VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (2023)

Hi Veterans, in this post, we will be exploring theVAPTSD Rating Criteriain detail.

VA ratings for PTSD depend on the frequency, severity, andduration of a veteran’s mental health symptoms over time.

The more severe the veteran’s PTSD symptoms (and the morenegative impact those symptoms have on his/her occupational and socialimpairment), the more likely it is for a veteran to get a higher VA disability ratingfor PTSD.

In 2020, the average VA rating for PTSD is currently 70 percent, but veterans can be rated from 0 percent to 100 percent with breaks at 10 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, and 70 percent.

But first, let’s take a minute to explore 38 CFR for PTSDregarding the level of occupational and social impairment for each VA PTSD ratingcriteria.

List of Detailed Posts About the VA PTSD Rating Criteria

  • Click toread about the 0% and10% VA ratings for PTSD now.
  • Whatabout the30 VA ratingfor PTSD? Click HERE to read now.
  • Thinkyou deserve anautomatic 50 VArating for PTSD? Click HERE to read now.
  • Maybeeven a70% VArating for PTSD? Click HERE to read now.
  • Howabout a100%VA rating for PTSD? Click HERE to read now.

PTSD is the #3 Most Commonly Claimed VA Disability

According to theTop10 Most Common VA Disability Claims data, PTSD is in the top threeacross all veteran demographics.

Here’s some interesting “insider” VA data regarding theVA PTSD rating criteriafor veterans receiving VA disability compensation for PTSD in CY 2019:

  • 2.2%of all VA disability recipients for PTSD have a0%PTSD rating.
  • 7.1%of all VA disability compensation claim recipients for PTSD have a10%VA rating for PTSD.
  • 23.7%of all VA compensation claim recipients for PTSD have a30% VA PTSD rating.
  • 25.9%of all VA disability recipients for PTSD have a50% PTSD rating.
  • 28.0%of all VA claim recipients for PTSD have a70%rating for PTSD.
  • 13.1%of all VA disability claim recipients have a100%PTSD rating.

>> Want to learn more aboutPTSD Ratings in 2020? Click HERE now!

(Video) PTSD Rating Scale for VA Disability Claims Explained

CFR Title 38, Part 4, the Schedule forRating Disabilities lists the general VA PTSD rating criteria.

In 2020, PTSD VA ratings range from 0% to 100%, with interim breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%.

2020 VA PTSD Rating Criteria from 0% to 100%

0% VA disability rating for PTSD

A mental condition has been formally diagnosed,but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational andsocial functioning or to require continuous medication.

10% VA disability rating for PTSD

Occupational and social impairment due to mildor transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to performoccupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptomscontrolled by continuous medication.

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (1)

30% VA disability rating for PTSD

Occupational and social impairment withoccasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability toperform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, withroutine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as:depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often),chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names,directions, recent events).

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (2)

50% VA disability rating for PTSD

Occupational and social impairment with reducedreliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect;circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more thanonce a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short-and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material,forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking;disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintainingeffective work and social relationships.

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (3)

70% VA disability rating for PTSD

Occupational and social impairment, withdeficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking,or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals whichinterfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, orirrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability tofunction independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control(such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatialdisorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty inadapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting);inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (4)

100% VA disability rating for PTSD

Total occupational and social impairment, dueto such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication;persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior;persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to performactivities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene);disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, ownoccupation, or own name.

(Video) 70% PTSD VA Rating: What it Means and How to Qualify

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (5)

How the VA Rater Determines Your PTSD Rating

A common misunderstanding among veterans is that you needto meet ALL the subjective symptoms tied with a certain rating criterion forPTSD in order to get that rating on the PTSD rating scale.

Veterans, this is far from the truth and not in accordance withthe law!

The Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) willconsider all the evidence of record, and normally will assign the VA rating forPTSD that includes the “preponderance of the symptoms.”

For example, if a veteran has 4 of the symptoms from the 50%PTSD rating criteria and 6 of the symptoms from the 70% PTSD rating criteria,the rating agency shall assign the HIGHER RATING, unless evidence ofrecord contradicts this subjective assessment.

The opposite is also true.

For example, if a veteran has 6 of the symptoms from the 30rating for PTSD criteria and 4 of the symptoms from the 50 PTSD VA ratingcriteria, the rating agency shall assign the lower rating, unless evidence ofrecord contradicts this subjective assessment.

VA PTSD Rating Criteria Explained (6)

Another important point is that the list of symptoms for eachmental health rating in the VA PTSD rating criteria is NOT all-inclusive,thus they are NOT an exhaustive list to be applied rigidly.

When determining the appropriate disability evaluation toassign, the VA Raters primary consideration is a veteran’s symptoms, but itmust also determine how those symptoms impact a veteran’s occupational andsocial impairment. See Vazquez-Claudio v.Shinseki, 713 F.3d 112 (Fed. Cir. 2013); See Mauerhanv. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 436, (2002).

(Video) 30% PTSD VA Disability Rating Breakdown

The use of the term “Such As” in the CFR38 rating criteria for mental health conditions demonstrates that the symptomsafter that phrase are NOT intended to constitute an exhaustive list, the VARater need not find the presence of all, most, or even some, of the enumeratedsymptoms to award a specific rating. See Sellers v.Principi, 372 F.3d 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

However, all VA PTSD Rating Criteria are also associatedwith objectively observable symptomatology and the plain language of theregulation makes it clear that the veteran’s impairment must be “Due To”those symptoms, a veteran may only qualify for a given disability rating bydemonstrating the particular symptoms associated with that percentage, orothers of similar Frequency, Severity, and Duration. See Vazquez-Claudio, 713F.3d at 118.

Three Primary Rules for the VA PTSD Rating Criteria

According to §4.126, evaluation of disability from mental disorders, the VA Rater is required to consider these three rules:

  • Rule #1.When evaluating PTSD, the rating agency shall consider the frequency, severity, and duration of psychiatric symptoms, the length of remissions, and the veteran’s capacity for adjustment during periods of remission. The rating agency shall assign an evaluation based on all the evidence of record that bears on occupational and social impairment rather than solely on the examiner’s assessment of the level of disability now of the examination.
  • Rule #2.When evaluating the level of disability for PTSD, the rating agency will consider the extent of social impairment but shall not assign an evaluation solely based on social impairment.
  • Rule #3. §4.7 Higher of Two Evaluations. Where there is a question as to which of two evaluations shall be applied, the higher evaluation will be assigned if the disability picture more nearly approximates the criteria required for that rating. Otherwise, the lower rating will be assigned.

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About the Author

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reeseis a VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, andfounder of VA Claims Insider–“The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the8-step VA disability claims processled him to create“VA Claims Insider,”which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian isalso the CEOofMilitary Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the“9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim”has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

(Video) How to Get a 100% PTSD VA Rating

He is aformer active duty Air Force officerwith extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from theUnited States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

(Video) VA PTSD Criteria and How VA Rates PTSD!


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