Understanding The VA’s Automatic 50% PTSD Rating

Understanding The VA’s Automatic 50% PTSD Rating

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

If you are a veteran that has recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you have probably heard that you will get an automatic 50% disability rating in order to receive disability benefits. There is technically an automatic 50% disability rating for PTSD. However, not every veteran that has PTSD will get a 50% disability rating automatically. Furthermore, the automatic 50% disability rating is only for a limited time and covers a very specific set of circumstances. Here is a look at the VA’s somewhat confusing 50% PTSD rating.

What is PTSD and How is it Rated by the VA?

The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as ” a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing or witnessing it.” Someone who has PTSD could experience extreme emotional symptoms and uncontrollable thoughts and flashbacks.

Once you have been diagnosed with PTSD, the VA will rate the severity of your condition. The various ratings are:

0% Disability Rating for PTSD

You have been diagnosed with PTSD. However, you are not showing severe symptoms and do not need medication to control your symptoms. Furthermore, your symptoms do not interfere with your daily life and do not prevent you from working or doing your job efficiently.

10% Disability Rating for PTSD

You have mild symptoms of PTSD. Some of your symptoms may not be noticeable unless you are in a high-stress situation. However, your symptoms are able to be easily controlled with medication.

30% Disability Rating for PTSD

People at this level have more noticeable symptoms. They may have problems controlling their behavior and participating in everyday conversations. Some symptoms may get in the way of their social and occupational lives.

50% Disability Rating for PTSD

People experience a profound reduction in productivity at work due to their symptoms. They may experience frequent panic attacks and have difficulty remembering simple instructions due to the severity of their symptoms.

70% Disability Rating for PTSD

People at this level have a difficult time establishing and maintaining relationships in the workplace and in social situations. Their PTSD symptoms are often so severe that they will often struggle to perform their work-related duties. They may also experience frequent bouts of anxiety, depression, and even have suicidal thoughts.

100% Disability Rating for PTSD

Veterans with this level of PTSD disability are unable to function properly at work or in social situations. The symptoms at this level can vary greatly. However, some veterans have reported hallucinating and having delusional thoughts as well as having frequent self-harming urges.

Does the VA give all PTSD Veterans a 50% Disability Rating?

One of the most common misconceptions among veterans is that they believe they will receive an automatic disability rating of 50% if they are diagnosed with PTSD. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. A veteran must first meet a very specific set of criteria in order to get an automatic 50% rating.

First, in order for a veteran to get an automatic 50% disability rating, they had to have been discharged from the military as a direct result of their PTSD symptoms. This means that if they were discharged from the military for any other reason, the automatic 50% rating does not apply.

Also, veterans that do get an automatic 50% PTSD disability rating are only guaranteed to have it for six months. After the initial six-month period is over, veterans will have to be re-evaluated to ensure that they still qualify for the 50% disability rating.

Some of the criteria that will be looked at during the re-evaluation include:

  • The severity of PTSD Symptoms
  • Frequency and duration of the PTSD symptoms
  • The severity of social and occupational impairment
  • Has the veteran experienced remission periods?
  • The ability for the veteran to readjust into civilian life

Once you have been re-evaluated, the VA will decide whether or not you still qualify for disability based on the criteria listed above. In some cases, they may decide to extend your disability period. They could also either reduce or increase your rating based on the severity of your symptoms.

What if You Don’t Qualify for the VA’s Automatic 50% Rating?

If you do not meet the qualifications to receive the automatic 50% rating, don’t worry just yet. You can still qualify for VA disability based on your PTSD diagnosis alone.

Any current or former member of the United States military that has been diagnosed with PTSD while carrying out their military duties could qualify to receive disability compensation benefits. As long as you can prove that you have PTSD due to your service in the military and did not receive a dishonorable discharge, you could qualify for VA disability benefits.

When to Seek Legal Help?

PTSD can be debilitating and life-altering. If you are struggling with PTSD and you feel that you are entitled to disability compensation benefits, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. Contact an attorney that is experienced with VA disability benefits today. An experienced lawyer will be able to review your case and give you advice on the proper steps to take in order to get the benefits that you deserve.