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Mental Illness in Veterans: Can you Seek Monetary Help?

Many military veterans experience physical injuries following active duty, but mental health is also a concern for these individuals. Depression is one of the most significant health issues that veterans can face, along with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Like PTSD, depression is primarily an invisible illness and can be quite tricky to treat. For these reasons, depression can have some long-lasting effects on a veteran’s well-being and daily life.

Luckily, veterans who suffer from depression may be eligible for service-related disability benefits through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. If you are a veteran with a mental illness, you might be eligible for this assistance. 

Several mental illnesses may help a veteran qualify for benefits, especially if the condition has resulted from any event that occurred during their military service. A disability lawyer can thoroughly review your case and give you advice on how you can obtain veterans’ disability benefits for mental illness.

Veterans with Mental Illness

List of Mental Illnesses

Various categories of mental illnesses may qualify an individual for disability benefits. An attorney can help you strengthen your application for benefits by presenting a proper diagnosis in any of these categories and demonstrating that your mental illness is directly related to your military service. These are some of the most common mental illnesses that may make a veteran eligible for benefits:

  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Schizophrenia and other such psychotic disorders
  • Chronic adjustment disorder
  • Depression

How Can You Establish A Service Connection to Your Mental Illness to Help You Qualify for Benefits?

A professional can help you establish a connection between your military service and your disability. An experienced veterans disability attorney can help you assemble proof that a particular incident during your military service resulted in your mental illness or exacerbated an existing mental condition. For the proper establishment of service connection, the following things are often required:

  • Evidence that a doctor or other medical professional has made a diagnosis that qualifies as a mental illness
  • A specific illness, event, or injury that happened during an individual’s active-duty period 
  • Documentation stating that a doctor or medical professional identified that your qualifying mental illness was triggered by the above-mentioned illness, event, or injury
  • It can be important to remain aware that there are certain mental illnesses that will not be considered to have a service connection. These conditions may include intellectual disabilities and certain personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. However, if you have a personality disorder but you developed PTSD as a result of an incident that occurred during your service period, your pre-existing condition will not necessarily prohibit you from obtaining benefits for your PTSD.
  • Even if you have obtained an initial diagnosis of a mental illness before your active military service, you may still be able to qualify for benefits relating to your mental illness. In this situation, you would have to prove that your military service exacerbated your already-existing mental illness and caused it to worsen more rapidly than it would have in its natural progression. 
  • The process is nearly the same as establishing a service connection to a new mental illness. The difference lies in the fact that the Veterans Affairs (VA) classifies the deterioration of a pre-existing condition because of military service as the service connection.

Evaluation of Mental Disorders by VA

While assigning a disability rating for a service-connected mental disorder, the VA uses the general rating formula for mental disorders. The scale ranges from 0% to 100% depending on the condition’s severity. For service-related disabilities and mental health disorders, VA regulations offer ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%. 

A 0% rating means that a mental condition has been diagnosed formally, but the symptoms are insufficient to interfere with the individual’s occupational and social functioning or require consistent medication. And on the other hand, a 100% disability rating indicates total occupational and social impairment resulting from the condition. 

What is the Minimum Eligibility?

To become eligible for benefits, your condition should fit into one of the following criteria:

  • Pre-service disability claim
  • Military service exacerbated an existing condition
  • In-service disability claim
  • Post-service disability claim
  • Disease or condition developed during military service

The Mental Health Disability Benefits for veterans cover a vast range of physical illnesses or injuries,  such as back pain, traumatic brain injury, severe hearing loss, and anxiety. An individual may qualify for many other conditions, as well.

Know The Process Of Pursuing A Claim For Disability Based On Mental Health Concerns

To qualify for the benefits they need, a veteran should be able to prove that the event or stressor that has resulted in their mental health condition occurred during active duty, and that the condition has significantly affected their life. Offering detailed information on the events that occurred during active duty can help to support the establishment of a connection between mental illness and military service.

If you are a veteran who needs legal assistance to obtain the benefits you deserve, speak with an experienced veterans’ disability benefits lawyer as soon as possible.