When we discuss veterans’ mental health, we typically turn to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and for good reason. PTSD is commonly associated with professions that increase the likelihood for individuals to be exposed to traumatic events. Because of this, VA offers extensive services to support veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD.
However, PTSD isn’t the only mental health disorder for which veterans can seek support from VA. In some cases, veterans may be diagnosed with other mental disorders even on top of PTSD. Mental health is better understood today than ever before, and VA offers disability ratings and benefits to veterans suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety or depression that resulted from military service.
VA Disability Ratings for Anxiety and Depression
For most anxiety and depression disorders, VA offers ratings of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100%. To be granted any rating by the VA, you need to offer the same evidence required of any other illness or condition, meaning you need to prove you have a current diagnosis, that the diagnosis is due to an event or injury stemming from you time in service, and that the diagnosis has a service connection—or is directly tied to your service.
Mental disorders are categorized under 38 CFR § 4.130 of the VA Schedule of Ratings, where specific disorders are described under their own codes. They all follow a “general rating criteria,” and may be rated at one of the above ratings based on the severity and duration of the condition. It is summarized as follows:
0% Rating: Mental condition is diagnosed, but not severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning or require medication.
10% Rating: Mild symptoms requiring medication, and/or decreased work efficiency in high-stress situations.
30% Rating: Condition causes moderate occupational and social impairment, occasional reduced work efficiency, intermittent inability to perform occupational functions, and symptoms like depression, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks, sleep impairment, and mild memory loss.
50% Rating: Condition causes moderate to high occupational and social impairment and reduced reliability and productivity, along with symptoms like flattened effect and dull speech, regular panic attacks, difficulty following instructions, and impaired judgment.
70% Rating: Condition causes high to severe deficiencies in most areas of life, suicidal ideation, a continuous state of panic or depression, and an inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.
100% Rating: Condition causes complete social and occupational impairment, inappropriate behavior, impaired communication, disorientation, and inability to function in daily life.
An accurate diagnosis is the best way to be granted a rating appropriate to the severity of your condition. The general rating criteria for mental health disorders are not meant to be combined based on a veterans’ diagnosis for more than one of the listed conditions, so you should not count on trying to achieve a higher rating by increasing your number of diagnoses. In some cases, if a veteran’s condition is severe enough, they may apply for a 100% rating for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU), which may be granted when a veteran can prove their condition prevents them from maintaining gainful employment.
Assistance with your VA Claim
Recognizing the symptoms to a mental disorder is the first, and perhaps hardest, step toward seeking support for it. Luckily for veterans, VA is receptive to claims for service-connected mental health disorders, and should you have a condition tied to your service, you are eligible for benefits. If you need assistance building your VA benefits claim or need help with an appeal, reach out to us at 844-VET-LAWS or contact us online to get you the benefits you deserve.