Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/18/2022
Wondering about VA disability for erectile dysfunction (ED)? You’re not alone.
Honorable as it may be, serving your country can leave you with substantial health problems. It may affect your ability to walk, talk and perform a job effectively and may even impact your mental health in ways that make it hard to have a normal career afterward.
For these situations, the Office of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the U.S. government are supposed to help veterans with disability assistance. But what happens when it comes to sexual function issues? Can you get VA disability for ED?
Erectile dysfunction may not fit the “traditional” understanding of disability for the average person. After all, there aren’t many career fields in which your ability to work involves rigorous demand for reliable erections.
Erectile dysfunction can be the result of a number of health conditions associated with military service. So, yes, your sexual dysfunction may qualify for disability.
But certain criteria have to be met to get support, and the process can be complicated to navigate.
We’re here to help. Let’s start by taking a brief look at how disability works for veterans.
Veterans Affairs disability supports veterans financially with their healthcare needs. The system provides monthly, tax-free payments to those who were injured or became sick during (or due to) their military service or whose service worsened an existing condition. This is known as a service-connected disability.
It’s important to clarify that, unlike unemployment or other forms of government assistance, VA disability is compensation (pay) for what happened during your service.
Also, criteria must be met to qualify for compensation. To be eligible for disability, you have to have served in active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training. And your condition must result from your service.
While there are many things this financial benefit can be given for, the VA highlights two general areas where compensation may be granted:
Physical conditions like chronic illness or injury
Mental health conditions like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Erectile dysfunction certainly seems to meet the criteria for a chronic illness, and it could even be caused by an injury.
However, ED can also be caused by mental health issues, including anxiety, low self-esteem and depression, among other factors.
Given all this, it would appear ED qualifies as a disability. But there’s one final criterion a condition needs to meet when the VA is involved: that it’s somehow connected to your service.
Qualifying for disability generally requires connecting your illness or condition to some form of duty. For instance, if you were in combat while serving, you need to link your combat to conditions like anxiety disorders, panic disorder or PTSD (which can cause ED).
This could be done through medical records and service records, and generally, you’d file a disability compensation claim with supporting documentation.
According to the VA, the following should be included with your claim:
Discharge paperwork, including a DD214 or other separation documents
Any service treatment records associated with the condition
Relevant medical evidence, such as doctor’s reports, X-rays and test results
Depending on your condition, you may be required to provide additional documentation or evidence. Check out the VA website’s list of additional documentation here.
If the VA does approve your ED disability for compensation, you’ll start getting compensation monthly. But how much you’re paid depends on other factors.
Here’s where there’s good news and bad news. If you’re able to get ED classified as a disability for compensation with the VA, you aren’t necessarily going to receive special monthly compensation (SMC).
Just because the VA recognizes a disability doesn’t mean it’ll pay out — that’s a matter for the disability rating (sometimes called rating considerations).
The disability rating for erectile dysfunction is set at 0 percent. That’s called a non-compensable disability, and it doesn’t qualify you for any disability benefits on its own.
However, certain factors could affect the rating considerations.
For instance, your ED could be the result of a penile deformity or loss of some or all of your reproductive organs, like your penis (which they refer to as a “creative organ”). This means that if you’ve lost your glans or testes or had a significant injury to your penis, testicles or prostate, your compensation could increase.
And in some cases, non-compensable disabilities can become compensable if other disabilities are present — or if they’re related to another existing compensable condition.
Now, once you get into the complicated world of multiple disabilities, things can quickly become hard to track. While the VA created this video to help people understand disability compensation, questions about your particular circumstances may need to be directed to a VA expert for clarification.
If you’re compensated, your medication and other therapies for ED could be covered. But there are some limits on who can provide those services.
The VA is probably not going to let you use your benefits to purchase medication through us or similar providers. This likely includes using your VA disability for erectile dysfunction.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, prescriptions and other medical needs are typically provided by VA community providers. (You can find more information about those providers here.)
In other words, most of your medication prescriptions are expected to be filled by VA entities — not third-party providers like Hims.
The VA allows out-of-pocket reimbursement only in situations where the medication is needed for an emergency or another “urgent” context.
You’ll have to submit a disability compensation claim for reimbursement with a written request explaining why the prescription was filled outside of the VA community. This means that if your third-party medication doesn’t meet the VA’s standards for “urgent” or “emergency” care, it may reject the claim.
To be frank, it’s unlikely Hims treatments will meet those criteria. Medications for erectile dysfunction rarely fall into the “emergency” category. And since our medications take time to arrive at your home, you’re likely to have a hard time arguing that we were the most appropriate source for your urgent needs.
If you believe you have ED that qualifies for disability, there are a few things you need to do: get your records in order, apply for disability, and seek treatment.
But whether you get disability compensation for ED or not, you still need to treat erectile dysfunction — and you still need to deal with the medical condition(s) that may be causing it.
Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, heart disease and other health conditions. It can also be a sign of mental health problems, which may or may not be affecting you outside the bedroom as well.
Treatment for ED will vary depending on the root cause.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe PDE5-inhibiting medications like sildenafil or tadalafil (the generic versions of Viagra and Cialis, respectively). They might also recommend therapy or lifestyle changes to address potential causes of ED, like depression, anxiety, obesity and poor heart health.
Recommendations for treating physiological issues may include exercise, diet changes and addressing unhealthy habits like heavy drinking or smoking.
Whether the VA is part of your treatment plan or not, getting help is essential. Letting those other health conditions continue untreated can lead to worse things than erectile dysfunction.
If you’re ready to start treatment today (without the VA’s help), we can get the process moving.
Our sexual health resources include access to healthcare professionals who can prescribe medications and other treatments for ED. And with our online therapy platform, you can connect to a mental health professional quickly and get your care underway.