How the VA Assigns a Disability Rating for Service-Connected PTSD

You didn’t want to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but now that your doctor has confirmed it, you’re starting to understand the need for treatment. You know that your symptoms are interfering with your ability to work and making it difficult to interact with your family, friends, and coworkers, but the rating you got from the VA disability doesn't seem to accurately reflect the severity of the symptoms.

VA Disability Ratings for PTSD and Other Mental Disorders

The amount of compensation you receive for your condition will depend on how much your PTSD symptoms affect your functional ability. The VA will assign you a “disability rating” from 10 percent to 100 percent depending on your symptoms; the higher your percentage, the higher the payment you will receive.

The Standard Scale for Rating PTSD Symptoms Is as Follows:

  • Not disabled. A mental condition has been diagnosed by a physician, but symptoms do not interfere with work ability, social functioning, and doesn’t require continuous medication.
  • 10 percent disabled. Your symptoms are controlled by continuous medication, or you experience mild symptoms which make it difficult to work, but only during times of severe stress.
  • 30 percent disabled. You are occasionally unable to perform work-related tasks due to bouts of depression, anxiety, paranoia, sleep deprivation, memory lapses, or panic attacks.
  • 50 percent disabled. You have a marked inability to interact socially with others and show decreased productivity or reliability in the workplace. You may have flattened or affected speech patterns, suffer panic attacks several times per week, show impaired judgment, suffer mood disturbances, and experience frequent memory lapses.
  • 70 percent disabled. Every facet of your daily life is somehow affected by symptoms of your condition, such as obsessive compulsions that interrupt work or life activities, sudden outbursts, thoughts of suicide, constant states of panic or depression, uncontrolled impulses, and neglect of personal appearance and hygiene.
  • 100 percent disabled. You are completely unable to function due to impaired moods, thought processes, or communication abilities. You may suffer delusions, exhibit inappropriate behavior, have a high potential for hurting yourself or others, experience disorientation to time or place, and be unable to reliably perform self-care duties.

What If My VA Disability Rating Seems Too Low?

If your symptoms place your rating at a level that does not reflect your disability, we can help. Veterans who experience PTSD often must appeal their rating decision to be paid the benefits they are entitled to because of their service. To find out if we can help you, email us at [email protected] or call (402)933-5405 for a free evaluation of your claim today. We serve veterans in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and South Dakota.

 

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