Anxiety in American veterans is a real and pressing issue. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, mental health conditions like anxiety are among the most commonly claimed service-connected conditions in veterans.
In addition, roughly 12 percent of veterans who served in the Gulf War have been diagnosed with mental health conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and more.
In truth, that number is likely higher but many veterans choose to self-medicate and never tackle their mental problems head-on.
VA Diagnostic Codes for Anxiety
The VA’s diagnostic codes for anxiety disorders, as well as other related disorders, are as follows:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (9400)
- Phobias and social anxiety disorder(9403)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (9404)
- Other specified anxiety disorder (9410)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder(9411)
- Panic disorder and/or agoraphobia (9412)
What Rating Does VA Give for Anxiety?
The VA rating schedule for Anxiety ranges from:
- 0 percent (no compensation)
- 10 percent
- 30 percent
- 50 percent
- 70 percent
- 100 percent (Totally Disabled)
Many say 30% is the most common anxiety VA rating, but from our practice’s experience, we’ve seen many veterans stuck at 50% and 70% ratings for anxiety.
The VA Rating Criteria for Anxiety
0% VA Rating: No Compensation
Veteran is diagnosed, but does not show enough symptoms to impair work or social situations, or require medication.
10% VA Rating
Veteran has mild symptoms that impair work or social situations in periods of high stress. Symptoms are managed by continuous medication.
30% VA Rating
Veteran is regularly functioning with occasional decreases in work performance due to symptoms from diagnosed disorder. At times, they may be unable to do certain tasks due to certain symptoms. These symptoms could include:
- Depressed mood
- Weekly or less frequent panic attacks
- Trouble sleeping
- Mild memory loss
50% VA Rating
Veteran has regular impairment of work and social situations due to symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Flattened effect (not being able to show emotions)
- “Talking in circles”
- Panic attacks more than once a week
- Trouble understanding complex commands
- Poor short and long term memory
- Impaired judgement
- Trouble with abstract thinking
- Disturbances in motivation and mood
- Trouble making and maintaining relationships
70% VA Rating: you may be qualified to receive individual unemployability benefits
Impairment in most, if not all, of the following areas:
- Family Relations
Symptoms may include:
- Suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide)
- Obsessive rituals interfering with daily activities
- Illogical, obscure, or irrelevant speech
- Continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function on ones own
- Impaired impulse control
- Spatial disorientation (getting lost/disoriented)
- Neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
- Difficulty adapting to stressful circumstances
- Inability to make or keep up with professional and personal relationships
100% VA Rating: you are qualified to receive individual unemployability benefits
This is the highest possible rating and means that the veteran is Totally Disabled.
A veteran with this rating must be totally impaired due to symptoms, such as:
- Overall impairment in thought processes or communication
- Persistent delusions or hallucinations
- Inappropriate behavior
- Persistent danger of hurting self or others
- Recurrent inability to perform activities of daily living
- Disorientation to time or place
- Memory loss to the degree of forgetting names, occupation
How to Get 100% VA Rating for Anxiety
To reach a 100 percent VA rating for anxiety, a veteran must have extremely severe symptoms and prove an inability to work.
These symptoms may include:
- delusions and hallucinations
- inappropriate behavior in public
- danger of hurting oneself or others
- inability to perform activities of daily living
- memory loss
Can you get benefits for both anxiety and depression?
The simple answer: No, you cannot get VA benefits for both anxiety and depression at the same time.
It is important to note that all mental health conditions are evaluated using the same VA rating criteria for service connection compensation. So, the VA rates anxiety in the same way it rates depression or PTSD or OCD.
This means that a veteran can only be rated for one specific mental condition to avoid the VA’s rule against pyramiding; in simple terms, you cannot double dip benefits for several mental health conditions.
In order to prove service connection for your anxiety, you will need to show three important things to successfully prove your VA Disability claim.
- A current diagnosis of anxiety from a healthcare provider,
- An in-service event or incident that caused your anxiety disorder,
- And a medical nexus statement (evidence linking your anxiety to service) from a medical professional that connects your condition to the in-service incident.
This medical evidence will be imperative in your veterans disability claim no matter if it’s for anxiety or for back pain or any other medical issue.
There is also the possibility of a different service-connected condition causing you anxiety. Let’s talk about that below.
