When you receive service connection for asthma, the VA assigns a rating for the condition based on its level of severity. This may be based on objective respiratory testing OR on the types of treatment you receive for asthma. Knowing this difference between how ratings are assigned can help you maximize your asthma rating.
Breakdown of VA Asthma Ratings
Asthma ratings are assigned under diagnostic code 6602 in the ratings schedule. FEV-1 in the rating schedule stands for Forced Expiratory Volume, which is a type of testing measure that helps determine the severity of respiratory symptoms from asthma. The ratings schedule assigns the following ratings for the corresponding symptoms.
FEV-1 less than 40-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC less than 40 percent, or; more than one attack per week with episodes of respiratory failure, or; requires daily use of systemic (oral or parenteral) high dose corticosteroids or immuno-suppressive medications
FEV-1 of 40- to 55-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 40 to 55 percent, or; at least monthly visits to a physician for required care of exacerbations, or; intermittent (at least three per year) courses of systemic (oral or parenteral) corticosteroids
FEV-1 of 56- to 70-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 56 to 70 percent, or; daily inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy, or; inhalational anti-inflammatory medication
FEV-1 of 71- to 80-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 71 to 80 percent, or; intermittent inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy
Nuances to the VA Ratings Schedule for Asthma
While asthma can be assigned a rating based on FEV-1, please note that an asthma rating should be assigned based on the FEV-1 testing OR on asthma symptoms/treatment with medication. The VA should assign whichever rating is higher.
For example, if you have an FEV-1 value of 60 percent, but are also prescribed at least three courses per year of "oral or parenteral" corticosteroids for asthma, you should receive a 60% asthma rating, not a 30% asthma rating, even though the FEV-1 value matches the 30% rating criteria.
Medication Affecting VA Ratings for Asthma
The VA often does an incorrect analysis of whether you are on asthma medication or receiving treatment for asthma symptoms that qualify you for a higher rating. According to Verywell Health, the four most common types of oral corticosteroids for asthma treatment are:
If you have been prescribed any of these medications for asthma, but have only been assigned a 10% or 30% rating, you may have a basis to appeal for a higher rating. If you haven't been prescribed any corticosteroids but must visit a physician at least monthly for asthma symptoms, you may also qualify for a higher rating than 30%.
Work with an Experienced Veterans' Benefits Attorney
Those small notations in the asthma ratings schedule can make a big difference to your VA case. Our attorneys are trained in recognizing these issues and in interpreting your medical records to determine whether you might qualify for a higher rating. Contact our office today for a free screening of your VA disability benefits appeals.