Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Va Disability For Depression And Anxiety

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How Can Veterans Link Depression To Back Pain

VA Disability Ratings for Depression and Anxiety

Depression is often a side effect of serious back pain. If a Veteran experiences chronic back pain or limited mobility, they:

  • May have a lessened range of motion
  • May have trouble maintaining gainful employment
  • May experience consistent or chronic pain or discomfort
  • May be unable to participate in their favorite activities
  • May be bedridden or confined to a chair for long periods

Because of these symptoms, many veterans cannot enjoy life as they did before. Their medical condition can severely negatively affect their mental health, leading to symptoms of depression.

Veterans can link depression to back pain if their back pain leads to loss of ability, lower quality of life, or constant pain and discomfort despite painkillers and other treatments.

Service Connections For Anxiety And Depression Va Rating

Although an anxiety and depression VA rating is similar to physical disabilities when it comes to benefits, the process of VA rating is different. VA benefits are service-related, and it can be more difficult to establish service-related anxiety and depression in comparison with PTSD or a physical injury.

There are typically three elements of proving service connection:

  • The veteran has a current diagnosis for their condition
  • The veteran has evidence proving their condition is service-related, such as an event, injury, or illness
  • The veteran must prove that their diagnosed condition and the in-service relation are connected. This can usually happen when they provide a medical nexus
  • A crucial distinction between a VA rating for depression and a VA rating for PTSD is the evidence needed. PTSD service-connections need to be connected by a stressor, or traumatic event. Depression or anxiety VA rating, however, do not need a specific traumatic event. The mental disorder does still need to establish that their symptoms started during their time in service.

    Va Disability Benefits For Secondary Conditions To Depression

    Depression is a mental health condition that can often manifest several secondary conditions. The combination of depression and secondary conditions can significantly impact a veterans well-being. Veterans who develop a condition that is secondary to their service-connected depression are eligible to receive VA disability benefits for their secondary condition.

    Also Check: How To Apply For Medical Disability

    Are You A Veteran In Crisis Or Know Of One

    Please be advised, VA has implemented the Veteran Crisis Line equipped with specially trained responders ready to help veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Veterans Crisis Line connects service members and veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging service. Veterans can access the Crisis Line in any of the following ways:

    • Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone
    • Send a text message to 838255 to connect with a VA responder
    • Start a confidential online chat session at
    • Take a self-check quiz at to learn whether stress and depression might be affecting you
    • Find a VA facility near you
    • Visit if you are an active duty service member, guardsman, or reservist

    If you or someone you know is currently experiencing a crisis, please seek assistance through the resources listed above.

    Depression And Heart Conditions

    (PDF) Disability and Treatment Outcomes for Anxiety and Depression in ...

    As Ive written above, stress, seasonal affective disorder, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, social isolation, and diabetes secondary to primary depression can lead to cardiovascular problems. However, depression alone is the biggest culprit. Depression alone predicts the development of coronary heart disease in initially healthy people.

    As if all this wasnt bad enough, when those who suffer from depression DO have a heart attack, they are more than three times more likely to die within 18 months than those without depression.

    Depression Aggravated by Service

    There are some cases where a veteran who has been diagnosed with depression before service may have an event in service that causes their mental illness to worsen, or be aggravated. Service connection is still possible.

    There are some cases where a veteran may have been living with depression before their time in service. This individual may have had an experience during military service that caused their mental illness to worsen. This is called aggravated service connection an event in service that made a pre-existing condition worse.

    Aggravated service connection for a pre-existing diagnosis of depression requires:

    • A current diagnosis of depression by a VA doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist
    • Evidence of an incident in service that worsened the depression
    • Medical evidence of a link between the worsening of the depression and the incident in service.

    Read Also: Can Child Support Be Taken From Va Disability

    Speak To A Lawyer Who Can Advocate For Your Va Claim

    Receiving VA disability compensation can be complicated, so having a veterans disability attorney on your side can be helpful. Hill and Ponton is a nationwide law firm advocating for the rights of veterans everywhere.

    Our lawyers have over 30 years of experience in social security disability law and were always ready to speak to veterans who have questions about the VA disability claims process, if theyre eligible, and what disability benefits theyre entitled to.

    Common Ways Depression And Anxiety Can Be Related To Military Service

    Importantly, in-service causes of depression and anxiety do not have to be due to a military activity. Rather, the cause merely needs to have happened during service. Oftentimes veterans are experiencing problems not directly related to the military that still affect their functioning during service. For example, if a veteran is deployed to another country and they are experiencing problems with their family at home, they might become depressed and anxious over their inability to be with their family while stationed abroad. Again, as long as the factors causing the veterans symptomatology, or the symptomatology itself, manifested during service, they are eligible for service connection.

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    Contact An Attorney Who Is Familiar With Anxiety Claims

    VetLaws team of dedicated professionals can help you brainstorm what evidence you may need to persuade VA to grant your anxiety claim. If you have already received a denial of benefits, a VA-accredited lawyer from our firm can prepare you to offer testimony in a hearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals. To start the appeals process on your anxiety claim, schedule a consultation with an attorney from VetLaw today.

