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  • September 13, 2019 | David Clark | Category: News

    The effects of combat stress, debilitating diseases, survivor guilt, grief, specific incidents, or injury, can result in depression. Depression is perhaps one of the most upsetting mental health disabilities there is. It is also difficult for many people to acknowledge and understand. Whereas a physical handicap is visible, depression is not.

    Because of this, people rarely recognize depression, PTSD, or anxiety as a disability. Therefore, veterans and active-duty personnel have a difficult time trying to obtain compensation and aid for depression. If you served in the US military and are suffering from depression, you could be eligible for a service-connected disability and compensation.

    For example, to receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, the veteran must experience at least two major episodes of depression. In addition, the episodes must last for a minimum of two weeks.

    These symptoms will seriously impact the veteran’s ability to perform daily:

    • Veterans show a loss of interest in completing daily activities and tasks
    • Service member as very little motivation to do anything. This includes hanging out with family and friends
    • Having thoughts of suicide or dying
    • Sleeping excessively or having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep no matter how exhausted the veteran may be
    • Veteran has low energy levels and is always too tired
    • Struggles to accomplish small tasks or no desire to observe personal hygiene
    • Restless and irritable, angry because of sleep deprivation

    How the VA Rates Depression

    The VA uses the “General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders” as a guide to rate depression. The rating determines the veteran’s inability to function on a daily basis. According to the Rating Formula for Mental Disorders, veteran’s could be awarded a rating of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100%.

    Receiving a 100% rating means you do not have the capacity to work or to function on a social level.

    A 0% rating means symptoms of depression won’t impede the veteran’s ability to function. However, even with a 0% rating, veterans may be eligible for health care. [1]

    Compensation and Pension Exam

    The Compensation and Pension Review Board will need to know the truth to evaluate your claim fairly. Do not overemphasize or belittle your symptoms. Communicating with the board and psychiatrist may be a little tricky. You may also be a little anxious about the exam, but speak up. The doctor’s notes will only reveal so much information so you want to elaborate on your condition. Avoid one-word answers and don’t ramble. Stay focused and on the subject.

    Performance Evals

    If the veteran has any recent employment-related information, submit those performance evaluations to the Compensation and Pension Review Board to establish reduced efficiency, defiance, difficulty following instructions, or other work-related difficulties.

    100% Rating for Unemployability

    If you can’t get a 100% rating because your symptoms don’t render the judgment, apply for Total Disability based on Unemployability (TDUI). It’s for veterans who have a service-connected mental illness and can’t maintain a job or salary to live above the poverty level. [2]

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