If your military service left you with a pain in the neck, you might be eligible for Veteran’s Disability Benefits for several different reasons.
Veterans who experience stiffness, pain, or even an occasional crick in the neck can sometimes trace that problem back to something that happened in the service. While car wrecks are the number one source of neck injuries, there are plenty of other ways to hurt your neck when you’re enlisted — whether you saw combat or not.
We’ve helped thousands of veterans get VA disability for their conditions. Give us a free call today and let’s see what we can do for you.
In This Guide To VA Disability for Neck Pain:
How VA Disability Ratings for Neck Injuries Work
Because so much goes on inside of your neck, the ratings for neck problems go up fast. The tiers work their way up from 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% and then jump all of the way up to 100%. The main determining factor is how much of a Range Of Motion (ROM) you have. The greater your ROM, the more you can move around, so the lower your rating.
Your VA rating increases as you are more immobilized, as your ROM is reduced, or as your normal posture is stuck in an unnatural position. While many veterans get rated for neck disabilities, most will also have a secondary-connected condition like
- an altered gait
- problems swallowing or with digestion
- vision problems because they can’t turn their heads and see in certain ways
- trouble eating or chewing because of the angle of their neck
The secondary conditions are one of the main reasons you want to work with a certified VA disability lawyer. We know what other conditions are service-connected and come up as common secondary conditions. We help you get your application right the first time.
Types of Neck Injuries that Qualify for VA Disability
The nice thing is that your diagnosis doesn’t matter as much as your symptoms. The diagnosis will come into play if you have a condition like arthritis or degenerative discs because those are conditions that deteriorate with age. Other injuries that may have happened in the service can bug you for years but fortunately won’t get worse over time.
Cervicalgia, whiplash, disc injury, nerve pinch injury, or repetitive strains can fall into this category. If you were in a jeep or a tank that got the shock of an IED or even just a fender bender, you might have a record of one of these injuries in your medical record. You can even list a car wreck that happened when you were on leave as a service connection. All that matters is that you had a documented injury while you were enlisted. Combat or deployment status doesn’t matter for service connection.
Many modern soldiers are seated for hours a day. Don’t feel embarrassed to apply for VA disability for back pain from sitting in a chair. We’re all on the same team, serving the same nation. VA disability is awarded because you were injured while serving, regardless of the glory of the job. As more veterans serve flying drones or fighting from behind a desk, there will be more with long-term back pain from sitting too long.
Veterans Disability Benefits for Neck Pain Caused by Arthritis
While enlisted, you were exposed to a lot of elements that can lead to residual neck injuries. For many veterans, the natural wear and tear of life are accelerated by injury.
An old neck injury from your time in the military can now cause pain from the advancement of arthritis in the neck. Many veterans have bone spurs or osteophytes that can grow on bones and cause enlargement of the joints. Bone spurs become more common as veterans age. Veterans with cervical bone spurs may have neck pain and weakness that radiates into the arms and shoulders.
Arthritis in your neck can spread and affect other parts of your body in a matter of months. It’s not always that fast, but the spreading nature of arthritis warrants quick attention to filling out your VA disability application. If you need a va disability rating for neck arthritis, start the application process right away.
Cervical Spondylosis VA Ratings
Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis, is a serious medical condition for many veterans. The thing is, it is an official medical term for getting older. As your age, your joints wear out. If this happens a little faster than it should, it is a type of arthritis called Cervical Spondylosis.
Your military neck injury may have not been a big deal at the time. You may not have any record of it at all. The neck injury that you received, however, may have accelerated the aging process in your neck. If you are 40 but your body feels like it’s 65, then talk to your doctor about your possible va rating for neck pain.
The accelerated aging process in your neck caused degeneration of discs and cartilage and the growth of osteophytes. When a nerve in your neck is pinched due to disc compression or osteophytes growth, neck pain is the result.
Radiculopathy and Neck Pain
Radiculopathy due to a compressed nerve in the cervical spine can leave veterans with numbness, weakness, tingling in the shoulders, or progress along the entire arm and into the hand or fingers. Many veterans with cervical radiculopathy are experiencing degenerative changes in their spine that caused a herniated, bulging disc or degenerative disc disease that is pushing on a nerve causing neck pain.
While radiculopathy can be a secondary condition to cervical spine problems, it can also be a sign of something worse. Make sure your doctor rules out other back problems, diabetes, or circulatory problems before apply for VA disability rating for neck pain. Radiculopathy can be a symptom of several other conditions that need different medical attention and, of course, may earn you a higher rating.
