VA Automatic Rating for PTSD – Fact or Fiction?

There is an automatic 50% rating for PTSD – but it’s not for everyone, and it’s not permanent. Policy 38 CFR 4.129 states:

“When a mental disorder that develops in service as a result of a highly stressful event is severe enough to bring about the veteran’s release from active military service, the rating agency shall assign an evaluation of not less than 50% and schedule an examination within the six-month period following the veteran’s discharge to determine whether a change in evaluation is warranted” (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1155).

Simply stated, if you are discharged from duty, specifically because PTSD from a known service-related event has made it difficult for you to function at full capacity, you will automatically receive at least a 50% rating for up to 6 months, without further evidence required. However, before the 6 months expire, the veteran will need to be evaluated by a medical professional who is qualified to make a diagnosis of PTSD and rate the level of social and occupational impairment. Though social impairment is a factor, the main criterion for the VA is occupational impairment: how well can you work and support yourself.

The review of your condition will evaluate the duration, frequency, and severity of the symptoms; the presence of and length of remission periods; how much the veteran is able to adjust to civilian life during remission; and the extent of social and occupational impairment. Like other mental disorders, PTSD ratings can be 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100. 

A 100% rating refers to total occupational and social impairment (ex. gross impairment of thought processes, disorientation, memory loss); a 50% rating refers to occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to symptoms (ex. panic attacks, difficulty comprehending complex commands, disturbances of motivation and mood); while a 10% rating refers to occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and the ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress. A 10% rating would also be given if continual medication can control symptoms.

PTSD can strike any time after being discharged – or, rather, a veteran can become aware of PTSD at any time. Many veterans struggle for years with a variety of symptoms that they don’t realize are caused by post-traumatic stress from their years of service. As veterans ourselves, we know soldiers are trained to “be tough” and ignore the pain. But if you haven’t been “quite right” since your service, if you can’t function as well, have relationship problems, headaches, nightmares, panic attacks, or any of the many other symptoms associated with PTSD, talk to us at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, Veteran’s Attorney. 

The challenge with getting a PTSD rating is determining the stressors during your service that can be connected to your symptoms. As with any other ratable disability, you must have a positive diagnosis from a qualified medical professional and be able to connect the diagnosis to your military service. We have many years of experience helping veterans review their military service and pinpoint events or circumstances that could have triggered the mental distress, even years later. But don’t wait any longer. Call us today at (877) 425-4838 from anywhere in the world. If you are a veteran of the U.S. military and you have experienced illness, injury, or mental distress from your time of service, we will help you get the compensation you deserve for your service to our nation.

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