If you are a U.S. veteran who has erectile dysfunction symptoms from P.T.S.D. or certain physical conditions during or after your service, you may be eligible for disability benefits with a secondary service connection. In this article, read about the link between P.T.S.D. and ED, what a secondary service connection is, whether you may be eligible, and how to apply through the V.A. [Español]
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Erectile Dysfunction
As a veteran, would you be surprised to learn that a whopping 80% of Vietnam vets who were diagnosed with P.T.S.D. also had some form of sexual dysfunction? Of this number, more than 69% reported ED. In comparison, the community rate for erectile dysfunction at the time of the study was 1.9% for men under 50 and 25% for men in their 60s.
A 2002 study found that 85% of combat veterans with P.T.S.D. had ED compared to 22% of a control group without a P.T.S.D. diagnosis.
More recent research also supports a strong connection between P.T.S.D. and sexual dysfunction among male and female veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you are a veteran receiving disability benefits and experiencing ED symptoms, consider whether those symptoms are related to your service. If so and you can prove it to the V.A.’s satisfaction, you may be eligible for an increase in your monthly disability award.
And here’s the part many vets don’t know: Even if you already have a 100% disability rating, you may still be eligible for special monthly compensation for your ED.
What is Special Monthly Compensation?
Special monthly compensation (S.M.C.) is a disability payment the V.A. adds to your monthly benefit for special circumstances.
The V.A. generally codes erectile dysfunction as a 0% disability. ED is not a condition that causes loss of income, so ED diagnoses are not considered for disability ratings. But that doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for the benefit; it just means you need to file a special monthly compensation claim to get it.
ED claims belong to a category of special circumstances covered under V.A. disability code SMC-K. For 2021, the special monthly compensation for SMC-K is $111.74 for a single veteran with no children, and it goes up from there. If you won your claim, this benefit would be added to the monthly disability you are already receiving.
But first, you need to prove a secondary service connection.
What is a Secondary Service Connection?
A secondary service connection (S.S.C.) means that your condition is caused or aggravated by a primary service-related disability. Suppose you have a knee injury that the V.A. has recognized as service-related, and you develop arthritis in that knee later. Arthritis would be considered a secondary service connection — secondary to your knee injury — and would likely be covered.
You don’t necessarily need to have had the disability diagnosed during your service. Vietnam vets are also examples of how this works. Many effects of Agent Orange exposure didn’t show up until years later. Still, the V.A. considers them qualified secondary service claims.
SSC and Erectile Dysfunction
The V.A. doesn’t publicize the fact that they may consider ED a service-related disability, but it is one of the most common claims for S.S.C. conditions, according to veteransaidbenefit.org.
The relevant V.A. statute, 38 U.S.C. 1114(k), reads: “When loss or loss of use of a creative organ resulted from wounds or other trauma sustained in service, or resulted from operations in service for the relief of other conditions, the creative organ becoming incidentally involved, the benefit may be granted.”
Creative organ is the V.A.’s term for a reproductive organ, so they consider erectile dysfunction loss of use of the penis.
To be eligible for an S.S.C. award under the statute, you will need to prove that the ED was caused or aggravated by a condition that you have previously claimed. In the case of ED, service-related causes could be psychological (normally P.T.S.D.), physical (such as heart disease, diabetes (particularly for Vietnam vets), hip or spine injuries, and more), or a combination of both. This list would also include side effects from medications (such as antidepressants or antianxiety medicines taken for P.T.S.D.).
What You’ll Need to Apply for SMC for Erectile Dysfunction
Gaining approval of S.M.C. for ED is all about proof. The V.A. will want evidence of three things:
- Proof that you have erectile dysfunction.
- Proof that you had a qualifying condition during your service that caused or aggravated your ED symptoms.
- Proof that the two conditions are connected. The V.A. calls this connection a nexus.
In short, you’ll need medical records from your current provider and from your service years. You will probably also need to see a specialist who can determine if your primary condition has caused or aggravated your ED.
NOTE: Certain conditions are automatically considered service-related and therefore don’t require proof of connection. For these conditions, you only need to prove #1 and #2 above. You can find a complete list of conditions given presumptive service connection
The Department of Veterans Affairs video below explains more about special monthly compensation and what it takes to prove it.
How to Apply for Special Monthly Compensation
Assuming you’re already receiving V.A. disability benefits, the best place to start is the V.A.’s compensation benefits page.
If you don’t already receive V.A. disability but would like to determine your eligibility, start here.
In the Meantime, ED Meds May Help
It can be challenging to determine the cause of ED for many men. It’s often even more complicated for veterans because erectile dysfunction is more likely to be a mixture of physical and psychological factors.
The good news is that for men whose erectile dysfunction has a physical component, ED medications like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra are likely to help. While some men won’t find ED medications helpful for psychological issues, others will find the confidence boost they get from medication can help them maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life.
When you’re ready, take advantage of eDrugstore’s free physician consultation and prescription service. We offer all FDA-approved ED meds, online convenience, discreet packaging, and free shipping right to your door. Call us toll-free at 1-800-467-5146, or check out our guide to ED meds to determine which one may be right for you.
eDrugstore wants to help. To show our appreciation, we offer veterans, active military personnel, and first responders a 17% discount for lifestyle medications through our Heroes program.
Thank you for your service.
Resources for More Information
Paula Clark worked in the healthcare industry for 17 years before becoming a full-time freelance health and medical writer. Her clients appreciate her ability to convey complex information in terms laypeople can understand. Paula prides herself on the depth and accuracy of her research. Her goal is to add authority to your site in words that will delight both Google and your readers.