    Anxiety Secondary To Tinnitus: Is There A Connection

    How To Win VA Disability Benefits for Depression

    Plenty of medical research studies point to the prevalence of Anxiety and Depression mental disorders in veterans with Tinnitus.

    For example, a 2015 joint study in coordination a VA Medical Center in California called, The Correlation of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory with Depression and Anxiety in Veterans with Tinnitus, revealed that a shocking 79.1% of the 91 Tinnitus sufferers had a diagnosis of Anxiety, 59.3% had Depression, and 58.2% suffered from BOTH Anxiety and Depression.

    According to theAmerican Tinnitus Association, Anxiety and Depression issues can be both a contributing factor to Tinnitus and a consequence of burdensome Tinnitus.

    Tinnitus symptoms often result in feelings of anxiety and depression.

    Current estimates suggest that 48-78% of patients with severe tinnitus also experience depression, anxiety, or some other behavioral disorder.

    13% of ATAs membership self-identified as being diagnosed with a mental health issue. At the same time, pre-existing behavioral conditions may make it more likely that the patient will experience tinnitus as a burdensome condition.

    For example, one large cohort population study found that people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are nearly 7x more likely to experience chronic, burdensome tinnitus.

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    About Va Claims Insider

    VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. Were here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements for a wide range of disability conditions.

    Recommended Reading: I Feel Too Depressed To Work

    Ibs Secondary To Ptsd

    IBS Secondary to PTSD

    Medical research points to a connection between IBS and PTSD.

    One study identified patients with irritable bowel syndrome have been found to have high rates of psychological trauma history and PTSD .

    In the same study, individuals with PTSD have been reported to experience rates of IBS at 35% and non-ulcer dyspepsia at 41%, indicating a correlation between the two conditions.

    Many veterans with IBS, especially those who were diagnosed long after leaving the military are eligible under the law for IBS secondary to PTSD.

    Service connection on a secondary basis requires a showing of causation.

    A showing of causation requires that the secondary disability be proximately due to or the result of another service-connected disability.

  • A medical diagnosis of IBS in VA medical records or private records
  • Evidence of a service-connected primary disability , AND
  • Medical nexus evidence establishing a connection between the service-connected disability and the current disability
  • The first part can be satisfied with any existing medical evidence in service treatment records, VA medical records, or any private medical records.

    The second part can be satisfied with a veterans existing service-connected disability rated at 0 percent or higher.

    The third part can be satisfied with a medical nexus letter from a qualified medical professional.

    In 2022, IBS secondary to PTSD can be rated at 0%, 10%, or 30%.

    Read Also: Is Depression Really A Disease

    Also Check: How To File For Disability In Ohio

    Va Rating For Anxiety Disorder: Basic Eligibility Criteria

    In order to be eligible for an Anxiety VA rating, a veteran must meet three criteria by law:

    • #1. Medical diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder in a medical record
    • #2. Your Anxiety was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service
    • #3. Persistent and recurring symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    If you think you have a mental health conditions such as an anxiety disorder, but dont have a medical diagnosis, pick-up the phone and call the VA mental health facility nearest you to make an appointment right away!

    If youre trying to increase your VA rating for anxiety, you need to prove to the VA that your symptoms are now worse and warrant a higher rating by law.

    The #1 best way to increase your anxiety VA rating is to get a private independent psychological evaluation and tell your uncomfortable truths about the severity of your symptoms.

    A Higher Disability Rating Means More Monthly Compensation

    Depression anxiety secondary to service connected disabilities ...

    VA awards disability compensation on a sliding scale. To determine your level of benefits, the VA assigns you an impairment rating from 0% to 100%. This rating signifies the severity of your condition higher ratings correspond to higher compensation.

    To determine your disability rating, VA uses the following criteria:

    Veterans diagnosed with social anxiety receive VA impairment ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. As of 2019, the monthly compensation for each of these ratings is:

    • 0% rating: $0 per month
    • 10% rating: $140.05 per month
    • 30% rating: $428.83 per month
    • 50% rating: $879.36 per month
    • 70% rating: $1,403.71 per month
    • 100% rating: $3,057.13 per month

    Also Check: When Are Ss Disability Checks Deposited

    Va Rating Criteria For Anxiety Explained

    0 Percent VA Rating for Anxiety

    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.

    This means you have a medical diagnosis for an anxiety disorder, but no subjective symptoms.

    You have no occupational and social impairment at the 0% rating for anxiety.

    10 Percent VA Rating for Anxiety

    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.

    Translation: You have very mild symptoms of anxiety.

    Maybe you take antidepressants, but these medications keep your symptoms in check most of the time.

    30 Percent Anxiety VA Disability Rating

    Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks , due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks , chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss .

    The 30% rating for anxiety still has fairly mild symptoms.

    You have some depression, anxiety, memory loss, and panic attacks, but not very often.

    You might be having some trouble sleeping along with mild memory loss.

    Typically, youre having panic attacks LESS than once per week.

    Note that a panic attack and anxiety are NOT the same thing.

