Mental health

Navigating the VA Disability Claims Process for Mental Health Conditions

Many veterans suffer from mental disorders that can make working and supporting their families difficult. They may qualify for disability benefits to ease their financial burden and help them live life with less stress.

To receive a disability rating, veterans must provide comprehensive evidence to prove their symptoms. This includes medical records, lay statements, and expert opinions.

Getting Started

A veteran with a mental illness that interferes with daily life may be eligible for disability compensation. This benefit can help to ease financial strain in the home and provide for dependents who depend on the former servicemember.

To receive a disability rating, you must prove that your mental illness is related to service. This is called establishing a service connection. The VA considers medical records, evidence from family and friends, and statements from your doctor. To establish this connection, you will also undergo a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam at your regional VA office.

Psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. It is common for veterans to have more than one disorder. However, a single disability rating is assigned for each disorder. The ratings are based on how severe your symptoms are. Sometimes, a higher rating can be obtained by submitting more compelling evidence to appeal the original VA decision.

Submitting Your Claim

Your symptoms, restrictions, and functional loss are used to determine your disability rating by the VA. To receive a 100% rating, your symptoms must be severe enough to prevent you from working or socializing consistently. A 90% rating signifies significant functional limitation; a 50% rating is moderate.

Aside from your medical records, you may also submit statements from people close to you who can attest to your condition’s severity and impact on your life. Testimonies from friends and family can shed light on how your psychiatric disability limits you at work and home.

You can raise your VA rating for mental health disability with the help of an experienced attorney by gathering and submitting substantial supporting documentation. This includes definitive proof of service connection, which requires detailed information regarding specific incidents during active duty that caused your mental illness. It also involves demonstrating that your psychiatric disorder has lasted longer than your active-duty military career. For more information, visit

Gathering Evidence

Obtain all relevant medical records and other documentation that support your claim. This includes a diagnosis of your mental health condition from a mental health professional and evidence that demonstrates the link between your condition and military service.

Various forms of secondary evidence are also necessary. These include statements from friends and family members that discuss how your disability impacts your daily life and expert opinions from medical and vocational experts.

Documenting Your Symptoms

Keeping track of your symptoms is essential to support your claim when you have a mental health condition. Regular symptoms can provide evidence of your disorder’s severity and impact on your daily functioning. For instance, if your anxiety or depression causes frequent panic attacks and disrupts your sleep cycle, keeping a journal of these symptoms can be beneficial.

It’s also helpful to gather any medical records related to your symptoms, including test results, medication lists, and doctors’ notes containing observations of your symptoms. Statements from friends or family members can also be beneficial when supporting your claim.

Remember that even if you have a preexisting mental health condition, you may still qualify for disability compensation if you can prove that your military service aggravated or worsened your condition beyond the natural progression of your disease. This is known as being “connected” for a secondary condition. The VA assigns a rating level for each service-connected mental condition based on your symptoms’ severity.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou is a fervent advocate for the seamless fusion of business and technology, he has always been at the forefront of innovation. Graduating from two esteemed European institutions, the University of Siena in Italy and the University of Rennes in France, he mastered the nuances of Communications and Political Science. With a diverse educational background, Kokou consistently offers insights that reflect his deep understanding of the modern digital landscape shaped by both commerce and governance. Those who have the privilege to read his pieces or collaborate with him are invariably inspired by his vision of a world where business meets tech not just at the crossroads of necessity but at the pinnacle of innovation.


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