Do Veterans Need To Have All Of The Symptoms Listed To Receive A Ptsd Rating
As mentioned above, the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders includes a large number of symptoms for each disability rating. Importantly, a veteran does not need to exhibit every symptom named in the PTSD rating scale in order to qualify for a specific rating. For example, a veteran who only experiences suicidal ideation and near-continuous panic or depression still falls under the 70 percent PTSD disability rating according to VA law.
Specifically, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims case, Mauerhan v. Principi, established that the symptoms listed in Diagnostic Code 9411 are not intended to constitute an exhaustive list, but rather serve as examples of the type and degree of symptoms, or their effects, that would justify a particular rating. Therefore, a veteran can have any number of the symptoms listed in the rating criteria and still meet that level of evaluation.
Ptsd Due To Military Sexual Trauma
An equal percentage of male and female veterans report experiencing rape or sexual harassment while in military service. Many of these veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of not just the sexual trauma but the retaliation they suffer if they report the event.
Disability compensation is available to these veterans for medical conditions, including PTSD, but they have to be able to show some proof that the sexual trauma occurred. For more information, see our article on getting disability compensation for military sexual trauma.
How Can I Get A 100% Va Disability Rating For Ptsd
Do you need help or advice? Contact us now.
With Mental Illness Awareness Week upon us and World Mental Health Day coming up on October 10, we thought wed shed some light on PTSD and the VA disability benefits system.
First known as shell shock or operational fatigue, our society has come a long way in understanding the full impact of what is now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health condition affecting the lives of millions of veterans. The 1983 National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, the first long-term study of its kind, found that some 30% of Vietnam veterans had symptoms of PTSD within eight years of the wars end. A follow-up study published in 2015 in JAMA found that 11% of those male veterans and 9% of female veterans still struggled with PTSD 30 years later. These findings suggest that if PTSD is not treated early, it tends to become a chronic condition. When that happens, veterans with a PTSD diagnosis, along with evidence to back their claim, become eligible for disability benefits through the VA.
Fortunately, growing public awareness of PTSD, and mental health in general, has made it easier for veterans seeking compensation for service-related PTSD. Previously, PTSD was only recognized as an outcome of combat operations, but that too has changed. The VA now acknowledges that non-combat stressors can cause PTSD, if the traumatic event occurred during the veterans time of active duty service.
Don’t Miss: Why Is Autism The Fastest Growing Disability
How To Make Your Ptsd Claim As Strong As Possible
Even if your treatment records fully address all of the above covered elements, ask your treating psychologist or psychiatrist to write a letter or treatment note confirming that, based on his or her observations and treatment, he or she has diagnosed you with PTSD under the DSM 5, explaining how your PTSD symptoms satisfy all of the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria, describing your specific in-service stressor, opining that your PTSD is caused by your specific in-service stressor, and describing the effects of your PTSD symptoms on your occupational and social functioning. Your treating psychologist or psychologist may also complete and sign a copy of the VAs PTSD Disability Benefits Questionnaire , which is the form the VA asks its own examining psychologists and psychiatrists to complete for every veteran who is evaluated in a C& P examination. Though up-to-date versions of such DBQs are no longer publicly available, any DBQ completed and signed by treating doctor constitutes medical evidence that the VA must consider in adjudicating your claim.
Va Classified You As Permanently And Totally Disabled
Permanent and total disability is a special classification used by VA when it believes that a veterans condition results in a total disability that is reasonably certain to continue throughout the life of the disabled veteran.
Once you receive this classification, your rating is mostly safe. Only in very rare situations, such as fraud, can VA lower the rating of a veteran who has a permanent and total disability.
Also Check: When Can You Use Short Term Disability
What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd
There are four main categories for the symptoms of PTSD. The condition can manifest itself differently from person to person, but all of these symptoms can indicate post-traumatic stress:
- Reliving: This set of symptoms of PTSD encompasses flashbacks, nightmares, and trouble sleeping due to trauma. Someone suffering from PTSD may experience frequent and disturbing flashbacks that cause elevated stress and anxiety. In addition, traumatic experiences can often cause nightmares and insomnia.
- Avoidance. After a traumatic experience, a person may deliberately try to avoid anything that brings back troubling memories. Memories related to a traumatic experience can cause intense stress and anxiety, and a sufferer of PTSD may go to great lengths to remain detached from these memories.
- Restlessness and Anxiety. Anything that reminds a sufferer of PTSD of their traumatic experiences can cause the person to become hypervigilant and anxious. PTSD can make a person feel perpetually restless, like something is always very wrong. Sufferers of PTSD often feel a sense of imminent danger.
- Negative thoughts and feelings. PTSD can cause a deep depression to set in. After experiencing something traumatic, you may feel responsible and therefore guilty, or simply feel numb.
