How to Prove IBS for VA Disability?

If you are a veteran with IBS and looking for VA disability benefits, you have to provide sufficient evidence. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition that causes stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Studies have shown that veterans with Gulf War syndrome are often diagnosed with IBS, and it is more common among military women, estimated to affect one-third of them.

Veterans Affairs provides a disability rating for IBS as long as you can prove service connection and the severity of your condition through medical documents and other pieces of evidence. This guide will go through the best ways to prove IBS to the VA for disability benefits. So, get ready to receive the disability compensation that you are entitled to!


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Service connection for IBS

Service connection for IBS

For most VA disability claims, it is essential to establish a service connection to receive any rating at all from Veterans Affairs. The VA is only required to provide medical and monetary benefits to veterans whose conditions have been directly or indirectly caused or increased by their time in the service. 

Types of service connection

A direct service connection is not always required for a VA disability rating. Here are a few ways you can go about this –

  • Direct service connection: When an in-service injury or circumstance can be the reason for your IBS, you can apply for a direct service connection. In this case, you must have enough evidence to show that an in-service event has a clear connection with your condition. 
  • Secondary service connection: If you already have a service-connected condition and your IBS has been a side-effect of that disorder, you can go for a secondary service connection. For example, if you have service-connected PTSD that worsened or contributed to IBS, providing medical evidence of the connection between the two can be enough to get a VA disability rating for IBS as a secondary condition.
  • Presumptive service connection: POWs (prisoners of war) or Gulf War veterans can claim disability benefits for IBS with a presumptive service connection. In this case, the VA assumes your condition has links to your service without much proof. 

How to service-connect IBS

You will need evidence to show the VA that your IBS resulted from your service time. For this, you need to establish a ‘nexus’ or a link. You can do it by getting a Nexus letter from certified medical professionals who can conclude that your IBS has a connection to military services. 

Gathering medical evidence

Medical evidence regarding IBS will not only help you service-connect the condition but help you prove the severity of the condition to receive the best rating as well. Besides a Nexus letter, here are the important types of medical evidence that you should try getting before making a disability claim –

In-service medical records

If you developed symptoms of digestive issues during your service, look for in-service medical records that can prove the connection between IBS and your service. 


Get a diagnosis of IBS from a qualified physician, preferably an expert in the field. Ensure to provide the VA with the diagnosis and copies of test results when claiming disability benefits.

Treatment records

If you have been medically treated for IBS, get those records ready as well. Any documents, from prescriptions to medical procedures, can be valuable in strengthening your disability claim.

Linking IBS to service-connected conditions

In many cases, symptoms of IBS can be caused by other conditions such as anxiety or PTSD. If those conditions are service-connected, then disability benefits for IBS can be claimed by establishing a secondary connection.

To apply for a disability claim for IBS as a secondary condition, you need to establish a connection with a Nexus letter. The process is nearly similar, except instead of connecting the condition to your service, you will have to tie it with another service-connected condition.

VA disability ratings for IBS

The VA rates IBS under diagnostic code 7319, and you can get anywhere from a 0% to 30% rating based on the severity of the condition. Here are the possible VA ratings for IBS –

0% rating for IBS

A 0% rating is granted when your IBS is considered to be mild, with occasional abdominal issues and disturbances of bowel function. While you won’t receive any disability compensation for a 0% rating, you will be entitled to medical benefits from the VA.

10% rating for IBS

When you experience moderate symptoms of IBS with frequent abdominal issues and disturbances of bowel function, you may get a 10% rating. With this rating, you will get around $165 a month from the VA as disability compensation.

30% rating for IBS 

The highest rating for IBS from the VA is 30%. This rating is given to veterans with severe IBS symptoms that cause constipation, diarrhea, and pretty constant abdominal problems. You will be entitled to a compensation amount of around $508 a month for this rating. This amount will increase if you have dependents.

Final Note

With a clear understanding of the VA’s claiming process, you will have a better chance of getting the best disability rating for IBS. And if you have limited knowledge about this process, getting expert help is always an option. That’s where VA Disability Coach can help you ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to by submitting a proper claim.