Everything you need to know about filing a claim for mental illnesses. 

Hi this is Allen Gumpenberger back with another blog that will hopefully educate, as well as enlighten you on VA Disability. People usually think that the only negative effects that the military might leave on you are physical, and that is not true. Serving in the military isn’t an easy thing at all and it makes a huge impact on your mind as well as on your body. Watching fellow service members get injured, watching innocent people die, and just witnessing the cruelty of our world could and will leave a mark on your mental faculties or physically.
A significant amount of veterans that we come across tend to ignore their mental health and don’t even know that you can file a disability claim for the mental illnesses that were caused or worsened by your time in the military. This can sometimes get you as many benefits from such a claim as the benefits that you get for physical disabilities.

What are the mental illnesses & disorders that qualify you for a benefit? 

  • psychotic disorders 
  • anxiety disorders 
  • cognitive disorders 
  • adjustment disorders 
  • Amnesia 
  • mood disorders
  • eating disorders

Establishing service connection 

Establishing a services connection is the most important step in your claim process. It gives a why and how to your disability. Just like physical injuries, establishing a connection between your mental condition and your time in the military is crucial for a successful claim. To do so you need to get a professional diagnosis from a qualified medical professional for the conditions you’re applying for, then you need to identify an event or an incident that took place while in service that caused your condition or contributed to it, and then explain the impact that this incident or event made on you and your condition. You can do so by providing medical evidence like a nexus letter that fills any gaps that might be there as to why this incident affected you.

How does the VA rate disabilities related to mental disorders?

It is known that VA usually rates disabilities with percentages that have 10% increments based on the severity of the symptoms that you’re experiencing. However, with disabilities caused by mental disorders, it is a bit different as the VA gives ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 70%, or 100% for psychiatric conditions. You get a 0% rating when you have a diagnosed mental disorder but the symptoms can be successfully controlled with medication, and you get a 100% rating when your mental condition significantly affects your ability to function without supervision or support and work is not possible.
Sometimes veterans get confused and assume that having more than one mental disorder is going to increase their ratings and the benefits that they get, This could work but not because of the reasons that you have in mind. When giving a disability rating the VA considers the symptoms of your mental disorders, not the mental disorders themselves as a factor, The VA evaluates the severity of the symptoms that you have and the impact that these symptoms have on your day-to-day life. So what I mean is that if you have two mental disorders with symptoms that are severe and significantly hinder your ability to function as an individual then you’ll end up getting disability ratings that are higher than someone with four mental disorders that are experiencing mild symptoms.

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