Hurricane Irma

Veterans have waited for years and years and years for an update to disability compensation rating criteria.

Who would have thought VA would release those new ratings the same day Hurricane Irma, one of the biggest hurricanes in modern history, made landfall in Florida?

How is that for timing?

And like the chaos caused by a real hurricane on human lives, I have no doubt the change to ratings will cause chaos for many veterans affected by the new interpretations.

What I am talking about, for those a little confused, is the VA Schedule for Rating Disability, called VASRD, which has not been updated since 1945. Imagine how much has changed over the past 70 years. Yes, that is also how different I expect the new ratings to be with updated terminology.

Since at least 2012, VA talked about changing the regulatory language of its ratings. The change was scheduled to happen last year, but given the politic and policy climate these past months, I can certainly understand they VA needed more time.

Though, I would add the timing could have been a little better than hurricane season. Better late than never.

As of September 10, 2017, VA was set to roll out the changes starting with dental and oral conditions. Claims pending will be able to take advantage of both versions of the regulations, depending on which benefits the veteran more.

A word of caution, VA has consistently failed to consider both versions of the regulation when adjudicating anything, so do not hold your breath on this one.

Here is what VA had to say about it:

Since 2009, subject matter experts, including physicians, reviewed each of the 15 body systems that make up the VASRD. This effort is part of VA’s continued commitment to improving the delivery of disability compensation benefits to Veterans and modernizing our systems.

On Sept. 10, 2017, the first of 15 body systems will be modernized. Disabilities related to dental and oral conditions will contain updated medical terms, include diagnostic codes for conditions previously rated under other conditions, add or change disability levels where needed, and combine some diagnostic codes. No existing dental or oral conditions were removed.

If you have a claim or appeal pending for a dental or oral condition before Sept. 10, 2017, VA will consider both the old and new rating criteria when making a decision. All claims for dental or oral conditions received by VA on or after Sept. 10 will be rated under the new rating criteria. It’s also important to know that if you are already service-connected for a dental or oral condition and submit a claim for increase, your disability rating may increase (or decrease) based on the new rating criteria. However, VA will not change your disability rating just because of the update to the rating criteria.

In the coming months, more body systems will be updated until all 15 are modernized, ensuring VA provides the most accurate ratings for disability compensation claims based on modern medicine.


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35 Comments on "What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?"

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VA always has so fucked up acronym, that VASRD sounds like the new VA is absurd. Just like the OIG is the Office of the Infected Genitals.
New language , new VA dictionary.
It would be best if we can create a VA dictionary with words from all the users on this site. Have it published with sponsorship from Kare 11.
Of course the proceeds would go to a good , true veteran cause.


🙂 VASRD: Absurd Turds. 🙂

Donald Avant

RE: If you have a claim or appeal pending for a dental or oral condition before Sept. 10, 2017, VA will consider both the old and new rating criteria when making a decision. All claims for dental or oral conditions received by VA on or after Sept. 10 will be rated under the new rating criteria.

Translate that gobbledygook to :” We’ll use whichever set of standards will screw you the most…”


Sorry, I don’t know, but I do know the VA, you’re going to get less.


Real World translation: It will be Sept. 10, 2065 before raters are trained on the new criteria anyway, so your claim will still be denied, yet you can still get modern medical treatment at the VA for that sucking head wound using leeches.


The VA has advanced to using Lamprey instead of leeches.

Donald Avant

BTW Why can’t I vote up my own comment…LOL I’m certainly not biased…


“What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?”

Real World Storm Term: ‘Storm Surge’
VA Goobly-Gook-Speak: ‘Records Purge’

Wind Gusts/Proctologist Thrusts @ any VA
Wind Sheers/VA Industrial Shredders
Flooding/Records Storage @ any VA
Storm Surge/Records Purge Opportunity @ any VA
Rats On Rafts/VA Employees needing rescued
Eye Of Storm/VA OIG Conveniently Blind Brown-Eyed Assholes.

Also worth noting that with most VA employee’s linguistic dialects and accents, the name of hurricane IRMA is way too close phonetically to ENEMA.


BTW– I absolutely loathe this day, 9/11. Just a pause for caution: we are STILL @ war and manufacturing new Veterans and Survivors each and every day. These new diagnostic rating guidelines are sure to come with a proctologist’s thrust as strong as hurricane Irma’s wind gusts.

Rant Out

This is big. Not because it is beneficial in a direct sense but because it open’s the door to the CAFC. TBI ratings are limited to October of 2008. However, I filed a case in the Central District of California on March 3, 1988 re “organic brain syndromes” from TBI, malaria, and other causes. I’m in contact with a Pro Bono Attorney group for Veterans and will broach the subject with them. They may be able to get the date… Read more »

Anything that was changed can be challenged for insufficiency under the Constitution (14th sec 4(d)) and the general guarantees of making the veteran “as whole as possible.”


Lem, what do you mean by, “TBI ratings are limited to October of 2008”?
Also thank you for the info in your second post.

