Man Holding His Knee in PainKnee pain is common among Veterans. Many conditions can lead to knee pain that qualifies for VA disability benefits, including osteomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative arthritis, gout, and bursitis. If you’re applying for benefits, understanding how knee pain is rated can help you know what to expect from your claim.

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Rating Knee Pain

To receive disability benefits, you must establish a service connection for your knee pain. This can be done in several ways:

  • Direct service connection showing your knee pain was caused by your service
  • Secondary service connection showing your knee pain was caused by another condition you’ve already received a service connection for, such as an injury to the hip or foot
  • Service condition by aggravation showing that your service aggravated a pre-existing knee injury

Regardless of the way in which your knee pain receives a service connection, it will be rated according to the following criteria describing how your condition affects your everyday life:

  • Limitation of flexion (how far your knee can bend) with ratings of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30%
  • Limitation of extension (how far your knee can straighten) with ratings of 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50%
  • Instability of the knee (if it dislocates regularly or has too much side to side motion) with ratings of 0%, 10%, 20%, or 30% 
  • Ankylosis (abnormal stiffening and immobility) with ratings of 30%, 40%, 50%, or 60%

You can receive ratings for more than one aspect of your knee condition, if appropriate. For example, if your disability prevents you from both bending and straightening your knee, you should receive ratings for limitation of flexion and limitation of extension.

If you require a total knee replacement, you’ll automatically receive a 100% rating for one year after your surgery. If you receive a partial knee replacement, however, your rating will be based on your specific symptoms.

Speak to an Experienced Veterans Benefits Attorney

If you’ve been denied Veterans disability benefits for your knee pain, do not assume this means you aren’t qualified. Often, our experienced Veterans benefits attorneys are able to help Veterans access their benefits on appeal. Contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, to request a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the best way to proceed with your claim.


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