Va Disability Rating for Respiratory Conditions

If you’re a veteran who has been in close contact with open-air burn pits and has been exposed to Agent Orange, you might be at risk of developing respiratory problems. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  provides compensation to veterans for such conditions under the umbrella term “Reactive Airway Disease.” The VA rating for such medical conditions can go up to 100%, depending on the seriousness of your breathing issues. 

Keep reading to get a thorough overview of the various respiratory conditions that impact veterans and how the VA assesses and assigns ratings for these conditions.

The presumptive condition list for Respiratory Conditions

When veterans seek disability benefits, they are required to show proof that their service either triggered or worsened their medical conditions. However, when the VA designates presumptive status for an illness, it eliminates the need for such proof. Hence, it simplifies the process of obtaining disability payouts.

The presumptive condition list for respiratory conditions includes: 

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Asthma 
  • Bronchiectasis,
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis 
  • Emphysema
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • COPD
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Various types of respiratory cancers

Typically, benefits granted for these conditions include monthly compensation. The amount to be compensated varies based on the severity of the condition and the veteran’s number of dependents.

VA Respiratory Conditions Measurement Tests

The VA uses a certain measurement system to evaluate the seriousness of such conditions. 

The measurements used for the rating are as follows: 

  • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) represents the maximum volume of air a person can exhale after inhaling as deeply as possible.
  • Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 Second (FEV-1) measures the maximum volume of air a person can exhale within a single second. 
  • The ratio of FEV-1 to FVC measures the proportion between the maximum air exhaled and the amount blown out within one second.

The ratings for respiratory conditions are determined by how well your lungs take in air, absorb oxygen into your blood, and release the leftover gasses. These assessments rely on pulmonary function tests (PFTs). PFTs measure how effectively your lungs are working and their impact on your entire body.

How Does The VA Rate Respiratory Conditions?

Respiratory disabilities don’t all receive the same VA disability rating. Furthermore, certain conditions qualify for a higher rating than others. It’s crucial to note that veterans can only be rated for one respiratory condition. In the case of multiple conditions, the one causing the primary disability is the one rated. However, if the overall respiratory situation is more severe than what the current rating covers, it can be elevated to the next higher rating.

Here’s a general overview of some of these ratings:

  • 10% Rating: An FEV-1 ranging from 71-80%, or an FEV-1/FVC ratio within the 71-80% range, results in a 10% rating, providing veterans with a monthly compensation of $171.23.
  • 30% Rating: If the FEV-1 falls between 56-70% predicted, or the FEV-1/FVC ratio is within the 56-70% range, a 30% rating is assigned, leading to a monthly compensation of $524.31.
  • 60% Rating: An FEV-1 in the range of 40% to 55% predicted, or an FEV-1/FVC ratio within the 40-55% range, warrants a 60% rating, entitling veterans to a monthly compensation of $1,261.88.
  • 100% Rating: An FEV-1 less than 40% predicted, or an FEV-1/FVC ratio less than 40%, guarantees a 100% rating, providing veterans with a monthly compensation of $3,737.85.

It is also important to note that veterans unable to work due to a respiratory condition may qualify for a monthly VA disability benefit known as Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This benefit provides compensation at the 100 percent rating level, regardless of their disability rating being lower than that.


If you’re a veteran dealing with a respiratory condition that you believe is connected to your service, especially if you were stationed near open burn pits during your military service, you can reach out to VA Disability Coach. We offer online eligibility reviews to assist in evaluating your claim and determining your eligibility for benefits.