What Is Permanent And Total Disability?
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs uses rating schedules to determine the amount of benefits a veteran qualifies for. Depending on the veteran’s condition, the VA will use the criteria for that condition to rate the veteran based on their ability to work.
If the veteran is awarded a 100% disability rating AND their disability is permanent, they qualify for VA Permanent and Total Disability. The VA considers Permanent and Total Disability as a condition that is rated 100% and has no chance, or close to no chance, of improving.
As mentioned, compensation is based on the veteran’s ability to work. So, if the condition renders the veteran permanent and total disabled, the veteran will receive full compensation from the VA.
How Do You Get Permanent And Total Disability for PTSD?
Filing a claim is the first step to obtaining VA Permanent and Total Disability for PTSD.
The VA rating criteria for PTSD uses the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Service connecting PTSD involves 3 steps to effectively file a VA claim for PTSD. In order to service connect PTSD there must be:
- A present and current diagnosis of PTSD
- An in-service stressor
- A medical nexus connecting the PTSD to the in-service stressor
In order to receive 100% disability rating for PTSD, the veteran must exhibit:
“Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes 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.”
Following a disability rating of 100% for PTSD, the VA will determine if the veteran’s symptoms are likely to improve. The VA may require the veteran to return for future examinations to determine that their disability rating has not changed.
Tips for Supporting Your PTSD Claim
When filing any claim with the VA, it is important to do your research to fully understand the VA’s rating criteria. As mentioned above, the VA uses rating formulas to determine the severity of the condition. The VA has five different ratings for PTSD (10, 30, 50, 70 and 100%), and each is based on the severity of the PTSD.
If you’re aiming for a 100% rating, you’ll want to be detail-oriented through the claims process. It’s important to be punctual with deadlines and explain your condition fully whenever possible. While your rating decision is ultimately in the VA’s hands, here are some tips to support your PTSD claim and boost your chances for Total and Permanent status.
Provide Sufficient Evidence
Strong VA disability claims always include sufficient evidence to support your case for VA Permanent and Total Disability. This is not limited to medical evidence, such as medical records or examinations.
Providing statements from witnesses, as well as personal statements, is an excellent way to strengthen your case. It’s crucial to include your diagnosis of PTSD as evidence when submitting your claim. As mentioned above, a diagnosis is essential in order to file a claim with the VA.
Connecting an in-service stressor with a nexus is often difficult but can be improved with lay statements. This especially true in situations where the veteran served in combat. While in Combat Theatre, situations are often not documented due to lack of resources. From injuries to firefights, these incidents are not always recorded and could be a challenge to connect when making a claim.
Buddy statements are also helpful in corroborating an in-service event. When providing statements, it’s very important to submit as much detail such as dates or locations and to be as clear as possible. Doing so helps the VA understand the severity of your condition.
Follow C&P Exam Best Practices
Once you file a claim, the VA will schedule a compensation and pension (C&P) exam. This can be done through the VA, but sometimes a third party that is contracted to conduct these evaluations. Understand that this exam is normal when determining service connection.
You can prepare for your C&P exam by reviewing the rating criteria for your condition. During the exam, veteran’s should be honest and very specific when speaking to the VA examiner about their disability. Do not wait to be asked specific questions or for a time to add extra comments regarding your issue. It’s better to add extra details whenever possible.
If the claim involves your knee, then the examiner might start the interview by walking you to the exam room, noting your motions along the way. When asked how you are doing, remember this is not a social engagement. Explain to the examiner why you are there and the trouble you are experiencing from your condition.
Remember that your C&P exam is not a time to lay out past or present grievances with the VA. The examiner is there to do one thing, and that is evaluate the condition you are seeking. The best way to prepare is to try and relax, ensuring you bring up all the details you want to mention.
Send a Letter
The VA will often make the determination of permanent and total status on their own. However, in the event you are not found permanent and total, it’s important to write a letter to your VA regional office requesting they find you permanent and total status. Submitting any evidence to support your request is helpful, as this will explain why you feel your condition is permanent and total.
As with writing personal statements, it is crucial to be as specific as possible in the letter to the regional office.
Seek Legal Help
Knowing all the criteria and requirements when submitting a claim or request to the VA can be difficult. As can obtaining VA permanent and total disability for PTSD. Even strong, well-documented claims can take a long time to clear, as the VA claims process involves many steps. And if the VA denies your original claim , or your request for permanent and total status, it may be worth seeking legal help.
A veteran’s disability attorney brings vast experience and knowledge of the criteria for submitting claims to the VA and how to handle the many steps involved.
Veteran’s disability attorneys have vast knowledge of the VA claims and appeals system, so they can support your fight for benefits. Our attorneys at Hill and Ponton specialize in veterans disability and can assist in obtaining VA permanent and total disability for PTSD.
Each and every step in this process is as important as the next. Without proper evidence, your claim will have little chance of being approved. As delays keep building on VA decisions, it is important to submit your claim right the first time. Provide detailed evidence, meet the required criteria for the condition, and follow best C&P examination practices when you attempt to obtain VA permanent and total disability for PTSD.
If you are one of the 31% of veterans whose claim is denied, or you disagree with your rating in your decision letter, you do not have to face the VA alone. Contact the attorneys at Hill & Ponton for a free case evaluation.
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