Filing a Psychiatric Disability Claim
Many servicemen and women anticipate injuries possibly stemming from combat. What few realize is the psychological pain that can come from the experiences endured on active duty. For those struggling with mental health after a stressful experience, it can be difficult to admit there is a problem. The stigma surrounding mental health resources in our society becomes a barrier to those in need of help.
Psychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder can dramatically change the way a person lives their life. Left untreated, symptoms can become severe. Some veterans struggle with unexplained changes in their behavior, a growing sense of aggravation and irritability. Some isolate themselves from others and engage in self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse, while others are plagued by insomnia or nightmares.
Veterans struggling with mental health issues have options. Filing for disability benefits is possible for those experiencing psychiatric disorders stemming from or made worse by their time in the service.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits
For those hoping to apply for benefits, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a psychiatric disability. The VA categorizes mental illnesses under their Schedule of Ratings Disabilities. This is aligned with the criteria created by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Categories for eligibility include:
- Anxiety, including PTSD and Phobias
- Adjustment Disorders
- Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
The VA will assign disability ratings based upon a veteran’s ability to function at work and in their daily life. The ratings range from zero percent, ten percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 or 100 percent. If a person is unable to function at all (at work or socially), they are rated at 100 percent. For those suffering from more than one mental disorder, only one disability rating will be given.
Because every person has different symptoms, understanding the VA disability rating for anxiety disorders or the VA disability rating for depression can be confusing. An attorney can help you make sense of your disability rating and what it might mean for your benefits.
In order to apply for disability benefits, veterans will need to file a claim for mental health or psychiatric condition (you do not need to know your specific diagnosis). The VA will then schedule you for an examination to determine a diagnosis and severity of your condition.
Legal Advice for Veterans
VA compensation rates vary widely and an attorney can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible. The Veterans Law Group has worked tirelessly to ensure servicemen and women receive the help and compensation they need to treat their psychiatric disorders. While it is difficult to speculate what the average VA compensation might be for someone with PTSD, a conversation with a lawyer can help clarify your rights.