Female veteran struggling with anxiety and depression

Anxiety and Depression in Veterans and How You Can Receive Compensation

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Thorough documentation and a strong service connection are essential to veterans disability claims for anxiety and depression.


  • Veterans often experience anxiety and depression due to trauma, stress, or serious health issues.
  • Anxiety and depression in veterans are common among veterans, significantly affecting their well-being and increasing the likelihood of self-destructive behavior.
  • The VA recognizes various forms of anxiety and depression as service-connected mental health conditions eligible for disability benefits.
  • To qualify for VA disability benefits, veterans must obtain a formal diagnosis of their mental health condition and demonstrate a service connection. This may include showing how their condition was caused or worsened by military service or linking it to another service-related disability.
  • VetLaw assists veterans who want to appeal VA decisions related to their disability claims for anxiety and depression.

Trauma, injuries, illnesses, and chronic stress are often a part of military service. Many veterans who have developed service-connected anxiety and depression qualify for VA disability benefits.

Unfortunately, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can pose an additional challenge for vets already struggling with the VA’s complex appeals process. VetLaw offers comprehensive legal support to veterans across the country as they pursue VA disability benefits for service-related mental health conditions.

Schedule a free consultation with us by calling (855) 573-1503 or submitting a contact form. Your time to file an appeal is limited, so don’t delay contacting VetLaw. Our VA-accredited team is ready to support you from start to finish.

Exploring the High Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression in Veterans

Unfortunately, military personnel and veterans can be more prone to anxiety and depression given the physical and mental strain they endure, as well as the dangers they are exposed to while serving.

Studies have shown that anxiety rates among veterans were more than twice that of rates among civilians, with nearly a third of veterans reporting symptoms. While there is mixed evidence on depression rates among vets versus civilians, depression is an undeniable issue in the veteran population.

Some of the most common sources of anxiety and depression in veterans include:

  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, such as a combat situation or Military Sexual Trauma
  • Sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury
  • Developing a chronic condition that negatively impacts quality of life
  • Struggling to adjust to civilian life post-discharge
  • Experiencing ongoing stressful conditions

Veterans suffering from anxiety and depression may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol and drug abuse, self-harm, isolation, or attempt suicide. Consequently, they may have difficulty keeping a job, maintaining relationships, and caring for their basic needs.

The pervasiveness of anxiety and depression in veterans also has important implications for veteran suicide rates, with a 2024 Yale research study noting that severe anxiety symptoms in veterans were strongly correlated with suicidal thoughts. 

Types of Anxiety and Depression in Veterans

Just as anxiety and depression can stem from a variety of causes, these mental health conditions can manifest in different ways. The VA recognizes multiple forms of both anxiety and depression in veterans. The major types of anxiety disorders the VA issues disability ratings for include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety

Additionally, the VA provides disability benefits for related conditions, such as Adjustment Disorder. For VA disability depression claims, veterans can seek benefits for one of the following types: 

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder

How to Establish Eligibility for Service-Related Anxiety and Depression 

The VA provides monthly compensation to veterans coping with anxiety and depression, as long as they can demonstrate a connection to their military service. Before the VA issues the disability rating that determines the level of benefits you receive, it has to verify that you meet the qualifications for disability compensation. 

To establish your eligibility for VA disability benefits, you should take the following actions:

Gather Your Service Records 

You will need to prove that you qualify as a veteran by the VA’s standards. That means proving you served at least 2 years on active duty or completed your contract. Additionally, you need to show that you have an other-than-Dishonorable discharge.

Get a Diagnosis 

Secure a formal diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression from a medical professional. Describe your symptoms and any treatments you have tried accurately and in detail so they can document them.

If you are filing a VA disability claim for pre-existing anxiety or depression, you will need records of the original diagnosis. These records can show your condition pre-dated your military service and the progression of your symptoms.

Demonstrate a Service Connection

Use your service records to support your explanation of how your mental condition was caused or worsened by your time in the military. Keep in mind that you can still qualify for VA disability benefits if your anxiety or depression is a secondary condition linked to another service-related disability.

Oftentimes, it takes multiple attempts to secure VA disability benefits. After your first VA denial, you can turn to a veterans disability claims lawyer to handle your appeal. They may track down other evidence, rectify paperwork errors, help you prepare for a C&P exam, and represent you in VA hearings to obtain the best possible outcome.

Reach Out to VetLaw When You Are Ready to Appeal Your VA Anxiety or Depression Disability Claim

At VetLaw, we understand that recruiting a veterans disability appeals lawyer to help with your VA depression or anxiety claim may seem like an excessive step, but dealing with the VA is often a time-consuming and challenging process. 

By leaving your VA disability claim in the hands of our veterans benefits denial lawyers, you are gaining expert legal insight based on years of experience with the VA appeals process. Our team treats veterans with mental health claims with the respect they deserve while diligently advocating on their behalf.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling (855) 573-1503 or submitting a contact form. Our team will help you schedule a free case evaluation with a VetLaw VA-accredited attorney who will work with you to file a successful appeal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can families still receive VA survivor benefits if the veteran commits suicide?

Tragically, some veterans struggling with depression or anxiety take their own lives. If a veteran commits suicide because of their service-connected depression or anxiety, their family is likely still eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

How do VA disability ratings work for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression in veterans?

Regardless of how many service-connected mental conditions a veteran claims, the VA only issues one disability rating that encompasses all of their mental health conditions. Physical conditions typically each have their own VA disability rating. 

The VA rating scale for mental conditions is also distinct from the one for physical conditions. Mental conditions, including anxiety and depression, can be rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100% disability. 

Can I get VA disability benefits for both anxiety and depression?

Yes, you can receive VA disability benefits if you have both anxiety and depression. These mental conditions are often comorbid, so many veterans encounter this situation.

One may be secondary to the other, in which case you would need to show that the primary condition is service-related. Keep in mind you will still only have one combined VA disability rating for both mental health conditions.