How Can I Increase My PTSD VA Disability Rating?
Increase VA Disability Rating PTSD
“How can I Increase my PTSD VA disability rating?” This is a fairly common question that we get. We’re contacted by a veteran who is rated at, say, 10 or 30% for PTSD. He tells us his buddy, whom he served with in Iraq or Afghanistan, is receiving 70% for the same thing.
This veteran will ask us: “How can this be? Why is he rated higher for PTSD? We have the same problems. How can I increase my PTSD disability rating?”
When you look at different PTSD ratings, it’s important to consider the different factors that can influence one’s rating. Sometimes, the veteran’s medical records and claims file focused on social factors instead of occupational factors. Social factors include family relationships and interactions with friends and peers. Occupational factors, as the name suggests, encompasses challenges faced at work and on the job. When submitting an appeal, it’s important to not only focus on one factor but rather both.
Sometimes a veteran receives an inadequate PTSD VA disability rating because the veteran, when talking with a VA physician, downplayed some of the symptoms — saying “well it’s not that bad.” Many veterans assume that they should either talk up or downplay their symptoms, when in reality the best option is to be honest and discuss every symptom you are experiencing.
Sometimes the frequency and severity of PTSD-related symptoms get worse over time. It is vital when submitting documentation in support of an appeal to include not only recent medical records, but also a full medical history so that a doctor can see trends and patterns that have developed throughout the years.
Not only does the VA have to consider medical records, but it also has to look at other evidence the veteran can provide demonstrating that a higher rating is warranted. This may include statements from family members, friends, or employers who can verify that they observed the veteran exhibiting the symptoms he claims in his appeal.
Are you unsure of where you might fall under the PTSD VA disability rating system? See below for an overview of what the different ratings mean:
- 100% rating: Completely unable to function socially or at work with symptoms such as severely inappropriate behavior, ongoing hallucinations or delusions, consistent threat of harming self or others, unable to remember basic information such as names of close relatives, severe confusion and disorientation, and/or inability to care for self.
- 70% rating: Unable to function in most social and work areas with symptoms such as obsessive behaviors, illogical speech, depression and panic so persistent that it interferes with ability to function, suicidal thinking, inability to control impulses (including becoming violent without provocation), neglecting self-care such as hygiene, inability to handle stress, and/or inability to maintain relationships.
- 50% rating: Some impairment in ability to function socially and at work with lack of reliability and productivity, due to symptoms such as trouble understanding, memory loss, poor judgment, mood disturbances, trouble with work and social relationships, and/or having one or more panic attacks weekly.
- 30% rating: Some trouble functioning socially and at work, occasionally inefficient with work or unable to perform work tasks, but generally able to care of self and speak normally. Symptoms can include depression, anxiety, chronic difficulty sleeping, mild memory loss, suspiciousness, and panic attacks (can be less than once a week).
- 10% rating: Mild symptoms creating work and social impairment when under significant stress, or mild symptoms managed successfully with continuous medication.
- 0% rating: Diagnosis of mental illness but symptoms are so mild that they don’t require continuous medication, or, don’t interfere with social and work functioning.
Veterans Serving Veterans
Are you receiving the veterans’ disability compensation you are entitled to receive by law? If you need assistance appealing a PTSD VA Disability Rating Decision for mental health conditions or physical disabilities that occurred in service, please contact Berry Law Firm.
Click here to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team to determine if we can help you with your VA appeal.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.