The Facial Muscles
Reminder: The VA will give a Military Disability Rating for each service-connected condition a service member has, but the DoD will only rate service-connected conditions that make a service member Unfit for Duty.
Code 5325: Any condition or injury affecting the facial muscles is either rated as cranial nerve damage (choose the cranial nerve that is the most affected), or as a disfiguring scar, code 7800. The one that describes the symptoms of the condition the best should be assigned. The minimum rating for any facial muscle injury that affects your ability to chew food is 10%.
Principles that Apply
Combined Ratings for Muscle Injuries: A rating for facial muscles as neuropathy cannot be combined with a rating for facial muscles as a disfiguring scar unless there are two separate conditions each affecting completely different functions (i.e. the neuropathy condition affects the ability to raise your eyebrows and the scar condition affects the ability to smile).
Painful Motion: If pain is present with motion, then the minimum compensable rating (at least 10%) must be given.
Pyramiding: A single condition can only be rated once! However, if a nerve condition or other condition exists that is additional to the face condition (not simply caused by it), then it can also be rated.
Probative Value: If two exams record the condition differently, the exam with the most thorough data and performed by the most qualified person in that specialty will be the exam the rating is based on.
A Tie Goes to the Veteran: If there are two equally strong exams with conflicting information, or if the condition can be equally rated under two different codes, then the one that gives the highest rating will be assigned. Every conflict should be resolved in favor of the higher rating.
Hospital or Convalescent Ratings: Some conditions require periods of hospitalization or constant medical care (at-home nurse, etc.). Any condition that requires this is rated 100% during this intensive treatment. Once it ends, then the 100% rating will continue for a certain period. This period is 3 months unless another length (6 months, 1 year, etc.) is directly specified in the condition ratings. Some patients may need more time to recover than others, so the physician or Rating Authorities can lengthen this time period if they see fit.