Secondary Service Connection for Anxiety
As with other mental disorders, it’s also possible to receive secondary service connection for anxiety. This is the case when a veteran has another condition that causes anxiety.
For example, a veteran with back pain may have trouble completing tasks in a work-like setting or at home.
Perhaps the veteran’s service-connected back pain forces you to take days off from work or have to leave work early from the excruciating pain. This inability to complete tasks then leads to anxiety because your work performance is deteriorating. This is a situation where anxiety can be service-connected as a secondary condition caused by your primary back pain condition.
However, the burden of proof is still on the veteran here. It’s important for the veteran to obtain medical records that show the connection between their back pain and anxiety.
VA DBQ for Anxiety and Depression
DBQ is short for Disability Benefits Questionnaire.
Veterans can use the mental health DBQs to submit medical evidence from their health care provider to support their anxiety VA claims for disability benefits.
The DBQs are intended to be completed by the Veteran’s health care provider, and all clinician information blocks at the bottom of the DBQs must be completed and the form signed and dated by the clinician completing the DBQ.
Common Types of Anxiety Disorders in Veterans
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder / Panic Attacks
- Social Anxiety
Below, let’s cover each of these anxiety disorders a little more in-depth.
General Anxiety Disorder VA Benefits
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD, sometimes known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is most common among veterans who were involved in a conflict.
This anxiety disorder is characterized by:
- excessive, persistent worrying that is hard to control
- psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety
Together, these can cause significant personal distress and impairment to every day functions.
Some symptoms of GAD include:
- Poor sleep and sleep impairment
- Being irritable
- Difficulty concentrating, and/or mildmemory loss.
- Physical pain in the neck, shoulders, and back
Such symptoms of general anxiety disorder can often make it difficult to complete tasks on a daily basis.
Disruption in thought processes, as well as physical symptoms, cause domestic and occupational tasks to be more challenging.
Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder VA Benefits
Panic attacks are intense periods of fear or feelings of doom that develop over a short time.
Panic attacks are associated with:
- sudden overwhelming fear
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- a feeling of being detached from the world
Panic disorder involves recurrent panic attacks along with the constant fear of having continuous panic attacks in the future and avoiding situations in which a panic attack may arise.
Veterans with Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder can also be referred to as “social phobia”.
Veterans who experience frequent and unending fear of social situations or situations where they are expected to perform in some way may be suffering from a social anxiety disorder. Veterans may also experience fear in appearing anxious or acting in a way that will produce embarrassment or humiliation.
These social impairment symptoms can considerably interfere with a veteran’s work life, relationships, and normal day to day living.
Help for veterans with Phobias
A specific phobia typically involves a strong fear and avoidance of one particular type of object or situation.
Unlike panic disorders and social anxiety, there is no fear of a panic attack occurring or fear of humiliation or embarrassment, rather a fear of direct exposure to the phobia causes a panic-like reaction. With a specific phobia, the fear is always out of proportion to the real danger posed by the object or situation.
Typically, fear and avoidance are strong enough to interfere with a veteran’s normal routine activities, work efficiency, and social relationships.
Agoraphobia, common amongst veterans, is the extreme or irrational fear of entering an open crowded place, of leaving one’s own home, or of being in a place from which escape is difficult.
This can also make things difficult for the veteran and his family relations. There are also issues such as adjustment disorders that merit its own discussion.
Getting Help on VA Disability Claims for Service Connection
If you are a veteran or know of a veteran who is suffering from an anxiety disorder, the good news is that there are help and resources available to receive disability compensation. Click thislinkfor a list of resources provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If your VA claim has been denied for Anxiety or other mental conditions, do not hesitate to contact us!
Denied VA Benefits? Get a Free Consultation
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What is the average VA disability rating for anxiety? ›
Many say 30% is the most common anxiety VA rating, but from our practice's experience, we've seen many veterans stuck at 50% and 70% ratings for anxiety.How do I prove anxiety for VA disability? ›
Meeting VA's Requirements for Anxiety Claims
Veterans can prove entitlement to service connection by pointing to service records from around the time they first noticed psychological symptoms while on active duty. Lay statements, counseling records, or records of job changes may also be useful.
A 100 percent rating is warranted for generalized anxiety disorder with depression when there is 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 ...How hard is it to get VA disability for anxiety and depression? ›
100% VA Rating for Depression
This is difficult to obtain because the symptoms need to be so severe that they totally impair the veteran's life, to the point they are unable to function. The jump from 70 to 100 percent is significant. There is a substantial decline in cognitive and emotional function.
