Skip to main content
For Immediate Help: 800-544-9144
Veterans Law

VA Disability Benefits for Stroke

Jenna Zellmer

July 2, 2017

Updated: November 20, 2023

stroke va disability|Parkinson's Disease

A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off or reduced, depriving its tissue of necessary oxygen and nutrients. This can be caused by a blood clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain, or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing the flow of blood to the brain.

The effects of a stroke can vary depending upon the area of the brain affected and how long it was deprived of blood flow. Some individuals are able to recover completely from a stroke, whereas others are left with permanent disabilities such as partial paralysis, difficulty speaking, memory loss, vision problems and more.

How VA Rates a Stroke

The VA categorizes strokes under several different categories. An embolism of the blood vessels in the brain occurs when a blood clot that occurs somewhere else in the body travels to the brain. A thrombosis of the blood vessels in the brain occurs when blood clots form in the brain’s blood vessels. A hemorrhage of the blood vessels in the brain occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures.

Veterans who experience a service-connected stroke are assigned a convalescent temporary and total disability rating for six months following their final treatment. Veterans are then reevaluated and assigned ratings based on their residual symptoms. For example, if a veteran suffers from partial paralysis due to a stroke, then the Veteran would receive a rating based on the level of paralysis.  A veteran’s rating for residual symptoms will be based on medical records or a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination.  If residual symptoms following a stroke exist and are supported by medical findings, veterans will receive a minimum disability rating of 10%.

Presumptive Service Connection for Stroke

Veterans may be able to receive presumptive service connection for a stroke in some situations. This presumption can be especially beneficial when applying for VA disability benefits as it can be difficult to prove the exact cause of a stroke. Some forms of stroke receive presumptive service connection if the veteran is at least 10% disabled due to the stroke within one year of discharge. In addition, former prisoners of war receive presumptive service connection for strokes. This applies to any form of stroke for a prisoner of war that was in captivity for any length of time.

About the Author

Bio photo of Jenna Zellmer

Jenna joined CCK in January of 2014 as an appellate attorney, was named Managing Attorney in September of 2019, and now serves as a Partner at the firm. Her law practice focuses on representing disabled veterans at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

See more about Jenna