Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health disorder among veterans, and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending on the individual and the traumatic events they have experienced. Flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts are just some of the symptoms veterans with PTSD must deal with, and because of this, VA offers disability compensation to those who can prove a service connection.
As common as PTSD is, however, it may not always be rewarded with the appropriate VA disability rating. Ratings assigned for PTSD are 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100%, and are largely based on a veteran’s social and occupational impairment. For most veterans, it may not be easy to get a higher rating on a first claim, much less 100% disability based off it. For that to happen, your condition must be severe enough, and you must build a strong claim supported by medical records and nexus statements, buddy statements, and perhaps even employment and financial history to prove diminished earning potential.
Increasing your 70% PTSD Rating to 100%
Three methods are readily available for veterans whose PTSD is severe enough to warrant a higher rating than what they’ve been awarded. Read on to see what your options are.
Method 1: Appeal the Decision or File a New Claim
The most straightforward approach is to appeal VA’s decision on the original claim. You have up to one year after the first rating has been assigned to do so. If it’s been past one year, you can simply file a new claim. In either case, it’s strongly recommended that you present more evidence to bolster your claim and improve your chances of a more favorable decision.
Method 2: Prove Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
Total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is one way veterans can skirt around a lower-than-100% disability rating. TDIU isn’t just limited to PTSD cases. It’s a benefit available to veterans who can prove their service connected disability (or disabilities) prevent them from working. TDIU ensures a veteran receives monthly compensation equalling that of a 100% rating for their given condition.
To be eligible for TDIU, a veteran must have either one disability rating of 60% or higher, or a combined disability rating of 70% with one condition rated at 40% or higher. Once again, the evidence must demonstrate the severity of the veteran’s PTSD, to the extent that the veteran cannot work or may be a threat to themselves or others.
Method 3: File for a Secondary Service Connection
Secondary service connections refer to conditions that have been caused or exacerbated by a condition for which a veteran has been awarded a VA disability rating. If a 100% rating or TDIU are not realistic options for you, and claims or appeals have done nothing to sway VA’s original rating for your PTSD, consider if your PTSD has caused any other psychological or physical ailments for which you can prove the connection. You can submit a new claim for benefits with proof of your diagnosis and a nexus statement to connect the two conditions.
Assistance with Your Claims and Appeals
PTSD is an all-too-common condition suffered by veterans, and no matter how mild or severe it may be, it warrants compensation from VA. Build the strongest case you can to file a claim or an appeal with us today. You can contact us at 844-VET-LAWS to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for your PTSD.