Veteran Medical Examination

Good Evening (or whenever you are reading this),

I have been in the Marines for 4 years and have 1 year left. As I am transitioning, I am having to figure out disability for the VA. I do not have many “disabilities.” I have had shoulder surgery and might have sleep insomnia. Are these likely things that will hinder me from getting a Class 1 physical. Have you encountered other Veteran pilots with similar or different VA “disabilities”

Thank you in advance,

Hey David, while you wait for a mentor’s response, let me give you my experience with that whole process. I have several VA disabilities, equating to 60%. They range from low back issues, to a short stint of depression (labeled by the VA as Adjustment Disorder with depressed mood). When you apply for your 1st class, you will have to disclose all of the disabilities you have. No way around it. I have not started ATP, and before paying for the program I wanted to be sure getting a 1st class was possible, especially with the FAA view on mental health. So in February of this year I applied for a 1st class, and brought all documents from the VA and military regarding any of my disabilities. Also got an update on my condition (mental health) from my primary care, saying I was symptom free and off medication for a year. All these documents were submitted with a ‘deferred’ application, meaning the AME couldn’t issue me a 1st class right then, so he deferred it to the FAA to decide. 6 weeks on the dot later, I got issued a first class with no other documents or appointments needed. Only reason it was deferred was for the mental health, otherwise it would not have been deferred.

Long story short, have all documentation for appointments and compensation exams relating to your disabilities with you when you go to get your 1st class. It will streamline things. Good luck!


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You will need to speak with an FAA medical examiner on this one. Only they are able to fully answer such questions.


I also have a 60% VA rating and received a First Class without any issues. I did not have any mental health or sleep issues that I was rated for but mostly back, shoulder, and knee issues. I brought my rating paperwork to my appointment and the AME quickly browsed through it. She asked a few questions about pain management and such but I do not require any medication for my issues. Received my First Class on the spot without any issues.

I’ve heard that PTSD and sleep apnea ratings can cause alarm for AMEs but they are not necessarily automatic disqualifiers.