    70 Percent VA Rating for Anxiety

    Differences Between 50% And 70% Anxiety Ratings

    The criteria for 50 percent and 70 percent anxiety disability ratings are very similar in terms of the language that is used when referencing occupational and social impairment:

    • 50% occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity
    • 70% occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas

    VA has not yet provided exact definitions for the above-mentioned phrases however, the diagnostic codes provide examples of the types of symptoms that may fall under each. For example, in the 50 percent criteria, reduced reliability and productivity may include impaired judgment, impaired abstract thinking, panic attacks more than once per week, flattened affect, etc. For the 70 percent rating criteria, deficiencies in most areas involves more aspects of life and may include suicidal ideation, obsessive rituals, and an inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

    In denying a higher disability rating for anxiety, VA must explain to veterans why they are not entitled to the higher rating by providing adequate reasons and bases. If VA fails to do so, then veterans have the right to appeal.

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    What Is The Va Percentage For Anxiety

    The department currently has 6 different VA ratings for mental health conditions.

    Anxiety disorders are categorized along with the same rating system as other types of mental illness like depression and PTSD.

    The VA rates anxiety disorders based on severity and level of impairment.

    The 6 different percentage ratings in terms of severity :

    The percentage rating of your condition affects the amount of monthly disability compensation.

    The higher the rating, the more youll receive in monthly disability.

    Assistance With Your Va Claim

    How to file a VA Disability Claim for Depression, Aggression, or other Mental Disorders

    Recognizing the symptoms to a mental disorder is the first, and perhaps hardest, step toward seeking support for it. Luckily for veterans, VA is receptive to claims for service-connected mental health disorders, and should you have a condition tied to your service, you are eligible for benefits. If you need assistance building your VA benefits claim or need help with an appeal, reach out to us at 844-VET-LAWS or contact us online to get you the benefits you deserve.

    Read Also: Can You Get Disability For Stress At Work

    How To Get A Higher Va Disability Rating For Anxiety

    Get an Independent Psychological Evaluation with a U.S. Board Certified Psychologist

    Obtain a DBQ and Nexus letter for ANXIETY or Other Mental Health Conditions

    Dont limit yourself to just the one diagnosis

    Is it possible to differentiate symptoms?

    Do you have PTSD and/or Generalized Anxiety Disorder too?

    Secondary Mental Health Claims

    Physical Conditions And Your Va Rating For Depression

    Its true that depression can be caused by a traumatic or stressful experience, as well as many other factors.

    However, depression can also be triggered by physical injuries and conditions in veterans. Mental illness can manifest when a veteran suffers lost limbs or body parts, endures chronic pain, or faces a lack of mobility. There are a variety of conditions and illnesses linked with depression, including heart disease, diabetes, traumatic brain injuries, and sleep disorders.

    Also Check: How Do You Apply For Social Security Disability

    How Do You Prove Anxiety Is Service

    In order to prove service connection for your anxiety, you will need to show three important things to successfully prove your VA Disability claim.

  • A current diagnosis of anxiety from a healthcare provider,
  • An in-service event or incident that caused your anxiety disorder,
  • And a medical nexus statement from a medical professional that connects your condition to the in-service incident.
  • This medical evidence will be imperative in your veterans disability claim no matter if its for anxiety or for back pain or any other medical issue. There is also the possibility of a different service-connected condition causing you anxiety. Lets talk about that below.

    If You Are A Veteran With Social Anxiety You May Be Eligible For Va Disability

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    Social anxiety is a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to work, sustain meaningful relationships, and even carry out normal daily activities. It has a number of causes, many of them involving genetics and brain structure.

    But ones environment also can play a substantial role in the development of social anxiety. In particular, negative experiences have a strong association with the condition. Veterans, particularly those who serve in combat, are frequently subjected to events that are troubling and even traumatizing. Any one of these events can trigger social anxiety and other phobias.

    In the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handbook of medical conditions eligible for disability benefits, it groups social anxiety in with other phobias .

    A disability lawyer can help prove you deserve veterans disability benefits for your social anxiety.

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    Disability Ratings For Depression Secondary To Back Pain

    The VA rates a Veterans disability related to their depression between 0% and 100%. Like all of the VAs mental health disability ratings, these ratings are based on the severity of symptoms and the level of occupational or social impairment.

    For example, a Veteran with a 50% VA rating for their depressive symptoms may display noticeable cognitive shifts or deficits, such as an inability to make decisions or difficulty following instructions.

    The general rating formula for secondary conditions is not intuitive. The VA takes the secondary rating as a percentage of the Veterans original rating, then adds these two percentages together. Heres an example:

    • A Veteran already has a disability rating of 30% for a back injury.
    • The Veteran receives a disability rating for their depression secondary to back pain of 20%.
    • The VA calculates the 20% of the 30% disabled rating above. That is, 20% of 30% is six percent.
    • Adding up 30 and six equals 36%.
    • However, because the VA always rounds up to the nearest factor of 10, the Veterans new total disability rating becomes 40%.

    Since this formula can be difficult to calculate, you should contact knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys if you plan to file a claim for depression secondary to back pain.

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