It can be difficult to bring a claim for disability benefits on the basis of anxiety or depression because the evidence used to support the diagnosis is based on subjective criteria. Objective measures, like an X-ray or a blood test, cannot tell your doctor what you are thinking or feeling in your day-to-day life.What is 70 percent VA disability mental health? ›
70% rating: Unable to function in most social and work areas with symptoms such as obsessive behaviors, illogical speech, depression and panic so persistent that it interferes with ability to function, suicidal thinking, inability to control impulses (including becoming violent without provocation), neglecting self- ...Is anxiety a permanent VA disability? ›
Can Anxiety be Permanent and Total (P&T)? Some veterans may receive a permanent and total rating, also known as 100% P&T. If your Anxiety Disorder is not expected to improve, you may obtain the status of permanent and total disability.How hard is it to go from 70 to 100 VA disability? ›
According to this table, if you have a disability rated at 70%, you would need a subsequent disability rating between 85 and 90% to achieve a total rating of 100%. You may consider filing a claim for an additional service-connected condition that could combine to equal a higher rating.What is a 90% VA disability rating? ›
90% VA Disability and Extraschedular TDIU
TDIU is awarded when veterans are unable to secure or follow substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected condition(s). In order to qualify for TDIU, a veteran must have: One service-connected condition rated at 60 percent or higher; or.
The #1 Easiest VA Disability to Claim: Tinnitus
93.6% of Veterans were rated at 10%. Tinnitus can only have one VA rating. It is either 10% or nothing. There is no lower VA rating and there is no higher VA rating.
What is the 55 rule for VA disability? ›
Based on the results of the exam, your disability rating may increase, decrease, or stay the same. Once you turn 55, you are typically "protected" and will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition has not changed unless there is reason to suspect fraud. This is sometimes called the 55-year rule.How much is 40 percent VA disability? ›
40 percent disability rating: $731.86 per month. 50 percent disability rating: $1,041.82 per month. 60 percent disability rating: $1,319.65 per month. 70 percent disability rating: $1,663.06 per month.What is the most approved disability? ›
What Is the Most Approved Disability? Arthritis and other musculoskeletal system disabilities make up the most commonly approved conditions for social security disability benefits. This is because arthritis is so common. In the United States, over 58 million people suffer from arthritis.Why is anxiety not a disability? ›
However, an anxious personality or general anxiety while working cannot automatically be considered a mental impairment. To rise to the level of a disability, the employee's anxiety must substantially limit one or more major life activities of the individual.What is a proof of disability letter from doctor? ›
A doctor disability letter is a statement from your primary care doctor that can be used as a source of medical evidence that can help provide support for your disability benefits application.What is 80% of VA disability? ›
Veterans that obtain an 80 percent VA Disability rating receive $1,933.15 a month from the Veterans Administration. Eligible disabled veterans may also be able to receive extra monthly compensation for dependent children and parents.What does 80% VA disability get you? ›
How Much Compensation Do Veterans Rated at 80 Percent Receive? As of December 1, 2022, veterans who are rated at 80 percent will receive $1,933.15 per month. However, this amount typically changes each year to reflect changes in the cost-of-living.What is the average VA rating for depression? ›
Depression VA Ratings depend on the severity of a veteran's mental health symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for Depression. The average VA Rating for Depression is currently at 70%, but veterans can be rated from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%.How much is VA disability for PTSD and anxiety? ›
Understanding Your VA Disability Rating for PTSD
VA disability ratings range from 0% to 100%, but for PTSD claims, the standard ratings are 0%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%. These ratings are meant to capture the severity of your condition, and how much it affects your ability to work and take care of everyday life stuff.
Although the terms “Permanent” and “Total” are often discussed together, it is possible to have a permanent disability that is not totally disabling. For example, a veteran may have a permanent disability (such as PTSD) at 70%. Her PTSD is not “Total” because it is less than 100%.
What is 90% VA disability rate? ›
What is the compensation for a 90% VA Disability Rating? The 2023 compensation rate (an 8.7% increase) for a 90% VA disability rating is $2,172.39. For more information about compensation for dependents, our 2023 VA Disability Rates and Compensation article covers all the updates for the year.