How C& P Exams Get Scheduled
Hopefully, you will receive written notice of the exam after sending your claim for veterans benefits. Ideally, you receive this notice sometime before the examination is due to take place so that you have plenty of time to reschedule if needed. There is a chance you do not receive the notice or receive it too late.
Don’t Miss: Is Social Security Disability The Same As Ssi
Did Va Know That My Ptsd Keeps Me From Working
There are a couple of ways to answer the second question. The first possibility is that the VA received evidence of the veterans unemployability when she filed a claim for service-connection. If the VA grants service-connection for the PTSD and awards TDIU, the IU effective date would be one of two. First, it could be the date the VA received the claim for service connection. Second, it could be the date the veteran first became unemployable due to his or her service-connected disabilities. The VA will assign an effective date for whichever is later.
If the VA first received evidence of the veterans unemployability during a claim for increased PTSD rating the effective date for an award of TDIU would be one of two dates. First, the date the VA received the claim for an increase in PTSD rating. Second, the date the veteran first became unemployable due to his PTSD, whichever is later.
As you can see, this can be a tricky determination to make, so it is always important to analyze the effective date set by the VA to see whether they got it right.
What Is Iu Substantially Gainful Employment
The second element of IU is being unable to maintain substantially gainful employment due to her service-connected disabilities. What is substantially gainful employment? In simple terms, substantially gainful employment is work that is not marginal. Marginal employment means that a persons income is less than or equal to the poverty threshold for one person. VA uses the poverty threshold established by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
Also Check: How Much Is 60 Percent Military Disability
Help For Ptsd: When And How To Get It
If you are a Veteran struggling with symptoms that you think may be related to PTSD, visit your local VA center or get a referral to a psychologist for a diagnosis. To receive a PTSD diagnosis, you will need to take an in-depth assessment by a mental health professional. Honesty is key when you take your PTSD assessment. Dont downplay your symptoms. This could cause the VA to assign a rating that is lower than you deserve.
Once you have received a PTSD diagnosis from a professional, you can start treatment. PTSD is a struggle, but treatments tend to be highly effective in many circumstances, particularly medication and therapy.
Counseling for PTSD can be a major help in the recovery process. A licensed mental health professional can help you process and unpack your trauma in a safe environment through the use of one of several highly effective forms of counseling. Multiple forms of therapy can effectively treat PTSD, including cognitive behavioral therapy and prolonged exposure therapy.
Through a combination of consistent therapy and taking an SSRI, you can see significant improvements in your PTSD symptoms.
Va Disability Ratings For Mental Health Conditions Related To Mst
MST is not a disability. However, the experience can trigger mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that are considered compensable disabilities when they are related to a veterans military service.
Mental health conditions are rated based on the severity of a veterans symptoms as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition published by the American Psychiatric Association . The VA describes this under their General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders by outlining the criteria for the various possible disability ratings. All mental health conditions, regardless of their cause, are rated using the same criteria.
A victim of MST who has been diagnosed with a condition such as PTSD or depression might receive any of the following VA disability ratings:
Also Check: How To Stop Receiving Disability Benefits
Two Rules For The Ptsd Rating Scale
According to §4.126, evaluation of disability from mental disorders, the RVSR is required to consider these two rules:
#1. When evaluating PTSD, the rating agency shall consider the frequency, severity, and duration of psychiatric symptoms, the length of remissions, and the veterans capacity for adjustment during periods of remission.
The rating agency shall assign an evaluationbased on all the evidence of record that bears on occupational and socialimpairment rather than solely on the examiners assessment of the level ofdisability now of the examination.
#2. When evaluating the level of disability for PTSD, the rating agency will consider the extent of social impairment but shall not assign an evaluation solely based on social impairment.
What If My Va Disability Rating Seems Too Low
If your symptoms place your rating at a level that does not reflect your disability, we can help. Veterans who experience PTSD often must appeal their rating decision to be paid the benefits they are entitled to because of their service. To find out if we can help you, email us at or call 933-5405 for a free evaluation of your claim today. We serve Veterans from all across the country.
You May Like: Social Security Office St Albans Wv
How Do I Know If Im Permanent And Total
Check the letter to see if you have any future examinations, read the VA explanation of the determination it has made on your case, and be sure to double check the letter for a section featuring a check box indicating that your VA rating is Permanent and Total. Call the VA directly at 1-800-827-1000 if you have
Recommended Reading: Schizophrenia Gender Differences
Fortify The Veterans Occupational Disabilities
Sometimes PTSD ratings are often focused more on social factors instead of occupational factors.
The challenges you face concerning your capacity to work and earn a substantial, gainful living is at the core of your VA disability claim. When we file for increased ratings, we develop a strong case centered on occupational factors in addition to social issues. Credible evidence that demonstrates the frequency, severity, and duration of psychiatric symptoms is what it takes to support a claim that your PTSD symptoms impair your ability to obtain and keep steady work.
