In the United States, there is an unfortunate stigma associated with asking for help with one’s mental health. This is as true in the military world as it is in civilian society. Though millions of people face an array of mental health challenges in this country, many choose not to seek help in the face of mental illness. For veterans whose jobs and families require unwavering mental fortitude, seeking help isn’t just a good idea — it’s often the only way to survive.
Unfortunately, personality disorders are not recognized as disabilities by the VA. For veterans to receive benefits for personality disorders, their condition must stem from a psychiatric condition incurred or aggravated by their military service. For example, borderline personality disorder benefits are not granted if there is evidence of the condition pre-dating the veteran’s service. This distinction makes seeking disability benefits from the VA even more difficult than usual.
Challenges for Veterans Seeking Benefits
Dealing with the VA can be incredibly frustrating for veterans seeking help, but this is especially true of veterans with personality disorders. Because the VA is so quick to deny claims associated with personality disorders, the veteran applying for benefits must be extremely careful in collecting evidence. They must have proof that their condition is connected to their military service.
Personality disorders are nuanced and complex, and people diagnosed with them must constantly battle stereotypes and misconceptions associated with their condition. They face an uphill climb in seeking benefits from the VA and can use all the allies they can find. Some even find themselves the subject of a military mental health discharge.
Independent Medical Exams and Personality Disorders
For those seeking disability benefits from the VA, an independent medical exam can help clarify a person’s mental health history. The doctors employed by the VA ultimately work for the VA, not for the disabled veteran they treat. Independent medical exams can be an invaluable tool to prove to the VA that a veteran’s personality disorder is not merely a personality disorder but another mental health diagnosis incurred or aggravated by their service in the military such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, PTSD or schizophrenia.
These independent exams can be expensive, but are well worth the cost for veterans. The information learned in an exam is often enough to convince the VA to approve benefits for a disabled veteran.
Mental health disorders can be hard to diagnose, and even the most experienced doctors can mistake some symptoms for signs of other ailments. If you received a personality disorder diagnosis from your doctor or while in the military, you do not simply have to take their word for it. Seeking out a second opinion is always a good idea, especially when your disability benefits are on the line. Doctors owe it to their patients to take the time and effort to correctly diagnose their mental illness.
Allies for Veterans with Personality Disorders
Whether you’re struggling with borderline personality disorder disability, need help understanding the VA rating for bipolar disorder or you’re facing an Army mental health discharge, Veterans Law Group is here to help. The process for getting a personality disorder benefits claimed approved by the disability can be an arduous one, which is why it is so important that veterans seek the guidance of skilled, experienced attorneys. If you have been denied VA disability benefits due to a personality disorder diagnosis, reach out to the Veterans Law Group for a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer ready to help you.