Getting a 70% disability rating for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires meeting the eligibility criteria set by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These criteria primarily consider the duration, severity, and frequency of PTSD symptoms. You must also show a clear connection between your mental health status and events or activities related to active military service.
What Does a 70% Disability Rating Mean?
If VA assigns a 70% disability rating, it implies you show impairment in most areas of your life. These areas can include:
- Family relations
- Cognitive function
- Social interactions
VA mainly uses the signs you depict to assign a disability rating. For example, if you experience disturbing flashbacks, VA may gauge how the symptom affects your personal life. It can also determine if the flashbacks affect sleep quality, triggering other issues like agitation and insomnia.
On the other hand, if your mental health status triggers depression, VA will gauge how it affects daily activities. It will also assess if your depression leads to other adverse effects such as:
- Extreme mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
- Lack of impulse control
- Difficulty in maintaining relationships
If you experience most of these symptoms, but they do not render you totally disabled, VA could assign a 70% rating, the second-highest rating.
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What Do You Need to Get a PTSD Rating from VA?
You must undergo medical tests when seeking a PTSD rating. You can get these from VA, a private doctor, or a therapist.
During an exam, your physician will do various tests and ask questions to diagnose you. For example, they may conduct a psychological evaluation to identify your symptoms and their primary causes. Then, if the doctor determines you have PTSD, they will draft a medical report outlining their findings.
The next step in pursuing a PTSD rating is asking for a compensation and pension exam from the VA. You can either visit your regional office or ask a representative (e.g., a disability lawyer) to request it on your behalf.
Once VA contacts you for the exam, present your medical records. Apart from that, respond to all questions the examiner asks since they will help identify a link between your health status and military service. However, avoid providing information that may contradict your medical record or Nexus letter.
When Will You Know if You Got a Disability Rating?
Once you complete a claim exam, the physician will forward it to a reviewer. Then, the reviewer will analyze it alongside the evidence provided in your file. After that, VA will assign a disability rating and send a decision notice. This entire process may take about 3-4 months.
Is It Compulsory to Undergo a Compensation and Pension Exam?
No. While the C&P exam is vital in assigning a disability rating, it is not compulsory. VA only requires veterans to undergo the procedure if they need more information for a case. Therefore, VA may skip this step if you provide enough medical evidence when claiming PTSD compensation.
Can You Qualify for Total Disability Individual Unemployability With a 70% PTSD Rating?
PTSD can severely impact your life and make it challenging to find or maintain a job. It may also trigger emotional instability and affect your socializing capacity with other people.
If PTSD renders you unemployable, you may qualify for total disability individual unemployability (TDIU). This category will qualify you for the maximum monthly compensation, even with a 70% rating.
Can You Work After Receiving a TDIU Rating for PTSD?
VA only issues a TDIU rating to veterans who cannot work due to their health conditions. Still, you may get a job under certain circumstances and still receive these benefits. For example, one exemption allowing you to work with a TDIU rating is marginal employment. This term refers to a seasonal job with meager earnings like contractual work or a part-time position.
Another exemption is protected work environments, referring to specific accommodations to ensure you maintain your position. For example, if you secure a job in such an environment, you may get benefits like flexible work hours and days off without reduced pay. Besides, your employer can offer favorable policies, allowing you to retain your job irrespective of anger outbursts or low output.
Utilizing these exceptions allows you to earn additional income on top of your VA benefits. It may also provide the social support you need to alleviate PTSD symptoms like withdrawal and loneliness.
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Contact a Lawyer Today to Determine How to Get a 70 PTSD Rating
Understanding the VA’s methods for rating disabled veterans and different mental health conditions can be confusing. However, a disability lawyer can explain how you can get a 70 PTSD rating.
An attorney will also identify measures you can take to get more benefits using a status like TDIU or increase your rating to 100%. If you need a disability lawyer to help you achieve a higher disability rate, call today for a case evaluation.