Recommended Reading: How Can Ptsd Be Treated
What You Must Have Before You Are Entitled To A Va Disability Rating For Ptsd
It may seem obvious, but you must have a current diagnosis of PTSD if you are to be rated by VA. Some veterans think they have PTSD but dont formally meet the diagnostic criteria for this mental condition. Sometimes, it may not actually be PTSD.
Depression, anxiety, and certain obsessive compulsive disorders can present symptoms similar to PTSD. It is important that you are evaluated by a qualified psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional qualified to diagnose your particular condition.
You May Like: Phobia Means
To Be Eligible For Ptsd
- A clear medical diagnosis of PTSD
- Evidence of a stressor event that occurred during military services and
- Evidence that the stressor event is a cause of the Veterans PTSD.
Once a Veteran establishes to the VAs satisfaction that his or her PTSD is service-connected, the VA will determine the level of disability associated with the individuals disorder. For service-connected PTSD disabilities, the VA bases the amount of benefits on the degree of disability. There is a graduated scale of disability that begins at 0 percent and goes up to 10 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent and 100 percent. A 0 percent rating means that you have service-connected PTSD, but you are not impaired by it.
In order to decide the disability percentage, the VA uses a diagnostic test called Global Assessment of Functioning Scale . This rating looks at how well someone functions in carrying out daily living activities, including social interactions. The scale ranges from 0 to 100. A lower GAF score indicates that someone is more impaired.
Establishing the right to disability compensation related to veterans PTSD from military service can be a complicated process. However, the attorneys atCox Disability Law are experienced at helping Veterans establish their veterans PTSD claims at every step in the filing and appeals process.
Also Check: What Does A Fully Favorable Disability Decision Mean
Get Help On Your Ptsd Claim From Our Attorneys Today
If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits on the basis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other service-related disabilities, contact us today for a free consultation. We can offer guidance regarding your PTSD claim, and we do not charge veterans unless we are successful in obtaining disability benefits.
How To Get A Ptsd Dbq Completed Quickly
?? Dear Veteran, do you need a VA DBQ or Medical Nexus Letter to help service connect your VA disabilities?
? Join VA Claims Insider Elite, get instant access to the ELITE Experience Portal and $7,500 worth of proprietary VA claim resources TODAY, and have our medical team get started on your PTSD VA claim for FREE:
Become an Insider
Were Veterans helping Veterans Worldwide, and since 2016 weve helped 10,000+ Veterans just like you INCREASE their VA disability rating!
Read Also: Is A Learning Disability Covered Under Ada
What Is The Va 55 Year Old Rule
Veterans are protected from rating reductions if they are over the age of 55.
Heres an example of how a veteran is protected from a VA reevaluation for PTSD:
Scenario: A Veteran born on March 7, 1963, claims a VA PTSD increase from 50 to 70, which is currently rated at 50%. Medical evidence amassed in connection with the claim supports an increased evaluation to 70 percent, but also indicates that the Veteran recently began attending weekly counseling sessions with a therapist, and that the prognosis for progress is hopeful and the potential for improvement likely. The claim is forwarded to the rating activity for a decision in February 2017.
Result: The increased 70 percent VA rating for PTSD must be awarded and deemed static, with no future review examination scheduled.
Why? Under normal circumstances a routine future examination would be scheduled for performance in February 2020, three years following the rating decisions preparation. However, the Veteran, though only 54 years old at the time of the claims referral to the rating activity, will have surpassed age 55 by the time the examination is conducted. Thus, the VA Rater should NOT schedule a future examination.
Do Va Examiners Always Do Multiple Psy Tests
VA examiners do not always administer multiple tests to determine if a veteran is malingering. If a veteran scores M-FAST score of 6 or higher, the VA doctor may report the veteran is possibly malingering. Because that one word is now a part of the veterans claims file, the PTSD claim will be even more difficult to win. The veteran will likely need an independent medical opinion that refutes the allegation of malingering.
The Army recognized this back in 2012. It issued policy guidance on the assessment and treatment of PTSD. The memo stressed that the diagnosis of malingering should not be made unless there is substantial and definitive evidence from collateral or objective sources that there are false or grossly exaggerated symptoms that are consciously produced for external incentives.
The memo noted that there is considerable evidence that malingering is rare among veterans and that malingering is unlikely to be a factor in the vast majority of disability determinations. Even the VA concedes that Vietnam veterans may have elevated scores on tests due to their chronic post-traumatic difficulties.
In fact, no test for malingering exists which can reliably tell which symptoms are being exaggerated. Tests like the M-FAST, MMPI-2, PAI, and TSI are the best available. That said, the tests findings can easily result in labeling veterans with genuine PTSD as malingers.
Read Also: Do You Have To Pay Back Short Term Disability