VA Disability Rating for GERD Explained

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition many veterans suffer from. If you are one of them, you may be able to receive up to a 60% disability rating from the VA. 

This guide will go through the disability ratings assigned for GERD. Based on the severity of your condition, the assigned rating will differ, and it’s best to have a good understanding of these factors before making your claim. Let’s learn more!


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GERD and Its Symptoms

GERD is a shortened form of gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as acid reflux. It is a condition where stomach acid or partially digested food flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other problems. 

The symptoms of GERD may vary among the population, but the most common signs are these –

  • Heartburn: A burning sensation or discomfort in the chest is the most common symptom of GERD, and this sensation may sometimes radiate to your back or throat. A lot of patients with GERD often feel heartburn when bending over or lying down after eating.
  • Regurgitation: When the stomach content flows back into your mouth, tasting sour or bitter, it is called regurgitation, which can be an unpleasant effect of GERD.
  • Dysphagia: Dysphagia is a term to describe the difficulty of swallowing, and it happens due to the narrowing of the esophagus. 
  • Chest Pain: Sometimes, patients may confuse GERD-related chest pain with heart issues. It’s a common symptom of GERD where you feel pressure or discomfort in the area around your chest. 
  • Respiratory Issues: In some instances, GERD leads to respiratory problems, and symptoms like chronic coughing or wheezing may appear, including worsening asthma. GERD can worsen existing respiratory issues as the condition irritates the airways. 

Disability Rating for GERD

Disability Rating for GERD

It’s essential to understand the disability ratings available for GERD to better prepare for a strong claim. The first thing to know is that GERD does not have its own diagnostic code, and the VA uses codes for a hiatal hernia to rate the condition – more specifically, Diagnostic Code 7346. 

Your received rating will differ based on the severity of the symptoms and how they impact your life. Here are the ratings available for GERD –

10% VA Rating for GERD

If you have the symptoms of a 30% rating for GERD (epigastric discomfort, dysphagia, pyrosis, regurgitation, substernal or arm and shoulder pain) with less severity, you may be eligible for a 10% disability rating.

30% VA Rating for GERD

A 30% VA rating is given to veterans who suffer from GERD with “persistently recurrent epigastric discomfort with dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm and shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of health.” Here’s what this means –

  • Persistently recurrent epigastric discomfort: This means you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort in the upper middle part of your abdomen, just below the rib cage.
  • Dysphagia: As described before, dysphagia is a symptom of GERD where you find it hard to swallow food or liquid. 
  • Pyrosis: Pyrosis refers to heartburn caused by stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus. 
  • Regurgitation: When partially digested food or stomach acid flows back to the throat or mouth, it’s called regurgitation.
  • Substernal or arm and shoulder pain: Sternum is the breastbone, and substernal pain refers to the pain felt behind the breastbone. 
  • Productive of considerable impairment of health: This means that all these symptoms have significantly affected someone’s overall health and daily life.

To summarize, you need to have symptoms of ongoing pain in the upper abdomen, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, regurgitation of stomach content, and pain in the chest, arm, or shoulder for a 30% disability rating related to GERD.

60% VA Rating for GERD

If a veteran suffers from GERD with the following conditions present, they may be qualified for a 60% disability rating –

  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Melena or hematemesis with moderate anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Other symptoms that cause severe impairment in the health

Are You Eligible for Disability Benefits for GERD?

Wondering if you are eligible for disability benefits for GERD? Here are the conditions –


You need to have a proper diagnosis of GERD before making your disability claim. You can get a diagnosis from physicians or get older medical records, such as documents from the military, to provide to the VA when claiming benefits. 

Service Connection

Most disabilities need to have an established service connection to be eligible for VA benefits, and GERD falls under it. Veterans applying for a disability claim for GERD must demonstrate that the condition has been directly or indirectly caused or worsened by an in-service event, illness, or injury.

Symptoms and Functional Loss

Your medical records must show persistent and recurring symptoms of GERD that are causing impairment in your health and daily life. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and their effects on your life, you will get a certain disability rating from the VA.

Tips On Filing a Claim

It’s not that uncommon to see veterans get a lower disability rating than what they deserve due to an improper claim. If you don’t make sure your claim has everything to satisfy the questions of the VA, you will have to waste months appealing the VA’s decision afterward. Follow these tips to avoid such issues –

  • Gather Medical Evidence: Start by collecting all relevant medical records, such as diagnosis papers and treatment records, that can be submitted to the VA. 
  • Get Employment Records: If the severity of GERD has caused impairment in your occupation, then gather the employment record that can be relevant to the VA.
  • Journal with Documented Record of the Symptoms: If you have written down the symptoms of your condition in a journal that shows how GERD affects your day-to-day life, it can also be used as a piece of evidence when submitting a claim.
  • Get Professional Help: For veterans who have never made a claim before for their condition, doing so for the first time may be a little overwhelming at times. That’s why you can seek help from professionals such as VA Disability Coach, which can make this process much easier and increase your chance of getting the rating you deserve. 

How Does Acid Reflux Impact the VA Disability Rating?

Acid reflux disability rating can significantly impact a veteran’s VA disability rating. If acid reflux is service-connected, it can lead to a variety of symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. The severity and frequency of these symptoms play a crucial role in determining the disability rating, potentially affecting the level of compensation and benefits a veteran may receive.

What is the Relationship Between Heartburn and VA Disability?

The relationship between heartburn symptoms and va disability is important to understand for veterans seeking compensation. Heartburn, often a result of GERD or gastrointestinal reflux disease, can be a qualifying condition for a veteran’s disability claim. By demonstrating the impact of these symptoms on daily life and providing medical evidence, veterans may increase their chances of receiving VA disability benefits.


Be prepared to appeal if you find that the VA’s decision does not match your condition’s severity. While it may take several months to finally get your disability rating, you will be entitled to a much higher compensation amount if your appeal is successful.