Mental Disorders Overview
The VA awards disability compensation for each Mental Disorder that is service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected Mental Disorders as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, the condition must have occurred in or resulted from an injury in the Line of Duty to qualify.
Mental Disorders are by far the most difficult medical conditions to rate because of the lack of measurable variables. Mental Disorders can cause symptoms ranging from the inability to sleep to depression and hallucinations.
Because of this, the VASRD offers rating options for Mental Disorders based on how they affect the veteran’s social and occupational functioning. Can they hold a steady job? Do they have any committed or stable relationships? Etc.
To honor the Pyramiding Principle, only a single rating can be given for multiple Mental Disorders since it is impossible to fully separate the symptoms. Instead, multiple Mental Disorders will be rated using all of the symptoms combined together. The VA will choose the single code they feel best defines the dominant Mental Disorder, and all the symptoms will be used together to rate the condition on the Psychological Rating System. (see The Mental Disorders Ratings page for details).
Mental Disorder Ratings
The VASRD offers ratings for the following Mental Disorders:
- Adjustment disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Somatoform disorders
- Mood disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Cognitive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
If a Mental Disorders is not directly listed, it is rated under the code that best describes it or its dominant symptoms.
It’s important to note that some Mental Disorders, like personality disorders and learning disabilities are not eligible for military disability (see the Mental Disorder Ratings page).
How will the VA rate my mental disorders?
The VA uses the rules of the VASRD to rate mental disorders based on the symptoms that they cause. Check out our Mental Disorder Ratings page for the exact codes and ratings.
Does my anxiety qualify for VA Disability?
The VA can only rate conditions that meet some type of service-connection requirement or be on the VA's Presumptive List. As long as your anxiety is service-connected, it qualifies for VA Disability.
Are my conditions eligible for a rating?
Your conditions are eligible to be rated by the VA if they are the result of your military service. You must be able to show proof of service-connection for each condition. For the DoD, they will rate your service-connected conditions as long as they also make you Unfit for Duty.
How do I apply to receive my ratings?
If you are still in the military, then you can request your military physician to refer you to the MEB and start the IDES process. If you are already a veteran, you can submit a VA Disability Claim along with evidence of service-connection and all medical records regarding the conditions on the claim.
If my claim is approved, what benefits will I receive?
If you are rated 20% or less from the DoD, then you will receive a single separation payment. If you are rated 30% or more, you will receive full retirement benefits. From the VA, you will receive a monthly payment as well as full medical care from the VA for the qualifying conditions.
How long does it take to receive my disability benefits?
Brand new claims usually take 3-6 months to process. Once processed, you will start receiving payments in 1-3 months.
How are the rating percentages assigned to my conditions?
The rules of the VA's Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) are used to assign rating percentages to conditions. The VASRD gives rating rules for conditions based on their symptoms, treatment options, and the resulting level of disability they cause.
My conditions have worsened. How do I increase my rating percentages?
If your conditions have worsened since you last applied and now qualify for a higher rating, you can submit a new claim, checking the box for an increased evaluation.