If you are facing mental health issues after serving on active duty in the United States military, you could be entitled to recover benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While many mental health disorders are recognized by the VA, the stigma associated with them could prevent some veterans from seeking disability benefits.

The truth is that there are many ways to qualify for VA benefits based on a mental health condition. Like many claims for VA disability compensation, applications for benefits based on mental health are often denied on the basis of clerical errors. Fortunately, one of our attorneys can help you avoid or appeal a denial when pursuing veterans’ mental health claims in Parkersburg.

Mental Illnesses that Qualify for VA Benefits

The VA covers an extensive amount of mental health impairments, including any disorder that is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The DSM-V is a comprehensive manual of mental health disorders compiled by hundreds of researchers. In other words, virtually any medically identifiable mental health condition could form the basis of a successful VA disability claim.

Examples of mental health disorders that the VA compensates include:

  • Amnesia
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Like with any VA claim, a veteran will only recover benefits if he or she can establish a link between their military service and mental health disorder. This is known as establishing a nexus, or service connection. To establish a service connection, a former servicemember in Parkersburg must:

  1. Be diagnosed with a specific qualifying mental health condition by an accredited doctor; and
  2. Identify a specific event during the course of their military service that caused the mental illness.

It is also possible to recover VA benefits for mental health issues that existed prior to a veteran’s military service. However, a former servicemember and his or her attorney must show that an event during active duty worsened an existing mental illness. This is known as a “service connection due to aggravation.”

Mandatory Mental Health Exams

The VA typically requires a mental health exam to confirm a former servicemember’s diagnosis and gauge its severity. The doctor who performs this examination will also evaluate the veteran’s likelihood of improvement and assign a rating to the disability.

Attending a mental health exam is mandatory for all VA disability applicants in Parkersburg and elsewhere. Failure to attend could result in the dismissal of a claim, forcing a veteran to begin the VA disability claims process from the beginning.

The VA is usually flexible when it comes to rescheduling mental health exams. However, it is a former service member’s responsibility to request a rescheduled exam.

Discuss Veterans’ Mental Health Claims with a Parkersburg Attorney

Mental health claims represent a challenge for anyone seeking VA disability benefits. Unlike a physical injury, mental health conditions are not always outwardly visible. Because of this, there is a certain degree of subjectivity that comes with these ratings. For these reasons, it could be in your best interest to speak with a Parkersburg attorney about pursuing veterans’ mental health claims before filing.

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