Psychiatric Impairments in Veterans Disability Law
Psychiatric impairments include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At Friedman Disability, our practice focuses on helping veterans whose psychiatric impairments, namely PTSD from combat or military sexual trauma, prevents them from working full-time obtain the disability compensation that they deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In these cases, if our client’s psychiatric impairments are severe enough to preclude full-time work but still do not meet the requirements for a 100-percent service-connected rating, we typically will fight to obtain a Total Disability Rating based upon Individual Unemployability (TDIU).
To learn more about our past successes representing veterans with mental disorders, please read our blog posts: a $185,000 victory for PTSD; a $235,000 victory for Major Depressive Disorder; and a $150,000 victory for Bipolar Disorder (all amounts represent back due benefits).
How are Psychiatric Impairments Rated by the VA?
The VA assigns graduated ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100% for psychiatric impairments. While a 0%-rating means that though a veteran has service-connected PTSD there is little or no resulting impairment, a 100-percent rating means that the veteran’s ability work has been totally impaired.
38 C.F.R. § 4.130, DC 9411 outlines the VA’s general rating guidelines for psychiatric impairments. They are as follows:
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought process or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name …………………..100%
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 ……………………………….. 70%
Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining Effective work and social relationships ………………..50%
Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events) ………………………. 30%
Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication ……………… 10%
A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication ………………………… 0%
If you or a loved one served in the military and are now suffering from a psychiatric impairment or a combination of mental health disorders, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation. Call us at 800-742-5035 or use the contact form on this site.