Those of us who were diagnosed with 8045-9304 prior to October 23, 2008 but were under rated can only get rated back to October 23, 2008. For instance if you were level 3 rate able at 70% in one of the categories by a neurobehavioral exam done in 1985 and were only rated at 30% you can only get the 70% back to October 2008. See note (5) below which is under the diagnostic code 8045 which is under 38… Read more »

Thank you Lem.

Let me gather my thoughts here for a moment before I open my contextual mouth. Ok, I’m ready. How come that the VA makes the rules for Veteran compliance, to feel like it is on the verge of being heartless? And, why are the rules for compliance for a VA Employee, seem to feel so warm and welcoming? I don’t get it. This type of bullshit makes the VA services for us Veterans to be stagnant. The VA can make… Read more »
James Clement
What Hurricane Irma has in common with VA Disability Ratings is this: After the storm blows through and destroys everything that was built before, things must be pretty much rebuilt from the ground up. As the VA/AFGE/VSO conglomerate has failed so miserably at looking out for the true needs of this nations veterans, perhaps it is time for “Hurricane Pyssed-Off Veterans” to hit Washington D.C. I believe that it is high time for some real leadership at the VA. Leadership… Read more »
Val Finnell

Will VA adjust ratings already assigned as permanent and total or will they grandfather?


If you reread the quote, it states they will not change any current ratings unless you apply for increase. Then they will be affected by the new law and your rating can increase or decrease based on the new law.

Maybe we can build on this!!! The idea of updating regulations just might work!!! I have an idea….. Under my new idea, the regulations governing the way the Disruptive Behavior Committee grants awards to veterans in need of social corrections would be updated. Under my plan the veteran who had earned these awards could choose the legal standards most likely to benefit them during the installment of the award. We can call it the DBC Choice Progam (DBCCP) with the… Read more »

“Prone And Lubed” (PAL), would have to have some measure of separation from “Patient Advocate Lubrication”, also (PAL), unless of course, the PAL is administrating the DBCCP. It might just work.


Imagine how many AFGE PAL’s would be lining up to administer the PAL treatment.




What Does Hurricane Irma Have In Common With VA Disability Ratings?
I would have commented earlier but am up here in the ISS and we had a massive CORONA injection [BEER]
but I am back in the Cupola now and from what I can see they are both moving around a lot of air from both ends


Ben, what do you make of this? The skeptic in me says that overall, VA is trying to reduce the compensation it pays vets. However, it says “VA will not change your disability rating just because of the update to the rating criteria.”

My own interpretation so far is that VA won’t touch current veteran disabilities but is putting a new system in place that will reduce future veteran disability payouts to future generations of vets.

Crazy elf

What does Hurricane Irma have in common with the VA?
Both are destructive and kill people slowly!


@Crazy elf- Are you guys now in Irma’s eye up in Georgia, where you escaped to from Florida?
If you head South now, you may miss more crappy weather, LOL. Hope all is well.

Crazy elf

It didn’t get bad at all up in Thomasville Georgia!
We just got back home today in Florida at about 1:30pm (12 Sept) and had power!
My neighbors said power never went off!
We definitely dodged a bullet on Irma. Where we live, there were plenty of downed trees. Only no one was hurt!

Thanks for the concern brother!

Ex va

They are both disasters.


With the added benefit that at least a hurricane has a termination point. The VA only becomes an even larger moving train wreck and hungry black hole for $$$ and continues to spread like herpes on a shared chapstick at a cheerleading camp. 🙂


Hmmm. I think most vets would just like to have an accurate rating the first time around using whatever criteria rather than being rubber-stamped denied, or have an actual specialist perform the C&P exam rather than a general practitioner.

What the hell does it matter how updated the criteria is if they don’t fix those two things?

You have to wonder with BVA Agent Orange Denier Murphy at the Helm, will this “update” conveniently omit Agent Orange Presumptives, burn pit and other environmental toxins of the war machine and it’s maintenance? I’m thinking any “updates” will be in ways to combine ratings, reduce, and the entire new mess will not be compatible with the old mess, different systems, and IBM Watson quit and killed himself in a swimming pool in an electrical display of desperation only Tesla… Read more »

Environmental toxins adds an interesting mix to this. If the VA is updating criteria for ratings, will they include medical conditions caused by exposures to environmental toxins?

A lot has been learned about exposures to toxins since 1945. If the new criteria does not contain ratings addressing these conditions, then we know the VA has no intention of helping veterans with this change.


Curious. The new criteria will be used to rate a claim after Sept 10th…based on an examination that occurred up to a year prior.

Can a vet request a new C&P exam based on the new criteria? If not, why not?

Steve M.
The homes and business after Irma will be rebuilt. The destroyed Veterans will remain destroyed. Everybody in the system can look for less, because I president know the “Art of a Steal”. Personally, I am already downsizing even though I am 100% Service Connected with the (30%) unemployable. I filed my claim for 100% after the President signaled that they were going to screw everyone who receives unemployable after they reach Social Security Age 63 or 64. I am 60… Read more »

Don’t hold your breath – my DOC says unemployable, the VA PCP says unemployable, VA voc rehab says unemployable, VA C&P says unemployable – VA compensation says denied employable without a cited reason – appeal pending