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60% VA Disability Rating for Heart Conditions

60% VA Disability Rating for Heart Conditions

Video Transcription

Rachel Foster: Welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00. I’m Rachel Foster. And in this video, I’ll be discussing 60% ratings for heart disabilities.

Veterans who develop heart conditions as a result of service may be eligible to receive VA disability benefits. Some of the most common heart conditions that veterans experience can include coronary artery disease, which is also known as ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, which is a heart attack, or coronary bypass surgery.

Veterans can get service connection for a heart condition on a direct or secondary basis. Or depending on their service, presumptive service connection is available for those who served in Vietnam or the Korean DMZ. The majority of heart conditions are rated under 38 CFR section 4.104, Schedule of ratings, cardiovascular system. And a veteran can receive a rating at 10, 30, 60, or 100 percent.

Ratings under this criteria are primarily based on a series of tests called metabolic equivalent tests, or METS, and it’s also generally known as exercise testing. So, METS measure the energy cost on your heart during various physical activities. They also measure when an individual starts to experience symptoms during physical activities and how strenuous the activity was during that onset.

So, for example, if you start walking and you’re already feeling out of breath, it’s likely that you’ll receive a low METS rating, which would indicate a higher schedular rating. The higher the METS rating, the more efficient and functioning your heart is, and the lower your disability rating is going to be. If a veteran continuously takes medication for a heart condition, they should receive a 10% rating at a minimum.

So, let’s talk about the 60% rating. The rating criteria for the heart changed recently in November 2021. So since it’s still fairly recent and there may be claims pending prior to the change, I’ll quickly cover both the old and the new criteria. So, prior to November 2021, in order to get a 60% rating for the heart, they would have to have been evidence of two or more episodes of congestive heart failure. In the past year, the condition would have had to have more than three and up to five METS and cause shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting, or result in left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction between 30 and 50 percent.

After the November 2021 change, you can meet the 60% criteria if your condition scores 3.1 to 5.0 METS and it results in heart failure symptoms. The 60% generally accounts for when a veteran experiences very debilitating symptoms during low levels of exercise, including walking or light yard work, which for example, weeding or mowing with the power mower.

As of December 2021, the monthly rate of compensation for the 60% rating is $1,214.30. And lastly, a 60% VA disability rating for a heart condition could qualify you for total disability based on individual unemployability, which compensates you at a 100% rate if your heart condition prevents you from walking.

Thank you so much for tuning in today. I hope you found this information helpful. More information about the VA benefits can be found on our blog or through our other videos so be sure to check them out and subscribe.