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Navigating the VA Disability System with PTSD: A Veteran’s Guide

Young disabled man in a wheelchair fishing
Young disabled man in a wheelchair fishing

Post-traumatic stress disorder, often referred to as PTSD, is a condition in which a person has difficulty recovering from a traumatic incident or events. The symptoms of PTSD can be both mental and physical and may include insomnia, anxiety and/or depression, flashbacks, hallucinations, and panic attacks. These symptoms can impair relationships, hinder your ability to socialize, and interfere with employment. 

Serving in the military is one of the highest risk careers for PTSD and among Veterans, the condition affects 7 in every 100 people. Unfortunately, there remains a stigma around mental health in the military, with recent data showing that less than 50% of Veterans with a mental health condition do not get the services they need.

Accessibility to these important resources is sometimes a barrier, and a disability rating can make a difference in the level of benefits you may be qualified to receive. 

PTSD Disability Ratings 

A VA PTSD disability rating is rated at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. Let’s break down what each of these ratings mean and the compensation you may be qualified for:

      • 10% PTSD Disability Rating: The symptoms of PTSD are sporadic, and the use of medication may control or even eliminate them.
      • 30% PTSD Disability Rating: This is the most common PTSD rating. While the symptoms are more severe and may interfere with your ability to interact socially or work, you can perform these functions at a satisfactory level. 
      • 50% PTSD Disability Rating: Ratings of 50% or higher start to focus on specific symptoms and not just the overall effects of those symptoms. For example, you may receive a 50% disability rating if your symptoms include lethargy, speech impairment, regular panic attacks, or difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. 
      • 70% PTSD Disability Rating: This rating is given if you are unable to hold down a job. Symptoms associated with a 70% rating include suicidal thoughts, constant panic attacks, irrational anger and emotional outbursts, or intense obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s important to note that if you have a 70% disability rating and are unable to work, you may be able to claim a Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability. This still keeps you at a 70% disability rating, but you are paid at the 100% level due to the inability to work. 
      • 100% PTSD Disability Rating: If you are unable to leave your house or need around-the-clock supervision, you may be qualified for a 100% PTSD disability rating. These symptoms can include hallucinations, disorientation of your surroundings, being a danger to yourself and/or others, and near-complete memory loss. 

How to Increase Your Disability Rating 

If you feel that you received a low PTSD disability rating, it’s important to have documentation to prove how your condition has impacted various areas of your health and life, especially your ability to be employed. This documentation should also include statements from family and friends who can attest to the impact of your PTSD .

REE Medical is also able to help you navigate the PTSD disability rating process. Reach out to our team to see if REE Medical’s services are a fit for your case.

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