Spinal Stenosis and Neck Pain
38 CFR §4.71a is where all of the neck (cervical) and other back injuries are listed. Diagnostic code 5238 is Spinal Stenosis. This is a very specific, but not uncommon, cervical and thoracolumbar spine condition. As your arthritis develops, the spinal canal may narrow, pinching the spinal cord or the nerves around it.
Spinal stenosis VA disability benefits are available to veterans with a spinal cord injury. Veterans with advanced spinal stenosis may need a surgical procedure such as a laminectomy to help create space between bones to allow the inflammation to go down.
As we explain in the article below, it is easily misdiagnosed, so you may be able to prove the VA made a mistake in a previous claim and submit your appeal if you’ve been denied in the past.
Neck Pain and VA Unemployability Benefits
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get TDIU (Total Disability / Individual Unemployability) from neck pain alone. Since most of the tiers are 50% and below, none of them can be the main disability to qualify you for TDIU. The closest you could get with the fewest ratings would be to have a 40% or 50% rating for your neck and then another 40% rating for something else.
Veterans who can’t hold down a steady job that supports them financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of their service-connected disabilities are eligible for TDIU if they have:
- At least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more
Your other disability could be a secondary service connection and still work to qualify you for TDIU.
Common Causes of Veterans’ Neck Pain: Wrecks
The majority of neck injuries for civilians are from car wrecks. A fender bender can jar your back and neck in just the wrong way and affect you for the rest of your life. (Trust us, we know, we’re lawyers!)
When you are out on patrol, you can experience a lot more than any American rush hour and you’re not riding a Lexus. Impacts with other vehicles, driving into holes, explosions, off-road hazards, and worse can really jar your neck. Any records or testimonials from others in your division that can remember such wrecks can give you great evidence. We can help them write a buddy statement to explain how your vehicle wrecked and how you acted afterward.
The crash that caused your neck pain may have been on or off base. It does not matter if the vehicle you were in was government-owned or privately owned. Your neck was injured during your time in the military and you should receive neck pain veterans disability benefits. Sudden acceleration or deceleration from a vehicle crash in the military may have started your whiplash injury. Simply aging with that injury can lead to a pinched nerve causing radiculopathy.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Applying for Neck Pain Veterans Disability Benefits
When applying for neck pain veterans disability benefits, do not forget to list the specific conditions that you have. Don’t assume that just putting down “neck pain” is going to get you benefits.
Don’t forget your secondary service-connected disabilities. For example, if your pain causes depression, that condition may now be considered eligible. Your migraine headaches may also be eligible for benefits. If there is a connection between any impairment and your neck pain, don’t forget them on your application.
Always include all of your conditions such as PTSD, back pain, varicose veins, prostate cancer, hypertension, or whatever on your application. You may be surprised to see what is connected. When you call us, we go through an in-depth interview during your free phone calls to make sure we don’t leave any money on the table for the VA.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
Neck Pain Veterans Disability Benefits Denials and Appeals
Have you been denied a VA disability rating for cervical spine pain, whiplash, or degenerative disc disease? Call our office and let our team review your claim. We help thousands of veterans appeal their VA claims. We have experience with legacy claims and the RAMP (Rapid Appeals Modernization Program) because we’ve been helping people like you since 1985
Have questions? Talk to Woods & Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, for free. There is never a cost to ask questions and get a free neck pain claim evaluation. If you decide to hire us, you’ll only pay when we win your case. If you do not obtain benefits, you don’t owe us a penny. Your VA certified disability attorney works with teams of case managers, doctors, vocational experts, and psychologists to help get you win your claim.
Need help? Not sure where to start the veterans disability benefits process? Just give us a call at (866) 232-5777 or just fill out the contact form and we’ll call you!
FAQ about VA Disability for Neck Pain
No. Many veterans’ neck pain started from things such as falling off a tank in training or falling on a wet floor in a mess hall.
If your military service worsened your neck pain, then you may be eligible.
Veterans can receive over $3,332.06 a month from the VA. The amount you are awarded monthly depends up your VA disability benefits rating. That amount will also go up if you have any dependents.
Yes. If you were denied within the last twelve (12) months you have the option to appeal. If this has happened to you, please read the section below about appealing a neck pain veterans disability benefits denial (or just call us).
Yes. If you have let your appeal period run out, you have the option to start a new claim. Call us first, though, in case there are any other options for you.
If you were denied benefits and are approved after your appeal, you will receive back pay. This payment will include all the money you should have been receiving had your claim initially been approved.
No. VA disability benefits are tax-free.
No. We are paid one time, only if we win your claim. We ask for 20% of your back-pay check to pay all of our staff, doctors, fees, and lawyers that work on your appeal. Until we win, we don’t charge you a thing. You have nothing to lose.