As a veteran, you may have experienced an injury that has left you with permanent scarring. Scars are a common service-related disability that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life and their ability to gain employment. They can limit your range of motion, cause pain, and lead to increased anxiety and self-consciousness. Fortunately, if you have been left with scarring as a result of a service-related incident, you may be entitled to VA disability for scars.
At VetLaw, we work closely with veterans to file claims for VA disability benefits, increase their VA rating for scars, and successfully appeal claims that have been unfairly denied. With years of experience and a robust understanding of the VA process, we are confident in our ability to fight for your rights and represent your case. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting our office today.
According to VA’s Annual Benefits Report for 2022, nearly one million veterans suffer from scars, making this the 7th most prevalent service-connected disability. Some of the most common scars that veterans experience include:
Regardless of the type of scar you suffer from, it is likely that your injury has caused serious physical and emotional distress that impacts the way you live and work. For this reason, the VA offers disability benefits to compensate veterans who suffer from scars. To qualify for VA disability for scars, you must prove that your scar was connected to an injury or event that occurred during your military service.
The VA uses a variety of different factors to rate scars. Specifically, they have established 8 disfigurement characteristics that are used to determine disability compensation, which include:
Scars are rated under the official diagnostic code found in 38 CFR § 4.118, which provides for five different categories of scars. You will receive a VA rating for scars based on the following categories.
Diagnostic Code 7800 states that scars of the head, neck, and face will be assessed based on visible tissue loss, asymmetry, or gross distortion, and the eight characteristics of disfigurement mentioned above. The ratings for these scars are assigned as follows:
DC 7801 addresses scars that are situated in other regions of the body below the head, face, and neck. Each scar is rated separately, which will then be combined to form a final VA rating for scars that are deep and nonlinear. These scars are rated based on their size, specifically:
DC 7802 covers scars that are superficial, meaning they are not permanent and do not impact underlying soft tissue. These scars are rated separately as well, but a veteran can only obtain a rating of 10% for scars that are 144 square inches or more.
Under DC 7804, an unstable scar is one that frequently loses the covering of the skin. If you have more than one scar that is rated as unstable under this definition, you may add an additional 10% to the rating. Other scars may also be rated under DC 7804. The ratings for painful or unstable scars are assigned as follows:
DC 7805 accounts for other scars, with the assigned rating based on the disabling effect of the specific scar. For instance, if a veteran suffers from a linear scar that runs along their joint, thereby impacting their range of motion, the rating will be based on the resulting limitation of motion.
If your VA claim for your scars is denied, you may appeal the decision using any one of three channels. The appeal channel that you use will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case and the original reason for your denial. The three appeal options include:
Appealing a denied claim can be a long and arduous process. For this reason, seeking assistance from an experienced attorney is recommended to increase the likelihood of reaching a favorable outcome. Your attorney will review your case and offer tailored solutions to ensure that you are able to appeal the decision and secure VA disability for scars as quickly and easily as possible.
Whether you are considering filing for VA disability for scars or if you need assistance with your VA disability appeal or improving your VA rating, we are here to help. Our practice was founded by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and has since grown into the go-to law firm for veterans across the country. At VetLaw, we will work alongside you to secure the benefits you deserve and advocate for you during every step of the process. To begin your free case review, consider connecting with our team today.