Getting VA Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions in Houston TX

Disabilities that are connected to a veteran’s service are not always physical and visible. Actually, it’s not really news that active military service can have dramatic and incapacitating effects on the human mind. Although “shell shock” isn’t quite the medical term that accurately describes the complexity of an affected veteran’s mental condition, thousands of veterans throughout Texas suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug addictions, and more.

Getting VA Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions in Houston TX

Many veterans are reluctant to seek VA disability benefits for mental disorders; however, these disorders can be just as debilitating as physical disorders. By calling Houston VA disability benefits attorney William Herren, you discuss the possibility for disability benefits for a condition connected to your service in the U.S. armed forces, whether Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, U.S. Coast Guard, and others.

To speak with Houston attorney William Herren, we invite you to call our Houston law firm today at (713) 682-8194. Consultations are always free, and if we decide to take your case, you won’t pay anything unless we win.

Basics About VA Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions

The stigma about mental health problems is still prevalent among veterans, especially due to the “tough” and “strong” atmosphere prevalent in many areas of the military. However, since the increased media attention regarding PTSD and other mental and emotional conditions, this stigma has reduced. Furthermore, the VA disability benefits for eligible veterans are worth pursuing, as the benefits include free medical attention as well as monthly payments, depending on the severity.

The most common VA disabilities include tinnitus and hearing loss, but PTSD is the most common mental condition, alongside drug and alcohol abuse. When the VA is determining whether or not you have a mental disability, the organization will organize several tests to determine the severity of your disability and how it affects your ability to work. The VA will also determine whether or not your disability is truly connected to your service in the military.

How the VA Evaluates a Veteran’s Mental Illness

Unlike physical disabilities, such as an amputated arm or a musculoskeletal disability, mental illnesses require different evaluations to determine their severity. To evaluate a mental illness, the VA uses its VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities, which itself follows the criteria detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. The categories of mental illness include:

Just like other disabilities, you’ll need to prove to the VA that your disability is connected to your military service. To get compensation, therefore, you must have:

  • A current diagnosis of mental illness
  • Evidence of an accident or an event that occurred during active service, creating the mental illness
  • Medical evidence that connects the illness to the accident or event

Mental Illness Prior to Service

In general, the VA doesn’t provide VA disability compensation for illnesses that result from genetic or developmental defects. In other words, if you have a mental illness that existed before your military service, you may be ineligible for compensation. Such conditions can include mental retardation and personality disorders.

However, if you have a pre-existing mental condition that was aggravated by your military service, then you still may be able to qualify. For instance, if a veteran diagnosed with a personality disorder enters the military, and during his/her service, an event causes the veteran to develop PTSD, then he/she may be able to receive benefits based on the PTSD.

How the VA Rates Mental Illness for Disability Benefits

Once the VA has determined that your mental illness is related to your military service, the VA then determines the level of disability severity and, therefore, how much compensation you may be entitled to. In addition to looking at the DSM-IV, the VA will consider the veteran’s Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF). This GAF score measures the veteran’s ability to function at work (physically, socially, and emotionally). The GAF score ranges from 0 to 100, and a higher score means that you are more able to function in the workplace.

Furthermore, the VA provides ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100% for psychiatric conditions. 0% doesn’t provide any monthly compensation, but you still may be eligible for health care and other benefits. 100% provides the highest amount of benefits.

Call Herren Law Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one suffered a mental condition that resulted from active service in the military, it’s important to file a claim with the VA for disability benefits. These benefits can be essential in your continued recovery while helping with finances if you’re unable to work to your maximum capacity. At Herren Law in Houston TX, disability benefits attorney William Herren has helped numerous veterans with their benefits associated with mental disorders. To get started on your case, it’s important to call attorney Herren as soon as possible. For a free consultation, call today at (713) 682-8194.

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