Over the last few decades, additional attention has been given to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental health condition often arises because of trauma that people experience while in military combat. When PTSD affects a veteran’s ability to function normally and work, the veteran may qualify for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The amount of compensation a veteran can receive depends on their disability rating, which is based on the severity of PTSD.
PTSD Service Connection
It is not enough for a veteran to show that they have PTSD. They must first show that the PTSD is related to their military service. For example, the PTSD must result from a blast, sexual assault, or seeing a comrade die in front of them. This information should be included in their medical records. In addition to the diagnosis of PTSD and the service connection, these medical records should express that the veteran cannot function as well as they did before because of their PTSD symptoms.
Determination of Disability Rating
Next, the VA assigns a disability rating to the veteran. Higher ratings mean the condition has a more significant impact on the veteran. Typically, the rating ranges from 0% to 100% in increments of 10%. The rating is based on the following factors:
- The severity of the symptoms
- How often the symptoms arise
- How long the symptoms last
- Impact of the symptoms on the veteran’s ability to function
Examples of Disability Ratings
While most VA disability ratings are expressed in increments of 10%, PTSD is only rated at the following levels: 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. These ratings mean the following:
- 0% – The veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD but has no symptoms that interfere with their daily life or ability to work.
- 10% – The veteran has mild symptoms only during periods of significant stress, or the symptoms are controlled by continuous medication.
- 30% – The veteran has moderate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and recurring nightmares that impair the veteran’s work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks.
- 50% – The veteran’s reliability and productivity are negatively impacted due to symptoms such as panic attacks more than once a week, memory loss, and impaired judgment.
- 70% – The veteran has deficiencies in most areas of their life, near-continuous panic or depression that affects their ability to independently function, or difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships with others.
- 100% – The veteran’s condition renders them unemployable.
Evidence to Increase a PTSD Rating to 100%
If a veteran has been rated below 100% for PTSD and believes their condition has worsened or is entitled to a higher rating, they can file for an increased rating. There are certain requirements the VA will look at to support a claim for an increased rating of PTSD to 100%.
To increase a PTSD rating to 100%, the veteran must provide evidence that their symptoms are completely disabling and prevent them from working or performing daily activities. This can include evidence of hospitalizations, medication records, and statements from family members or friends that describe the impact of the symptoms on the veteran’s daily life. An attorney who is experienced in handling veterans’ disability claims can help strategize the kind of evidence that could support the claim and understand the types of documentation needed based on claim status.
Compensation and Pension Examination
The VA may require a compensation and pension (C&P) examination to re-evaluate the veteran’s condition before making a decision on an increased rating. During a C&P examination, a VA healthcare provider evaluates the veteran. They assess the severity of the veteran’s symptoms and determine if an increased rating is warranted. A veterans disability attorney can help veterans understand what to expect at their C&P examination and what information may be discussed at this visit.
If a veteran is unsatisfied with the VA’s decision on their increased rating claim, they can appeal the decision through the VA’s appeals process. This can be a lengthy and complex process. It is recommended that veterans seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who is experienced in VA disability law. Every case is unique, and an attorney can help you understand your rights as a veteran and what is needed to help you get the rating you deserve from the VA.
Contact Us for Immediate Help with Your Claim
Disability Law Group has a skilled team of experienced, compassionate attorneys who specialize only in disability law. We have helped thousands of veterans to navigate the VA disability system and obtain the decision, rating, and compensation they deserve. Our attorneys are well-versed in the rating criteria for PTSD and can help veterans gather the medical evidence necessary to support an increased rating for PTSD to 100%.
Whether you have not yet applied or need to appeal a decision regarding service connection or the rating assigned, we can help. Contact us today for your free consultation.