What Is Suicidal Ideation?

How Do VA Ratings Work for Suicidal Ideation?

According to the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders, which the VA uses to identify mental conditions that qualify for benefits, suicidal ideation may entitle you to up to a 70% disability rating overall. Suicidal ideation may also be identified as near-continuous panic or depression that directly affects how you can function in your day-to-day life.

In addition to being a distinct mental condition recognized by the VA, the VA may also use suicidal ideation as a rating criterion for other mental disorders. This is because suicidal ideation can often appear as a symptom of anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders, including but not limited to schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and more.

Note that the VA requires extensive evidence when making a rating decision like this. Because suicidal ideation can lead to such a high disability rating, VA offices must have documented evidence of the severity and frequency of your mental health condition, as well as ancillary evidence from friends, family members, and others to show clear-cut presence of suicidal ideation.

Whether you have suicidal ideation or suicidal ideation is a symptom of a greater mood disorder will determine your total VA disability rating.

What Ratings Are Typical for Suicidal Ideation?

Alongside other mental disorders or mental health conditions, suicidal ideation may be enough to qualify you for a disability rating of 70% immediately. Suicidal ideation and other mental health disorders are extremely serious, especially when combined with other service-connected injuries, illnesses, or disabilities.

Higher ratings are important for veterans who need as much financial assistance as possible. There is a vast difference between VA disability compensation based on ratings.

  • 10% – $144.14
  • 20% – $284.93
  • 30% – $441.35
  • 40% -$635.77
  • 50% – $905.04
  • 60% – $1146.39
  • 70% – $1444.71
  • 80% – $1679.35
  • 90% – $1887.18
  • 100% – $3146.42

Furthermore, you may be entitled to additional compensation if you have one or more dependence, including a spouse or one or more children. 

How to Pursue VA Assistance for Suicidal Ideation

Pursuing a suicidal ideation disability claim can be difficult for many veterans. You should consider the following advice when going through the claims process:

  • Always treat depression like a real and dangerous mental condition. Like other mental disorders, depression can and should be identified and treated appropriately
  • Keep a regular diary of your symptoms, thoughts, and mood swings. Not only can this be helpful for your mental health, but it will also be necessary evidence for your VA benefits claim
  • Furthermore, consider asking friends or family members (or anyone who is near you frequently) to watch you and keep a list of noticeable symptoms, alongside the frequency of those symptoms
  • Discuss any noticed or recorded symptoms with your doctor. Bring friends and family members along, as they may be able to provide insight into the situation and help your doctor determine if you are experiencing suicidal ideation
  • If you suffer from chronic pain, you may suffer from depression as a side effect. Service-connected physical conditions may result in depression and may therefore qualify for secondary service-connected benefits
  • Similarly, it is common for veterans with PTSD to suffer from depression, so you may have suicidal ideation as a secondary effect of your primary condition
  • Always remember that it’s never too late to ask for help. If you’re in crisis, don’t hesitate to contact the Veterans Crisis Line, which is available for phone and web communication

Above all else, consider contacting a VA disability lawyer as soon as possible. A VA disability lawyer can help you craft the most effective claim for the benefits you’re entitled to for one or more conditions, as well as help you through the appeals process if necessary.

What is Necessary for a VA Claim for Suicidal Ideation?

The VA has a duty to its members to help them acquire the evidence necessary for a successful benefits claim. But it also has a strict standard of acceptable evidence.

In total, you’ll need the following evidence for a successful VA claim for suicidal ideation:

  • You must have an official mental health diagnosis from a licensed professional, such as a doctor or a therapist. The diagnosis must be relatively recent and it must include an explanation of the origin or causes of your mental health condition. For example, your diagnosis must reinforce the claim that your suicidal ideation is a direct result of your service in the military
  • You must have experienced a troubling or traumatic event during your military service OR your mental health symptoms must have begun during your service. This is one of the reasons why keeping regular journal entries or collecting other evidence is vital. It can be difficult, in some cases, to prove that you suffered through a traumatic event during your service without adequate historical evidence that you perceived the event as traumatic at the time it took place
  • You must, lastly, be able to prove a medical nexus between the traumatic event and your mental health diagnosis. In other words, the traumatic event has to be the primary catalyst for your suicidal ideation for you to qualify for benefits

As you can imagine, it can be difficult to prove all of this without the assistance of legal experts who know exactly what to look for and how to present evidence to the VA office. Fortunately, we can assist you in compiling a convincing and truthful claim so you can get the VA benefits you deserve.

 

Sources:

https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/4.130

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/