How the VA Classifies Depression

Many veterans and those still serving in the military suffer from depression. This could be a result of a debilitating injury, feelings of survivor guilt, the residual effects of combat stress, grief, or incidents that occurred while in service. If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for service-connected disability compensation for depression.

VA Classifications and Required Symptoms for Major Depression

Picture of a Brain With Numerous Risks of DepressionThe United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a compensation schedule for rating disabilities. Major depressive disorder, or depression, is categorized under “Mood Disorders.” To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you must experience at least two major episodes of depression that last at least two weeks and follow-on symptoms that severely impact your ability to function on a daily basis. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in your daily activities
  • Thoughts of death
  • Excessive need to sleep or inability to sleep
  • Low energy and feeling fatigued
  • Feeling down and unhappy for a large portion of the day

How the VA Rates Depression

The VA uses a “General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders” to rate depression. The rating is based on how the symptoms of the condition interfere with or impair a veteran’s overall ability to function in daily life. The ratings given for depression are 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100 percent. If you receive a 100 percent rating, it means that you have no ability to perform at a job or function socially. A 0 percent rating means that your symptoms of depression don’t interfere with your ability to function. However, it’s important to know that with a 0 percent rating, you may still be eligible for VA benefits such as health care. 

If you are a veteran who suffers from depression due to your military service, and your symptoms make it difficult to work, contact us at 402-933-5405. We’ll discuss your situation and determine if you might be eligible for VA Disability benefits.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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