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VA Updates Schedule for Disabling Skin Conditions

Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs updated portions of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities that evaluate skin conditions. The VA website describes the VASRD  (also called the rating schedule) as “the collection of federal regulations used by Veterans Benefits Administration claims processors to evaluate the severity of disabilities and assign disability ratings.” Disability ratings are a key factor in determining whether a veteran is eligible for disability benefits and in what amount.

According to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, “VA remains committed to providing Veterans the benefits they have earned at the highest quality. With modern medicine advancing at a rapid rate, it’s important to ensure VA’s disability rating schedule and rating decisions reflect these advancements.”

The VA is now in the process of updating all 15 body systems of the VASRD to more accurately reflect current medical knowledge and provide clearer, more consistent rating decisions. Changes to the skin rating schedule were not extensive. No conditions were removed, but several diagnostic codes were restructured or revised.

Potentially disabling conditions of the skin on the schedule include:

  • Burn scars
  • Scars
  • Dermatitis or eczema
  • American (New World) leishmaniasis (mucocutaneous, espundia)
  • Old World leishmaniasis (cutaneous, Oriental sore)
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus or subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus
  • Tuberculosis luposa (lupus vulgaris), active or inactive
  • Dermatophytosis (ringworm)
  • Bullous disorders
  • Psoriasis
  • Erythroderma
  • Malignant skin neoplasms (other than malignant melanoma)
  • Benign skin neoplasms
  • Infections (including bacterial, fungal, viral, treponemal and parasitic diseases)

Claims that were pending prior to August 13 will be considered under the old and new criteria, applying the one more favorable to the veteran. Claims filed on or after August 13 come under the new schedule.

Since 2017, the VA has issued several VASRD updates, including schedules for dental and oral conditions, conditions related to the endocrine system, gynecological conditions and disorders of the breast and eye conditions.

At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we appreciate the efforts VA officials have made to re-evaluate criteria applying current medical standards. Our VA benefits attorneys are dedicated to seeing all eligible veterans access the full value of their benefits. We are grateful for any changes that remove impediments to the VA’s mission of support for disable vets. We are hopeful that the new schedules will allow for more accurate and timely evaluation of applicants.

The VA benefits attorneys at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. To learn how we can help with an appeal of denied disability benefits, call 866-866-VETS or contact our office online.

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    — Alfred Daye

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