The VA disability ratings for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100 percent. The nature of your diagnosis and the impact your condition has on your functional capacity determine which of these ratings you receive. The higher your VA disability rating, the more monthly pay you can get.
When you apply, a VA representative will review your appeal and supporting documentation, including your medical records, physicians’ statements, and lab test results. From this information, if you meet the requirements for service connection, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes a judgment on the level to which your condition impairs you. It then assigns a disability rating based on your level of impairment.
How VA Approves Disability Appeals for PTSD
VA grants disability benefits to veterans suffering from PTSD as long as their application establishes three facts. One, they have a valid diagnosis of PTSD. Two, they experienced, witnessed or learned of a qualifying traumatic event while in service. Three, their condition arose because of the in-service event.
VA uses these to approve or deny PTSD claims. For your PTSD diagnosis to be valid and qualify as a disability some of the requirements are:
- Stressor: A specific traumatic event that occurred during your military service and triggered your condition.
- Re-experiencing: Reliving the event after the fact, such as flashbacks, nightmares, or night terrors.
- Avoidance: Expending energy to avoid people, places, or activities that remind you of the event.
- Negative Cognitions and Mood: Inability to recall trauma, detachment, negative self-evaluation, self-blame, pervasive shame/anger/fear, little joy, and other positive emotions
- Arousal: Experiencing irritability, problems sleeping or difficulty concentrating
Your PTSD also must connect to your military service. That is, your application and supporting evidence must show a clear link between a specific event during your service and your current diagnosis of PTSD.
Once you are deemed to have met the criteria, the VA will analyze the functional impact of your PTSD. In other words, the VA will determine whether you have trouble functioning in a workplace or doing daily living activities.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-888-392-5392
Lawyers Can Help You Build a Winning VA Disability Appeal for PTSD
Lawyers have helped many disabled veterans appeal in VA disability benefit cases. A large number of our clients now collect VA disability benefits for mental impairments, including PTSD. Our lawyers know the components of a winning appeal, and use their knowledge and resources to help you.1
A successful VA disability application needs to prove three things:
VA’s Criteria of a Disability
To decide whether your condition is eligible for compensation benefits, a VA disability lawyer determines how seriously your service-connected PTSD affects your quality of life and ability to function. In other words, does your condition keep you from working and carrying out daily living activities? And if so, to what extent?
The answers to these questions determine:
- Whether you get approved
- How much compensation you would receive each month, if granted
Lawyers can gather evidence and assemble it into a compelling picture of your condition and how it affects you.
Prove In-Service Event
Your case must also establish that you suffered a particular in-service event related to your PTSD.
Establishing a Service Connection
Lawyers must show the VA that a nexus (established by a medical professional) exists between your military service and the condition.. Unless lawyers establish a clear and compelling argument for service connection, the VA might say that your PTSD resulted from something outside your military service.
For a free VA disability case evaluation with lawyers, call (888) 392-5392 today.
How VA Rates PTSD
If you meet the criteria listed in the previous section, you may receive approval to start collecting VA disability benefits for PTSD. But there is a wide gap in how much money you could be eligible to receive each month. The amount depends on your disability rating, which VA assigns by evaluating your medical evidence to determine how your condition affects your daily life.
VA uses the following criteria to assign you a disability rating at one of six levels:
- 100% rating: “Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.”
- 70% rating: “Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.”
- 50%rating: “Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.”
- 30 % rating: “Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).”
- 10 % rating: “Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication.”
- 0 % rating: “A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication.”
Your Monthly VA Disability Compensation for PTSD
Your monthly disability compensation for PTSD depends on which rating you receive from VA. The disability compensation rates for PTSD for a single veteran with no dependents as of December 2019 are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $142.29 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $435.69 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $893.43 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,426.17 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $3,106.04 per month
In addition to monthly compensation, you are also eligible for additional perks and benefits no matter which VA disability rating you receive. In fact you may be eligible for VA health care benefits.
If you receive a disability rating of 30, 50, 70, or 100 percent, and you have dependents living in your household, such as your spouse, children, or dependent parents, you are eligible to receive additional monthly compensation beyond your base amount on behalf of these household members.
What if you receive approval for VA disability for PTSD but receive a lower rating than you deserve? You can appeal your rating, but be aware that when you do, VA will take another look at your entire application, and you have no way of knowing or controlling whether the reviewer will be more or less generous than the first one. In a worst-case scenario, the VA could lower your rating or take your benefits away altogether.
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A veteran’s disability lawyer can evaluate your rating and fight for your best VA disability benefits. Call (888) 392-5392 today for a FREE case evaluation.