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The most difficult conditions to get VA disability benefits for

Some conditions are easier than others when it comes to getting VA disability benefits as a Veteran. While conditions such as sleep apnea or PTSD (the two are even medically connected) are commonly filed and claimed, other conditions require more complex documentation. But don't lose hope: With the right competent evidence, even difficult conditions can be awarded service-connection from the VA. In this blog, we will review a few of the most difficult conditions to prove service-connection to the VA and explain why.

These are 7 of the most difficult conditions to get VA disability benefits for:

Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions, whether mental or physical, are harder to earn service-connection for when it comes to VA disability benefits. This is because there needs to be proof that the pre-existing condition has progressed beyond usual specifically as a result of military service. The following types of evidence can help Veterans who are trying to prove service-connection for a pre-existing condition:

Read our blog on the VA's rules around pre-existing conditions for more information. 

Hearing loss

Getting a rating for hearing loss is very difficult, even if a Veteran has severe symptoms. This is because the VA's rating criteria is strict when it comes to hearing loss – resulting in many Veterans earning zero, because the hearing of the "good ear" is considered for the rating level. Like other difficult to prove conditions, hearing loss claims can benefit greatly from a well-outlined service event documentation and also a personal statement explaining the Veteran's timeline with their symptoms.


Cancer is difficult to earn service-connection for, mostly because genetics are a common cause. Regardless of the type of cancer – this disease is hard to prove since oftentimes the cause is either unknown or mostly attributable to family history.

Veterans need to show that their cancer is different from others (civilians) who have been diagnosed with the same type of cancer. These are a few ways to do that:

  • Show that the cancer's onset is earlier than the typical age of onset.

  • Show that it is is more aggressive than typical cases,

  • Or has some other disability that is not seen with the civilian population.

These factors will help show the potential of a different cause than civilian exposure.

Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisymptom Illness (MUCMI)

Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisymptom Illness (MUCMI) sounds like a highly confusing title – but simply put, this condition occurs when symptoms don't fit into a currently known diagnosis or condition. So, even if a Veteran has chronic and/or debilitating symptoms, the doctors are unable to make a formal diagnosis. It's understandable why MUCMI is difficult to receive VA disability benefits for; the variety of different symptoms (joint pain, headaches, dizziness to name a few) are hard to attribute to military service without a clear diagnosis.

You can read our blog on MUCMI for more information, or check out the VA's webpage.


Infertility in women Veterans is tough to prove mostly because this condition can be caused by various factors, some of which are genetic. Toxic exposures and certain injuries can cause this though, so there is a chance that infertility truly was a result of service. Proving that, however, is a bit of a battle. The VA doesn't have rating criteria for infertility, but Veterans can get VA disability benefits for other conditions that may cause it. This is where it gets confusing, requiring a lot of careful documentation and competent evidence.

Presumptive conditions

Presumptive conditions basically mean that certain Veterans who served in specific locations are presumed to develop certain conditions. If the Veteran doesn't fully meet the requirements of the presumptive though, it becomes difficult to earn VA disability benefits. One example of this is allergic rhinitis: Gulf War / SW Asia Veterans need to be diagnosed within 10 years of leaving the zone while also meeting the 10% rating level. So, if you only meet some of the criteria – but not all – presumptive conditions can become very difficult to prove.

We can help you with expertly crafted medical documentation

Whether you're experiencing a common service-connected condition or something that's much more difficult to prove, we can help. At MRPY Professional Services, our team of experts work one-on-one with Veterans to draft medical documentation that proves their condition's connection to military service. Get started with a chart review or look over our full list of services here.

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