What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition in which the airways become narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make it difficult to breathe and trigger coughing, wheezing when you breathe out, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms vary from person to person, as well as the frequency of attacks, but some of the most common characteristics of this condition are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are made worse by infections like a cold or the flu

There is no cure for asthma, but it is manageable with the right treatment plan. If you think you may have asthma, contact your doctor today to get evaluated. 

For veterans, bronchial asthma is the third most common condition claimed for VA disability benefits. This is not surprising given that exposure to environmental contaminants, explosions, and burn pits are all contributing causes of asthma. According to a recent VA research study, approximately 14% of Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan had a respiratory condition, the three most common being asthma, bronchitis, and COPD. That study also found that veterans with mental health conditions were more likely to have respiratory problems, creating the potential for veterans to argue that their asthma has secondary service connection to their already service connected mental health impairment.

How The VA Rates Asthma

Under 38 CFR § 4.97, the VA rates asthma depending on its severity. The schedular disability rating chart for asthma is as follows:

Diagnostic Code 6602: Asthma, bronchial

  • 100 – 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
  • 60 – 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
  • 30 – 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
  • 10 – FEV-1 of 71- to 80-percent predicted, or; FEV-1/FVC of 71 to 80 percent, or; intermittent inhalational or oral bronchodilator therapy

In the event that VA examination of the veteran does not yield clinical findings of asthma, the veteran must provide a record of verified asthmatic attacks to the VA. 

Veterans who are unable to work due to their asthma, but who have a schedular disability rating of below 100 percent, are eligible to apply for a total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) rating. This rating allows veterans to receive compensation at the 100 percent rate even if their total schedular disability rating is below 100 percent, so long as they are unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation.

Help With Your Asthma VA Claim

If you are a veteran with asthma and are looking for assistance with your VA claim, please contact our office today. Our veterans disability attorneys are experienced in getting veteran’s with asthma the compensation they are entitled to and are ready to help you with your claim.