Understanding Your VA Rating for Anxiety, Depression, and/or Adjustment Disorder
Times have changed for veterans experiencing mental health disorders. In the past, it was often thought that if you couldn’t “see” an injury, it didn’t exist. Thankfully, the VA now recognizes service-connected conditions like anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorder. Each of these can have a profound impact on your ability to live your day-to-day life and work. Despite this, veterans are still sometimes denied the benefits they need and deserve. If anxiety, depression, and/or adjustment disorder is preventing you from working, you need to make sure you are maximizing your benefits. This is where the disability attorneys of Veterans Law Group can step in.
Receiving compensation for these service-related conditions isn’t charity. It’s money that you deserve and money that you earned through your service. We believe that no veteran should ever fall through the cracks or have to struggle financially. If you have been underrated by the VA, or your benefits were flat-out denied, you need to speak with a VA disability attorney. You completed your mission. This one’s ours.
A VA rating for anxiety, depression, and/or adjustment disorder is stated as a percentage, from 0% to 100%. These ratings mainly look at your occupational and social functioning, although your ability to take care of yourself (hygiene, grooming) is also considered. A higher percentage means that the condition has a greater impact on different aspects of your life.
The VA rates disability according to the following symptoms. Please note that these are general descriptions — your Veterans Law Group attorney can provide you with much more specific information.
Understanding VA Disability Rating Levels
You might receive this VA disability rating for adjustment disorder with anxiety if you’ve been formally diagnosed, but the condition is well-controlled. That means it does not interfere with your job or your social life, and that you do not need to be on medication continually.
For a 10% rating, the aforementioned symptoms are transient or sporadic. For example, you might have nightmares, but they do not occur every night and you are usually able to go back to sleep. Alternatively, your symptoms might be more severe, but medication either controls or eliminates them.
This disability rating is perhaps the most common one. It is appropriate if the aforementioned symptoms are worse but still manageable. Let’s return to the nightmares example. If your nightmares are more frequent and/or more severe, you might have a harder time sleeping through the night, at least on a bad day. As a result, you are groggy the next day, especially in the morning hours. At that point, the PTSD symptoms interfere with social interaction and job performance, even though you are “generally” able to function “satisfactorily.”
The first two ratings focus on overall effects. The higher three focus on specific symptoms. A 50% rating is appropriate if symptoms include:
• Flat or lethargic outlook,
• Speech impairment,
• Judgment, memory, and/or thought impairment,
• Weekly panic attacks, or
• Difficulty in understanding complex instructions or maintaining healthy social relationships.
Remember, if you disagree with your Compensation and Pension doctor’s assessment, you have the right to appeal.
At this level, you are likely struggling with maintaining employment. Holding down a job might be out of the question for you. Specific symptoms include:
• Suicidal thoughts,
• Obsessive focus on rituals,
• “Near-continuous” panic attacks or depression,
• Emotional outbursts, mostly irrational anger,
• Inability to manage stressful situations, and
• Neglect of personal hygiene.
Since veterans with a 70% disability rating may be struggling with employment, a Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability claim might be an option. You would have a 70% rating but paid at the 100% level due to unemployability.
Generally, you either are unable to leave your house or need constant supervision. Some total disability symptoms include:
• Gross thought impairment,
• Hallucinations and/or delusions,
• Disorientation as to place, time, and situation,
• Near-complete memory loss, and
• Danger to self or others.
Speak with a Dedicated Attorney About Your VA Rating for Anxiety, Depression, and/or Adjustment Disorder
At the Veterans Law Group, our practice is completely devoted to helping disabled veterans get the benefits they deserve. We’re experienced in dealing with the VA. We know what it takes to build a strong case and get the best possible disability rating for you. That might mean pursuing additional medical opinions or vocational expert reports. We’re prepared to go the extra mile for you.
While our office is based in California, we work with Veterans from all over the country. A consultation with one of our experienced VA disability lawyers is free and confidential. Please contact us to get started.