VA Disability for PTSD and the Rating You Deserve
If you read our last article, you learned the basics of VA disability for PTSD and the ratings that can be assigned. Many of the veterans we talk to have either been denied service connection for PTSD or feel they should have a higher. If you have been denied, take a look at one of our earlier articles about what you must prove to win VA disability for PTSD. If you are concerned about your rating, here we will discuss a couple of things to keep in mind as you go through your claim to make sure you get the most benefits you deserve on account of your VA disability for PTSD.
What the Law Requires for the Higher of Two Possible Disability Ratings
Contrary to what the VA may have said in your Ratings Decision, you do not have to exhibit ALL of the PTSD symptoms of a particular rating level to be assigned that rating. For certain disabilities, you must have each and every symptom at the specified severity or frequency.
That is not the case with PTSD. The PTSD rating criteria are a guide for VA raters when assessing your particular disability. Because PTSD is a complex and unique disorder, your PTSD may not neatly fit into one level of the ratings tables.
Luckily, VA law realizes that many veterans find themselves in that situation. Because of this, when deciding between two rating levels, the VA should rate you at the one that most closely describes your level of disability. We say “should” because we have seen decision in the past where the VA did not grant the higher rating level because the veteran did not meet each and every part of the higher rating criteria.
So, how does this work in reality? Let’s say you have applied for VA disability for PTSD and have some symptoms that fall in the 50% rating level and some other symptoms in the 70% rating level. Although your symptoms may be somewhere in between these two levels, it is not possible to “split the difference”. There is no 60% rating for PTSD, so the VA will have to decide which one is appropriate.
How to Maximize Your Compensation for VA Disability for PTSD
If you have been assigned the lower of two possible ratings for VA disability for PTSD, you will want to look closely to see which level better describes your particular situation. You will need to consider the severity of your symptoms – how greatly they impair your social and work relationships.
You will also need to look at how frequently you have those impairments. The more frequently you experience problems related to your PTSD, the more difficult it is to maintain personal relationships and employment.
You will need to make sure that your doctor understands the extent of your disability. Your doctor may do this either through psychological testing or the information you provide, It is probably best to provide your doctor with a copy of the ratings criteria so they can address your symptoms in a way that will allow you to receive the highest and most appropriate rating.
If you have received a Ratings Decision and don’t feel that you received as high of a rating as you should have, you probably should find a veterans disability attorney to review your claim. Perkins Studdard’s VA-accredited attorneys can review your medical information and Ratings Decision to see if you may be entitled to more compensation on account of your VA disability for PTSD.
We can also help you appeal any decision that does not place you at the ratings level that most closely describes your situation and symptoms. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation. You can set one up either by calling us at (770) 214-8885 or by completing and submitting the consultation request form on this page.
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.
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