How to Get a Higher Disability Rating for a Psychological Condition

A disability rating is a rating assigned to a Veteran based on the severity of his or her condition, which signifies the monthly compensation and other benefits they may be eligible for. There is still a stigma around mental health within the military, but it is important to know these benefits are available to help you get your life back on track.

Many Veterans are underrated for their disabilities and are therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. While mental health is a serious topic that affects a large number of Veterans, not all mental health-related illnesses qualify for disability compensation under the VA rules. You should be are aware of which conditions qualifies, as well as how they are rated for compensation purposes.

Are All Psychological Conditions Eligible for VA Benefits?

For a condition to be considered disabling, it must be directly attributable to a Veteran’s military service. To show this, you should consider seeking a professional diagnosis, gather medical records and buddy statements, and undergo a VA examination, among other ways to prove your case. But even after all this, what if your illness is still not covered by the VA? Here are some of the major conditions that might not be covered as service-connected:

  • Personality disorders
  • Substance abuse, unless it is connected on a secondary basis for disabilities caused by a service-related condition
  • Impulse control disorder
  • Cognitive delays
  • Developmental disabilities

If you have any questions about whether any of these conditions might still be identified as service-connected, call our Veterans disability lawyers for assistance.

How Does the VA Mental Health Rating System Work?

Mental health conditions (with the exception of eating disorders) are rated the same way using the VA’s General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders. Conditions are rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%, and the rating received depends on the level of social and occupational impairment caused by the mental health condition.

To put it in perspective, a 100% rating is only warranted where a Veteran has no ability to function socially or at his or her place of work, whereas a 0% indicates that, despite the symptoms, the Veteran seems to function just fine. For most Veterans who seek benefits, they tend to fall in the 30-70% range. Here is a breakdown of what each of these levels looks like:

30% Mental Health Rating

These symptoms are described as “fairly mild symptoms.” You are able to function just fine on most days, but sometimes you cannot accomplish things for work or engage in your social life. Some of the symptoms to look out for are depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks, and chronic difficulty sleeping.

50% Mental Health Rating

In the next level, you will find moderately severe symptoms with reduced reliability. Examples of the symptoms that meet the VA criteria for 50% include flattened affect, impacted or repetitive speech, talking around concepts, frequent panic attacks, difficulty in understanding complex commands, and altered motivation and mood.

70% Mental Health Rating

Veterans in this rating often have difficulty succeeding in work and maintaining friendships. He or she faces a number of challenges across their day-to-day life, and display a number of deficiencies. Examples that meet the VA’s criteria for 70% include suicidal ideations, illogical speech, constant panic or depression, lack of impulse control, neglect of personal appearance, and inability to establish effective relationships.

How Can I Improve My Odds of a Higher Rating?

Attaining a higher rating comes with higher benefits for not just yourself but your dependents as well. When going through the process, it is well worth it to have a sound understanding of how to reach your fair compensation. Here are some ways to improve your chances of getting a higher mental health disability rating:

  1. Provide details in your personal statement. When telling the VA about your daily life, describe what it is like for you and how your mind feels throughout the day. Information like this can help add greater context to exam scores or medical records that are required.
  2. Track your emotions. A great way to do this is through keeping a journal, which the VA accepts in support of your claim. This keeps a record of moments in your life that you otherwise may not recall as well.
  3. Gather performance evaluations from past employers to help document the struggles you faced at work.
  4. Get legal help. Lawyers who work in Veterans’ disability claims have in-depth knowledge of the laws governing these benefits. They will be able to offer legal advice while also evaluating the claim, strengthening the case, and expediting the process.

Talk to the Fight4Vets Team About How to Get a Higher Disability Rating for Your Psychological Condition

At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we are passionate about getting Veterans the compensation they deserve. You fought for us, now let us fight for you. Call us at today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We take cases from across the nation!

Fight 4 Vets