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In social standards, an erection is the ultimate symbol of a male’s sexuality and manhood. But a Massachusetts Male Ageing Study (MMAS) revealed “a combined prevalence of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction of 52% in men aged 40-70 years” (1).
Although occasional erectile dysfunction is common in men under stress, frequent occurrences may be a sign of a health problem that needs treatment.
This also brings out the topic of VA disability for erectile dysfunction where veterans may qualify to receive disability benefits if their condition developed during or after military service.
Defining Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is defined as “the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance and affects a considerable proportion of men at least occasionally” (1).
Several studies suggest that erectile dysfunction primarily affects older men, and there is a higher prevalence of the condition in Americans and some Asians than Europeans and South Americans.
Erectile dysfunction traces back its epidemiology to “a strong association between erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)” (1).
Defining Service Connection
If you wish to apply for VA disability for erectile dysfunction, you need to start by understanding service connection, which “connotes many factors but basically it means that the facts, shown by evidence, establish that a particular injury or disease resulting in disability was incurred coincident with service in the Armed Forces, or if pre-existing such service, was aggravated therein” (38 CFR § 3.303).
The VA needs to determine first that the condition was caused or aggravated by your duty in the military before you could get a VA rating for erectile dysfunction:
- The disability was incurred during military service. The evidence should be in your military medical records, and the event, injury, or disease should be correlated to erectile dysfunction.
- The disability is an aggravation of a pre-existing disability during service. This includes pre-existing conditions that became worse during military service and resulted in complications such as erectile dysfunction.
- The disability resulted as a secondary condition to a service-connected disability. The erectile dysfunction is a result of a medical condition that occurred during service.
- The disability or disease is presumed to be incurred during military service. In some cases, the VA can presume that conditions like erectile dysfunction may be connected to the service.
VA Disability for Erectile Dysfunction Requirements
Proving service connection as part of VA disability for erectile dysfunction entails pieces of evidence that correlate erectile dysfunction with an event, injury, or illness that occurred while in service.
It could also be a secondary service connection, which means that the erectile dysfunction is the complication of an existing service-connected condition such as heart disease, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes.
To prove that your erectile dysfunction is in service connection, you need both military records and medical records as your evidence.
So, how does the VA test for erectile dysfunction? There are several tests available to diagnose the condition. This includes:
- A physical exam or the careful examination of the penis and testicles by a qualified professional.
- Blood and urine tests to check for signs of underlying problems that are resulting in erectile dysfunction, including diabetes, low testosterone levels, and heart disease.
- Ultrasound to check the efficiency of blood flow to the penis.
- Overnight erection test to determine if the cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological. It is done by wrapping a special tape around the penis before bedtime to see if the tape would separate in the morning, which means that an erection occurred sometime during the night.
VA Rating for Erectile Dysfunction
Although there is no specific VA rating for erectile dysfunction, the VA uses the “ratings of the genitourinary system – diagnoses” (38 CFR § 4.115b) to determine the compensation rate, providing that you prove service connection of your condition.
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In instances where there is a loss or loss of function of one or more creative organs, the VA refers to “special monthly compensation ratings” (38 CFR § 3.350) in determining if monthly compensation should be given.
The VA generally grants 0% rating for erectile dysfunction unless your case falls under one of the diagnostic codes stipulated under the ratings for the genitourinary system.
For instance, a 30% rating is given for the removal of half or more than half of the penis, according to code 7520, and a 20% rating if there is penile deformity with loss of erectile power, according to code 7522. To ensure that you get the correct rating, you must also apply for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for loss of use of a creative organ.
Understanding Special Monthly Compensation
Since erectile dysfunction is categorized as “the loss of a creative organ” by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you may apply for Special Monthly Compensation, which is an additional compensation for conditions that require more support.
This includes loss or loss of use of a reproductive organ where service-connected erectile dysfunction is related. Effective December 12, 2019, the “SMC (k) rate is $110.31” (Special Monthly Compensation Rate Table).
The Bottom Line
If you are to win a VA disability for erectile dysfunction, you need to prove your claim with medical and military service records backed by a medical report from the physician treating your condition.