How 70% PTSD Can Get You To 100%

VA has several different ratings for service connected PTSD.  Many veterans receive a 70% rating because their PTSD causes substantial problems for them, occupationally and/or socially.

A number of veterans at the 70% rating level for PTSD do not realize that they are likely overlooking additional benefits.  If you are at the 70% level or  are applying to get that, you really need to think about a possible 100% rating through TDIU or individual unemployability.

Unemployment questions What is VA total disability individual unemployability (TDIU)?

You may have a single service connected disability with a single disability rating.  Or, you may have more than one service connected disability and a combined rating.

In most cases, VA pays you benefits based on that single disability rating or combined disability rating.  But, TDIU allows you to draw benefits for a 100 percent rating even when VA math does not result in a 100 percent combined rating.

The idea behind total disability individual unemployability (TDIU) is that the limitations from your service connected condition or conditions prevent you from maintaining a job.  If they do that, then you are essentially 100 percent occupationally disabled.  As a result, VA pays you at a 100 percent rating.

One of the most critical factors in TDIU claims is how your service connected disabilities affect your ability to work.  Some service connected disabilities affect your ability to physically perform the job.  PTSD often affects someone’s ability to mentally perform the job or to interact with others.

What does it take to get a 70% PTSD rating?

VA uses diagnostic codes to assign ratings to all different conditions.  It will help to discuss the diagnostic code used to rate PTSD so that you can understand what a 70 percent rating means.

For a 70 percent rating, the PTSD diagnostic code states:

  • Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

The focus of the diagnostic code is on occupational and social impairment.  This means VA focuses on how your PTSD affects your ability to work and your ability to maintain relationships.

There are many different rating levels for PTSD.  If you would like some more specific information on that, I would suggest reading this article which discusses all of those ratings and how VA rates PTSD.

Why could a 70% PTSD rating qualify me for TDIU?

I mentioned the 70 percent rating criteria for PTSD in above.  Walking through those criteria should help to clarify why a 70% PTSD rating will often qualify a veteran for a 100% TDIU rating.

If you are rated at the 70% level, many of the factors that go into that rating focus on your performance within the workplace and your inability to perform satisfactorily at your place of employment.

With deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgement, thinking, or mood

This is the general statement that VA makes at the beginning of the 70% PTSD level.  Again, VA focuses on impairment in work and relationships.

They also mention judgment, thinking and mood.  All three of these factors affect your ability to get or maintain a job.  You need good judgment and thinking ability to work.  Even if your PTSD does not affect your judgment or your thinking, the effect that it has on your mood often makes it difficult to work with others.

VA then lists out a number of different symptoms associated with PTSD that could qualify you at the 70% level.  I will discuss a few of these symptoms below:

Obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities

If your PTSD causes you to take longer to do routine activities, this could certainly affect your ability to maintain employment.  Many employers require routine tasks to be done on a certain schedule.

Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively

Many people report panic or depression as a symptom of PTSD.  At the 70% level, VA talks about panic or depression that is near continuous and affects the ability to function.

Many jobs in the workplace require you to function independently and they require you to be effective and appropriate in your interactions with others. If your PTSD prevents you from functioning independently or effectively, it probably also affects your ability to work at these jobs.

Angry man with PTSD at work crumpling paper Impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence)

Impulse control affects many veterans who suffer from PTSD.  VA considers impulse control as a factor at the 70 percent level.  With this factor, VA focuses on irritability and periods of violence.

Almost all employers expect a certain standard of behavior in the workplace.   Most jobs require you to work with other people.  When your PTSD causes you to lose control of your emotions, that will often prevent you from working.

Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene

Sometimes, PTSD affects a veteran’s personal appearance and hygiene.  Most employers expect you to come to the workplace looking professional, clean and presentable.

Many veterans who suffer from PTSD simply do not have the energy or the attention to some of those things that many of us do every day in terms of our personal hygiene and appearance.  But, employers will judge you based on your hygiene and appearance.

Customers judge you as well.  If your PTSD causes you to have difficulties maintaining your appearance and hygiene, it will probably impact your ability to function in the workplace.

Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work and worklike settings)

What job is not stressful at some point? If your PTSD prevents you from adapting or responding to stress from work, you might qualify for a 70% PTSD rating.

But, that inability to respond to stress at work will often prevent you from working entirely.  If so, you could qualify for TDIU because of your inability to maintain employment.

Stressed out African American man with PTSD at work in office Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships

In the workplace, you have to maintain effective relationships with employers, supervisors, coworkers, customers, and vendors.  Your PTSD may prevent you from establishing and maintaining those relationships effectively.  If so, this obviously affects your ability to work because most jobs require you to interact with other people.

How do I get to the 100% VA rating with my 70% rating for PTSD?

As you can see, a 70% rating will often make it difficult if not nearly impossible for you to find employment.  If you find yourself in this situation, you need to strongly consider filing for TDIU to try for a 100% rating.

If you filed for TDIU with a 70% PTSD rating and were denied, you should strongly consider filing an appeal.  TDIU is one of the most complicated parts of veterans disability benefits law.  So, you should consider talking to an attorney about your claim if you are filing or considering a TDIU appeal.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.
js_loader

Related Posts

Contrast:

Font Size: