Tinnitus Remains Atop VA’s List of Most Common Service-Connected Disabilities

Tinnitus Remains Atop VA’s List of Most Common Service-Connected Disabilities

Cpl. Khoa Pelczar/Marine Corps

Tinnitus remained the most prevalent service-connected disability among new Veterans Benefits Administration beneficiaries in FY 2017, as VA saw a 6 percent increase in auditory disabilities compared with the previous year.

Nearly a quarter-million (247,944) auditory disability claims were made by new compensation recipients in FY 2017, according to the administration's recently released Annual Benefits Report. Of those, 159,800 involved tinnitus, bringing the total number of VA tinnitus cases to 1,786,980 - most among all service-connected disabilities.

Another 83,329 new beneficiaries suffered from some form of hearing loss, bringing that overall total to more than 1.1 million, second on the overall list.

New compensation recipients accounted for more than 1.5 million disabilities in FY 2017, up from the previous year (1,516,948 to 1,495,373). Each veteran new to the VA system averaged 5.11 disabilities, down from 5.26 in FY 2016.

[Related: MOAA on the VA Claims Process]

The most prevalent disabilities among new compensation recipients in FY 2017:

  1. Tinnitus: 159,800 cases.
  2. Limitation of flexion, knee: 83,329.
  3. Hearing loss: 81,529.
  4. Lumbosacral or cervical strain: 73,073.
  5. Limitation of motion of the arm: 67,563.
  6. Scars, general: 61,580.
  7. Post-traumatic stress disorder 51,273.
  8. Limitation of motion of the ankle 50,384.
  9. Migraine 41,912.
  10. Paralysis of the sciatic nerve, 36,584.

The average individual disability payout, excluding service-connected death payouts, was $11,822 in FY 2017, per the report, for a total of $3.51 billion. That's up slightly from the year before, with an average of $11,661 resulting in $3.32 billion in payouts to new beneficiaries.

Total VA disability compensation for FY 2017, including service-connected death payouts, was $76.52 billion, up more than $5 billion from the previous year.


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