Did you know that US veterans are at a higher risk for erectile dysfunction?
According to research, 14% of veterans suffer from symptoms of erectile dysfunction and are three times more likely to develop it than other men.
Despite this, a lot of veterans don’t understand their rights when it comes to erectile dysfunction and their special monthly compensation.
To help open up the conversation about erectile dysfunction with veterans, we will discuss how you could be compensated for your erectile dysfunction. It’s way more common than you would think so check out the information below to learn more about your rights.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
First, let’s talk about erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is an incredibly common condition that is almost always considered a secondary condition, which means that develops due to other issues or conditions you are currently suffering from.
The major symptom of erectile dysfunction most people are aware of is the inability to form or maintain an erection during sexual activity, but there are other symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
These other symptoms include a reduced interest in sexual activity, low self-esteem and anxiety (particularly performance anxiety).
Erectile dysfunction is typically caused by factors that are related to the brain, hormones, nerves, and emotions. Major causes include stress and psychological issues including depression and anxiety, but some physical conditions can also cause erectile dysfunction.
These include but are not limited to:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Low Testosterone
Because erectile dysfunction is commonly caused by psychological, it also has a link to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sleep apnea is also the cause of reduced levels of testosterone in men, and as this can lead to erectile dysfunction, this is another reason why this condition is so common in veterans.
Can You Get Disability Compensation For Erectile Dysfunction?
Different conditions and needs are rated differently by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Ratings.
The VA ratings are used by the government to decide how much compensation a veteran gets depending on the severity of their condition.
The ratings range from 0% (which is known as a non-compensable disability, meaning that the veteran receives no financial support for this condition) to 100% (full disability).
Under VA ratings, erectile dysfunction rates at 0% although there are smaller, more specific disabilities related to the penis instead. These include:
- Partial removal of the penis (30%)
- Glans removal (20%)
- Erection difficulty due to deformity (20%)
- Atrophy of the testicles (20% for both testicles, 0% for just one).
What this means is that unless your erectile dysfunction is caused by any of the above-mentioned conditions, you won’t be able to receive any SMC for your erectile dysfunction.
If you do, then here is what you can receive for each rating:
- Partial removal of the penis ($508.05 monthly payment)
- Glans removal ($327.99 monthly payment)
- Erection difficulty due to deformity ($327.99 monthly payment)
- Atrophy of the testicles ($327.99 monthly payment for both testicles)
Do You Get SMC For Erectile Dysfunction?
SMC stands for Special Monthly Compensation and it’s the money veterans or their families or partners receive each month to help meet the needs and disabilities of the veteran.
It’s a way for veterans who receive a 0% VA rating to still can receive monthly compensation for the loss of the use of certain organs.
Under the SMC, there is a category called ‘loss of use of a creative organ’. The phrasing means that under the SMC scheme, veterans could receive monthly compensation for erectile dysfunction.
As of 2022, the total amount you could be entitled to is currently set at around $120 per month.
This means that through SMC, veterans can get $120 per month for their erectile dysfunction – if you can establish a connection between your service and your erectile dysfunction. Otherwise, your claim will be rejected and you will earn nothing.
How To Establish A Link Between Your Service And Your Erectile Dysfunction
In order to receive that monthly SMC check, you need to first establish a connection between your erectile dysfunction and your service in the military in order to prove that your condition was caused by your time serving in the military.
For your claim to be approved, you need to present medical evidence. This evidence needs to show:
- That you have been medically diagnosed with Erectile Dysfunction.
- That you have a ‘Nexus’ for service connection (either your condition is caused by or worsened by your active military duty, or that your condition is caused or worsened by another service-connected disability you also have a diagnosis for, such as sleep apnea or PSTD).
- That your condition and its symptoms actively and negatively impact your quality of life. This needs to be presented through a medical document but you can also write your own personal VA statement to strengthen the claim.
Basically, you need medical evidence that you have erectile dysfunction, that it negatively impacts your daily life, and that your erectile dysfunction is connected to your military service.
To get this evidence, it’s likely you will have to undergo an examination through questions.
An in-person physical examination is not usually required but sometimes, the examiner may require one to check for any penile deformities or loss of testes. This again depends on your claim.
Once you have all this evidence and you have submitted your SMC claim, it should be approved and you will begin receiving those monthly benefits.
Despite erectile dysfunction being one of the most prevalent conditions in veterans, it receives the least support. Veterans are not entitled to any disability allowance for erectile dysfunction and can only earn $120 per month through the SMC scheme.
Before veterans can even receive that monthly support, they first need to gather enough medical evidence to support their claim and submit it for examination.
This means that even if you have erectile dysfunction, you may not receive that $120 SMC support because you cannot clearly connect it to your service.
We hope the above information has helped clarify a few things for you!