In May 2024, the VA updated the disability rating schedule for several conditions in the digestive system category, including celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids. 

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has updated the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) for digestive conditions, modifying the rating criteria for 55 medical conditions to reflect advancements in medicine and provide more accurate evaluations for veterans.
  • Key changes include specific rating criteria for Celiac disease, now rated from 0 to 80 percent, and adjusted rating percentages for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and hemorrhoids, aiming to improve the accuracy of disability compensation.
  • Veterans currently receiving compensation can apply for increased compensation under the new criteria, and those with recent or pending claims will be evaluated under both old and new criteria, with the more favorable rating applied.

Overview of the VA Announcement Regarding Updates to the Rating Schedule for the Digestive System 

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced an update to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) for digestive conditions. This update changes the rating criteria for 55 medical conditions. With this update, the criteria for ratings consider advancements in medicine so that veterans can be rated fairly and more accurately. 

The rating increase also shows that the VA is always working to improve their understanding and treatment of these conditions, which is a huge step for Veterans struggling to receive compensation for digestive issues. 

What is the VASRD? 

VASRD stands for the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. It’s a tool used by the VA to determine the level of disability compensation given to veterans. It’s a standardized system that provides criteria for evaluating the severity of one’s disabilities and the impact they have on one’s ability to work. 

These criteria are crafted with “average impairment” in mind, using the average experience veterans have with certain conditions as a baseline. Frequent updates to the rating system are important, as they allow the VA to include advancements in medicine as well as new information about specific conditions and how they affect people. 

Key Changes to Digestive System Ratings

The recent VASRD update provides great changes to the rating criteria for 55 different digestive system conditions. The VA will now be better equipped to provide more accurate evaluations of patients with these types of conditions. Here are a few of the main conditions that were updated. 

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects how the body processes gluten. It can have symptoms like bloating, gas, fatigue, anemia, and diarrhea. Before the update, Celiac disease was rated under analogy, meaning that it was rated based on the condition that closely matches the veteran’s symptoms. The rating criteria ranged from zero to 30 percent. 

With the new criteria, Celiac disease has its own rating criteria and can be rated anywhere from zero to 80 percent. This change should allow those with Celiac disease to get more accurate compensation. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a condition characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowels. Prior to the update, IBS could be rated at zero, 10, and 30 percent. The new criteria allow IBS to be rated at 10, 20, and 30 percent. 

Hemorrhoids 

External and internal hemorrhoids are now classified under revised criteria. Before the update, mild or moderate hemorrhoids were assigned a zero percent evaluation, while more severe cases could receive 10 or 20 percent. 

With the new update, mild or moderate hemorrhoids can receive a 10 percent evaluation. This update recognizes the discomfort and impairment associated with even mild or moderate cases. 

What Does This Mean for Veterans? 

The VA has stated that there will be no automatic increases to veteran compensation as a result of these updates. However, veterans who are currently receiving compensation for these conditions can apply for increased compensation. Those who have filed recently or have claims pending on May 19th will be evaluated under both criteria and given a rating with the more favorable criteria. 

If you have any questions about the increase in rating criteria for these digestive system disorders and more, please contact Bartlett Legal Group to speak with an experienced veteran affairs attorney. We offer help with increases, appeals, and denials after the submission of your initial application. To learn more, contact us online or at (850) 332-6434