A recent study found that nearly 25% of all veterans suffer from a mental illness of some kind. In many of these cases, veterans have a psychiatric disability that entitles them to disability benefit payments from the VA. Psychiatric disabilities are presumed to be service-related. Even in cases where a veteran had a pre-existing mental illness, VA benefits are still possible if there was a service-related aggravation of that illness.
The VA only recognizes disabilities that are found in the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities. For mental disorders, this schedule is largely based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Common illnesses that entitle veterans to benefits include (among others):
- anxiety or panic attacks;
- cognitive disorders such as dementia or amnesia;
- mood disorders;
- somatic symptom disorders; and
- eating disorders.
Getting benefits from the VA often requires going through a complicated claim appeal process. This can involve the compilation of employment and personal information, medical evaluations, and even court appearances. Navigating the process and providing the right evidence can be a daunting task, especially for a person suffering from a cognitive or emotional disability. An experienced attorney can help a veteran prove a psychiatric disability by providing the VA with the correct medical evidence and with testimony from a credible evaluating psychiatrist.
At the Veterans Law Group, we are familiar with the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities and we understand what medical evidence is required to get our clients disability compensation. We also carefully seeks out psychiatrists who will provide the best reports for our clients. If you are a veteran suffering from mental illness, but have been denied disability benefits, contact us today for assistance. If you are a family member of a veteran suffering from mental illness, you can find useful resources here.