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VA Rating for PTSD, Anxiety, or Depression

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can strike years after exposure to the triggering event. We had a client, for example, who had worked successfully for thirty years and then one day he was walking along a street and a car back-fired. Suddenly, he was having flashbacks and nightmares, which eventually led to a long-term admission to a treatment program and having to go on disability.

Many people work while suffering from PTSD. In fact, they often feel better while working, due to the daily framework and socialization that work affords. But, if work ends, the PTSD is likely to get worse.

Working with PTSD may make usual workplace interactions difficult. Often a veteran is uncomfortable with people walking behind him or her, and has to be situated so that the veteran can see anyone coming into a room. Noise can also be a problem, not to mention getting along with co-workers. Working with PTSD causes significant changes in the worker’s needs and abilities.

Some of the symptoms of disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression include:

  • Nervousness, irritability

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Sense of impending doom

  • Fatigue, frequent tiredness

  • Trouble concentrating, minor memory loss

  • Pain or tightness in the back, neck, and shoulders

  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Clamminess and sweating

Establishing Your Veterans Disability Claim

To establish your claim for VA disability benefits for a psychological disorder such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression, you should have a diagnosis and treatment from a doctor or qualified healthcare provider. You must also establish that the disorder is the result of an in-service event. Since conditions, like PTSD, anxiety, and depression can sometimes surface in veterans years after the in-service event, it's especially important to report these symptoms to a medical professional when they start to occur. The medical documentation can further be supported by statements from family and friends as well as any changes in your work performance or employment status. This can be important for showing how your condition affects your ability to work as well as how your condition affects your family relations and social interactions.

The VA rating schedules specify functional limitations that must be met to obtain a certain rating percentage. The functional limitations considered by the ratings are the same for all psychological diseases. So, it does not matter what the diagnosis is when determining the amount of benefit. All that matters is the extent of functional limitation.

The VA applies its ratings system for psychological conditions as follows:

  • 0% -- This rating acknowledges the diagnosis for a disorder but doesn’t recognize that there are any significant symptoms. According to this rating there isn’t any impairment that would be considered to affect a veteran’s employment.

  • 10% --; A 10% rating indicates a diagnosed condition that may result in a small decrease in work efficiency. Under this rating, psychological disorders are often successfully controlled with medication.

  • 30% --; A rating of 30% includes the diagnosis of a condition and can be associated with temporary memory loss, panic attacks, or trouble sleeping. This is considered to result in occasional difficulties or an inability to perform certain tasks.

  • 50% --; This rating indicates difficulties not only in work performance but also social impairment that can hinder work and social relations, impairments in judgment and understanding of complex tasks, and more frequent panic attacks, usually occurring more than once a week.

  • 70% --; With a 70% rating for PTSD or other psychological conditions, a veteran could suffer from impaired judgment, thought process, and mood which would affect relations in and out of work. There could also be problems with impulse control, using appropriate speech, and maintaining personal hygiene. Or the individual may engage in obsessive or compulsive rituals such as frequent hand washing. At this VA rating, it may be possible to receive VA disability benefits for individual unemployability which offers the same pay as a 100% rating, but without having the rating increased.

  • 100% --; With a 100% disability rating, the VA considers the veteran to have Total Occupational and Social Impairment and is considered to be unable to perform everyday tasks as a result of the psychological disorder. In some cases the individual may experience frequent hallucinations, engage in delusional thinking, or possibly be in danger of hurting themselves or others.

At the 100% rating, a veteran receives the maximum amount of disability pay, which is $3,332.06 per month as of 2022. However it is important to understand that the VA doesn’t just add up the percentages for multiple conditions. For this reason, VA ratings of 100% are not easy to obtain even with claims for multiple disabilities. In some cases Individual Unemployability may be an option to receive benefits equal to those of a 100% rating without actually raising your rating. This can be especially effective for VA ratings of 70%.

VA Disability Ratings With Multiple Psychological Conditions

Anxiety and Depression are common symptoms of PTSD, though they also may be separate conditions with their own VA ratings. Bipolar disease is another example. If the disease arises during military service, or because of military service, the disease is compensable. However, the VA doesn’t allow the same symptoms to be rated for more than one condition. For example they won’t issue a VA rating for anxiety and a VA rating for depression. Since the VA will only issue one disability rating for a psychological disorder, it is best to make sure to include all symptoms in your claim.

The Attorneys at the Friedman Firm Are Experienced with Veterans Disability Claims

The attorneys at the Friedman Firm are  experienced with making claims that include all relevant symptoms and connect a veteran’s symptoms to the highest possible VA rating for PTSD or other psychological disorders. We are also experienced with Individual Unemployability claims. Our goal as the veteran’s attorney is to obtain medical evidence of the psychological disease, whatever it may be, and then show how that evidence limits the veteran’s ability to work.

More in VA Benefits: Veterans Disability Claims