam War, such as Navy Veterans who qualify for Blue Water status.

Agent Orange, sometimes called a tactical herbicide by the VA, is highly toxic and has been proven to have a debilitating effect on the health of humans. Even if you did not get exposed to the chemical directly or personally handle it, being in the area where it was used could have triggered severe health problems. The majority of the conditions do not manifest for years or even decades after the exposure.

The VA recognizes exposure to Agent Orange as a factor that could have led to a diabetes diagnosis. This means that you might automatically qualify for VA benefits if you served in Vietnam and some other regions in Southeast Asia from 1962 to 1975. If your service records verify the location of your service, all you might need to present are medical records showing a diagnosis of diabetes to establish a service connection.

For other veterans, being diagnosed with diabetes could be a result of all the years they spent on active duty. If you have such a diagnosis or know someone who has been diagnosed and served in Vietnam or other regions of Southeast Asia from 1962 to 1975, the qualification for VA disability diabetes compensation may be presumptive. A VA accredited attorney can help to prove the entitlement to service connection and get you the compensation you have been denied. Contact our team today to explore your options for appealing your denial of service connection for diabetes or in moving your veteran disability claim forward.


Can you get a VA disability for diabetes?

Yes. Type 2 diabetes (also known as adult-onset diabetes) is one of the disabilities that makes it possible to receive disability benefits as long as the veteran can prove the diabetes is service-related.

What is VA compensation for diabetes?

VA compensation for diabetes completely depends on the rating assigned by the VA based on the severity of the veteran’s symptoms. Compensation changes annually and generally increases over time.

How do you prove diabetes is service-connected?

In some cases (like with Agent Orange exposure) service connection for diabetes is actually presumed. In other situations, you will need to show type 2 diabetes is directly related to your service or related to another service-connected condition.


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 diabetes. 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 diabetes has been denied, be sure to contact the VA Accredited Attorneys at VetLaw right away to help make sure you get the entitlement you deserve.