Many veterans suffer from prostate cancer due to their time in military service. The VA offers service-connected compensation to these veterans based on the active cancer or the presence and severity of the cancer residuals.
How Does VA Rate Prostate Cancer?
Upon establishing service connection, the VA rates prostate cancer depending on if it is active. If the cancer is active, the VA should automatically assign a 100% disability rating. If the cancer goes into remission, the VA will evaluate each residual of the cancer and rate them based on the severity.
These are some common residuals of prostate cancer and their ratings.
- Frequent urination. The rating criteria for urinary frequency ranges from 10% to 40% disabling depending on the amount of time between voiding. The 10% rating requires “daytime voiding interval between two and three hours, or; awakening to void two times per night.” To qualify for the 40% rating, there must be “daytime voiding interval less than one hour, or; awakening to void five or more times per night.”
- Urinary Incontinence. Urinary incontinence is rated under Voiding Dysfunction and includes ratings from 20% to 60% disabling. The ratings are dependent on how often a veteran needs their absorbent materials changed due to their incontinence. Absorbent materials include adult diapers or pads, and to be eligible or the 60% rating, absorbent materials must be changed four or more times per day.
- Erectile Dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is a common residual of prostate cancer. The VA will only grant 0% for erectile dysfunction unless there is deformity with loss of erectile power. However, a grant of service connection for erectile dysfunction deems a veteran eligible for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for the loss of use of a creative organ. As of 2018, SMC (k) amounts to $105.61 a month.
These are just a few common residuals for prostate cancer and some veterans may experience additional residuals. Presence and severity vary from person to person.
Is Prostate Cancer Presumptive?
Yes. Prostate cancer is a presumptive condition for veterans exposed to Agent Orange. “Presumptive” means that veterans do not have to provide a nexus (a link between their condition and service) to prove service connection.
Veterans who were exposed to burn pits in the Southwest theatre of operations after September 11, 2001 could develop prostate cancer due to exposure to hazardous smoke and byproducts. The VA does not acknowledge disabilities as presumptively caused by burn pits, but veterans can provide a nexus opinion from a medical professional to argue for service connection for their prostate cancer.