Understanding The VA’s Automatic 50% PTSD Rating

Understanding The VA’s Automatic 50% PTSD Rating | FAQs

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

The VA’s automatic 50% PTSD rating only applies to veterans who were discharged due to their PTSD symptoms, and only for a limited amount of time.


  • Veterans are only eligible for an automatic 50% PTSD rating under the specific conditions that the VA stipulates.
  • To qualify, veterans must show their discharge was the result of their PTSD symptoms interfering with their ability to work.
  • The VA only grants automatic 50% PTSD ratings for six months before seeking a follow-up C&P exam.
  • A veterans disability appeals attorney can be an asset to veterans seeking this type of VA disability rating.

Grappling with service-related PTSD is difficult, especially if it costs you your job. To offset the financial hit veterans with In cases where a veteran’s service-connected PTSD leads to their discharge from the military, the VA offers an opportunity for them to earn an automatic 50% VA disability rating.

However, this opportunity does require veterans to meet certain criteria, and the VA does not guarantee that the rating is permanent. Whether you are seeking this status or attempting to keep it, our team can help. 

As a nationwide veterans law firm, VetLaw has provided legal assistance to clients from a variety of backgrounds to appeal for an automatic 50% PTSD rating and access fair compensation. We are ready to do the same for you. 

Start the process of securing the VA disability benefits you deserve by attending a free consultation with a VetLaw veterans disability appeals attorney. You can call us at (855) 561-1330 or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let us take the lead in your VA PTSD claim so you can focus on rebuilding your life.

Navigating the Complexities of Your PTSD VA Rating

If you are a veteran who 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 who 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 Does the VA Rate PTSD? Understand the Criteria for VA PTSD Rating

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 mental health 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 who 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 the VA provider will be looking for in the follow-up C&P exam 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 PTSD 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. You may even receive a disability rating over 50%.

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

Need Help with Your PTSD VA Rating? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

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 with VetLaw who is experienced with VA disability benefits today.

Our capable veteran disability benefits denial lawyers 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. Reach out to VetLaw at (855) 561-1330 or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 2024 compensation rate for veterans with a 50% VA disability rating for PTSD?

For veterans with no dependents and a 50% disability rating, the 2024 VA compensation rate is $1,075.16 a month. If a veteran had a 50% PTSD rating and a spouse, their monthly payment would be $1,179.16. Veterans can qualify for additional compensation if they have other dependents, such as parents or children.

Can I get compensation from the VA for a 0% PTSD disability rating?

At a 0% disability rating for PTSD, you are not eligible for VA disability benefits and your condition is “non-compensable”. That does not mean that your service-related PTSD symptoms will always warrant a 0% VA disability rating. You can also seek a ratings increase if you think the VA’s initial assessment of your condition was too low.

If you believe that your PTSD symptoms are interfering more with your daily life, you should speak with a VA disability lawyer about filing an appeal. The focus of the appeal will be demonstrating the significance of your symptoms, as your service connection is already approved.

How can a buddy letter help my claim for an automatic 50% PTSD rating?

Supposedly, PTSD is one of the easiest disabilities to claim for VA benefits, but many vets have a different experience. Statements from people you served with can bolster your VA PTSD disability claim. If you are specifically seeking an automatic 50% PTSD rating, their testimony can provide evidence that:

  • You experienced an in-service incident or conditions that caused or exacerbated your PTSD, such as Military Sexual Trauma
  • Your PTSD symptoms kept you from performing your job
  • Your discharge was due to your PTSD symptoms

Your VA disability appeals attorney may recommend that you submit buddy letters if either of these points are in doubt.