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IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) And VA Disability

Published on September 25th, 2020

Veterans suffer from a variety of disabilities and illnesses related to their service, and they don’t always realize they can receive VA disability for these conditions. Many veterans suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and when they can prove it was caused or exacerbated by their service, they are eligible to receive VA benefits. Although it is possible for any veteran to develop IBS, it is most common in Gulf War Veterans and POWs.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS, or Irritable bowel syndrome, is a common, chronic gastrointestinal condition. It impacts the gastrointestinal tract and can cause constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. While the exact cause of the condition is not well understood, there are several factors that are known to trigger IBS including food allergies and stress.

Various tissue types can be affected by IBS, including muscles, nerves, and the intestinal lining. No matter what tissue types are affected, if IBS was caused or exacerbated by service, Veterans are entitled to VA disability compensation.

IBS and GERD

Veterans that are service connected for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) should know that to avoid pyramiding (stacking of similar disabilities) they cannot be service connected separately for IBS. When a Veteran suffers from both GERD and IBS, the VA will combine them – rating the most severe of the two conditions.

How IBS is Rated by the VA

IBS currently receives a 0, 10, or 30 percent rating from the VA. The VA will consider the severity and type of symptoms you are displaying to determine your rating. These ratings may seem small, but it is important for Veterans who display symptoms of IBS to receive VA disability for this condition.

If your symptoms are considered mild, meaning you suffer “disturbances of bowel function with occasional episodes of abdominal distress,” you will have a 0 percent rating. If the symptoms are considered moderate, “frequent episodes of bowel disturbance and abdominal distress,” you will receive a 10 percent rating, and if you suffer from severe symptoms, “diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress,” a 30 percent rating will apply.

Service Connection for IBS

Gulf War Veterans are the Veterans who suffer the most service-connected IBS, and often display this condition as a component of Gulf War Syndrome. When filing VA claims, IBS is not considered as a presumptive condition. However, the VA may grant service connection to a Gulf War Veteran as it is a medically unexplained chronic illness.

Other Veterans should consider getting service connection for IBS as a secondary condition related to psychological conditions like PTSD or as a side-effect of medications taken for service-connected conditions.

Disability Lawyers for VA Claims in Maine

If you suffer from IBS, or any other service-connected disability, and you have been denied VA disability benefits, consider working with a qualified VA disability attorney during the appeals process. Jackson & MacNichol Law Offices, dedicated disability lawyers for VA claims in Maine, are here to help. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation.


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