The VA rates all mental health conditions, with the exception of PTSD, under the General Rating Formula for mental health, meaning the rating criteria for each mental health condition is the same. PTSD is the only exception wherein VA will require evidence of PTSD stressors.
The intensity of your symptoms subsequently determines your VA rating for service connected compensation. The VA rating scale ranges from 0 to 100%, with ratings assigned every 10 increments. (0%, 10%, 20%, etc.) But not every condition gets a rating every 10%. Some will skip around like mental health. Let’s talk about it below.
For example, a veteran’s PTSD can be diagnosed at different levels of severity, such as 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100 percent. A zero percent rating means that PTSD has been diagnosed but the symptoms do not pose any significant issues, or theoretically no issues at all but that in itself is a paradox.
In order to be diagnosed with PTSD there clearly has to be an issue so how could VA possibly rate it at 0%? Yeah, we don’t get it either but at any rate, a 100% PTSD rating is for “total occupational and social impairment” due to specified symptoms we’ll cover below.
What do you say to get 70% PTSD?
If you are a disabled veteran who is already service-connected for PTSD, then you’ll want to focus on showing how your symptoms have worsened in severity. The 70% rating criteria for PTSD include occupational and social impairment and deficiencies.
Veterans with a 70% PTSD rating show the following symptoms: problems in most areas of their life, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood. This is often due to symptoms like suicidal thoughts, obsessional rituals that interfere with regular activities, and speech that is sometimes illogical, obscure, or irrelevant.
If you’re experiencing near-constant panic or depression, difficulty functioning independently, impulsivity and irritability (especially periods of violence), spatial disorientation, neglecting your appearance and hygiene, or struggling to adapt to stressful situations at work or in other settings – it may be time to seek help.
How to prove your PTSD VA claim
It’s helpful if you have records dating back to when your PTSD symptoms first began, but even recent records can be used to show the severity of your condition.
In addition to medical records, you can also submit statements from family, friends, and coworkers attesting to how your PTSD has changed your life. These statements can help provide a more complete picture of how your symptoms have impacted you.
What can I say to get a higher PTSD rating?
If you’re looking to get a higher PTSD rating, you’ll need to provide more evidence of how your condition has impacted your life, including severity of symptoms and frequency of PTSD symptoms.
In addition to medical records and statements from loved ones, the VA will also consider things like how well you’re able to work, whether you need assistance with activities of daily living, and whether you have any other mental or physical health conditions that are also impacted by your PTSD.
Examples of PTSD symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Lack of self-care, or proper hygiene
- Grossly inappropriate behavior
- Chronic sleep issues
- Issues with executive function
- Suicidal thoughts, or suicidal ideation
- High impulsivity
- and more
How do I go from 50% to 70% PTSD rating?
Sometimes, the VA likes to lowball veterans and assign a 50% rating for PTSD even though the vet meets the criteria for a 70% rating. We see this far too often. So, if you’re currently rated at 50% for PTSD and are looking to increase your rating to 70%, you’ll need to provide great evidence of how your condition has worsened since you were last rated.
A 50% rating for PTSD refers to “moderately severe symptoms” of PTSD. Anecdotally, we believe 50% is the most common rating VA assigns for PTSD with emphasis on relationship issues and panic attacks. In order to get 70%, there has to be evidence of SIGNIFICANT issues with PTSD symptoms affecting most areas of your life.
What is the difference between 50% and 70% PTSD ratings?
Again, the difference in PTSD symptoms between 50% PTSD and 70% PTSD is significant, so you’ll need to show that your PTSD symptoms have significantly worsened in most aspects of your daily living in order to get an increased rating.
Like before, this can be done with medical records, statements from loved ones, or other documentation that shows how you meet the criteria for 70% PTSD, and not just 50%. Only in this case, it’s going to be focused on those heavier PTSD symptoms like superstitious or safety rituals, suicidal thoughts, frequent panic attacks and depressive episodes, extreme anger outbursts, trouble with the law, and more.
Do buddy statements help PTSD claims?
Do not underestimate statements from your loved ones when filing your PTSD claim or appeal; your family and friends can really speak volumes of PTSD symptoms that you probably don’t notice you are exhibiting.
These can be symptoms like hypervigilance while in public, always sitting with your back to the wall facing the exit door, etc, that sort of thing.
Oftentimes, veterans with PTSD consider these symptoms as normal and necessary functions when you are out in public but in reality, most civilians wouldn’t think twice about a lot of these concerns presented by vets with PTSD.
How do I go from 70% to 100% PTSD rating?
This is where it gets pretty conclusive; the VA essentially wants to see proof that the veteran is totally unable to integrate with society normally, i.e. little to no relationships, cannot work, etc. A 100% PTSD rating is characterized by total occupational and social impairment which can include persistent delusions and hallucinations and even being in persistent danger of self-harm or hurting others. These are just some of the symptoms.
Alternatively, if you are already rated at 70% for PTSD, you may also want to consider VA unemployability, also known as TDIU, which is another way of receiving 100% rating compensation even though your disability isn’t technically rated at 100%. We see this a lot in the case of PTSD and other mental health issues.
A 70% rating for PTSD is serious, even if it doesn’t include TOTAL impairment with hallucinations, delusions, and thoughts of self-harm or hurting others. The other symptoms included in the 70% PTSD criteria already make it very difficult to work and maintain employment and the VA understands which is why TDIU benefits exist.
Has VA Denied Your PTSD Claim?
We at Hill and Ponton have over 30 years of experience with disability claims and appeals and have helped thousands of veterans get the disability compensation they deserve. If your PTSD claim or appeal has been denied, please reach out to us for a free consultation. We’re here to help you get the benefits you deserve!
We are sorry that this post was not as useful for you!
Help us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?