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VA Disability Benefits

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Mental Health Disability

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In many instances with America’s military veterans, a mental illness or mental health disorder will appear while a veteran is in service. Certain stresses of combat or service can serve as a trigger for veteran mental health decline.

Some symptoms of mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and mood disorders may not be diagnosed for some years later, though they were present during service. It is common for veterans to begin to discover a mental illness while in service, due to experiences or a singular event.

Veterans and their families account for almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, and while there are VA disability benefits available for injured veterans, the VA disability benefits process can be long and burdensome. Individuals and families will rely on VA benefits, though the government regularly denies VA disability claims.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati, Ohio VA claims Attorney reviewing veterans disorder benefits, and VA mental health claims for veterans and their families.

Do I Have a VA Disability Claim?

When veterans are first denied benefits, they often give up on the process, and fail to receive the treatments and care they need. Other times a veteran may decline to apply for benefits due to pride, stigmas, or believing that their condition is untreatable.

Veterans lose hope over getting the help they deserve, though The Lyon Firm is here to fight on behalf of veterans who require disability benefits to improve their quality of life. Veteran mental health disorders and mental illness following military service is extremely common, and you are not alone in this, despite the government limiting resources.

Veterans with any disability are urged to seek diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This may be even before your service is complete. If there is a long period between military service and a service-related condition, individuals are still encouraged to file disability claims, as many mental health illnesses like PTSD are only diagnosed years after service.

Although a large gap in service and a claim for disability may make benefits more elusive, veterans are still urged to contact an attorney well-versed in the VA disability process to attempt to win a claim, even after an initial claim is denied.

Veterans & Mental Health Claims

In many cases of veteran mental disorder claim denials, the VA may have either misdiagnosed patients or rated their disabilities incorrectly. Mental health illness symptoms can vary greatly and may worsen over time. It is critical to get a proper disability rating for each disability you are experiencing.

The VA health centers and other qualified mental health staff can help with a mental illness diagnosis and can plan treatments for suffering veterans. Veteran psychological disorders and PTSD can be completely debilitating, and VA mental health disability benefits are essential.

Injured veterans may be eligible to receive disability compensation for physical and mental health conditions linked to military service. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, however, treats mental health illnesses differently than physical ailments.

The VA medical system is crucial because patients and plaintiffs say outside in the private health care system insurers use subtle methods to deny coverage and claims. For instance, they may use providers or clinicians who won’t take new patients or are no longer in an insurer’s network. Or they require confusing or unending paperwork before they provide coverage.

Some patients say they can’t even find those covered under their plan’s mental health segment because the clinicians cannot be found. And so, mental health treatment denial or an absence of coverage has resulted in injury, suicide, overdose and death. Those may have coverage on paper, but in reality, it is pretty sparse.

Thus, patient safety attorneys are holding insurers responsible for their actions. Industry practices may have to change if enough lawsuits are filed and punitive damages hurt the company. Unfortunately, that may be the only incentive for an insurer to act within the law.

Mental Health Coverage Denial Claims

The Labor Department oversees health plans covering 156 million people, but the standards set forth are not as clear, and further, holding insurance companies liable requires individual lawsuits. Even if a mental health and addiction crisis is gripping America, the insurers still have power behind them. Contact an attorney to investigate mental health treatment denial claims.

Law enforcement varies from state to state, and the sums of violations are small enough where insurers are not worried about penalties. Denials of care are not limited to UnitedHealth. Other insurers are following the same protocol.

Aetna settled with Massachusetts over allegations of inaccurate network directories. Other lawsuits have been filed nationwide. New York’s attorney general settled with Beacon Health over allegations of mental health treatment denials and substance abuse claims.

There have been failures in the mental health system in recent years–even in the VA system–and suicide and overdose rates have increased at an alarming rate. Insurance bad faith and limited coverage have contributed to this crisis, and plaintiffs can come forward to make the system better in the future.

The Lyon Firm is dedicated to representing victims of insurance bad faith and denied coverage. We work to protect patients and Ohio consumers in the face of corporate greed and unlawful treatment of clients.

PTSD Symptoms

Everyone knows when they have a physical ailment—the signs and limitations are more obvious. But many veterans go years without realizing that they suffer from mental health disorders, including PTSD.

The signs of symptoms of PTSD may differ from person to person, and mental health conditions can change over time. It is important to note that not every veteran with PTSD has been through dangerous combat. Some veterans develop PTSD after a friend in the service experiences harm or death.

It is crucial for veterans to recognize PTSD symptoms in order to get a proper diagnosis, seek treatment, and file a VA PTSD disability claim to assist in compensation for service-related mental health issues.

For any veteran, back home from service, there can be a variety of causes of head trauma and combat-related situations that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in the future. But many veterans return home and don’t know what it means to feel “normal.”

Eligible Veteran Mental Health Conditions

The VA rates mental health conditions at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100% using the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders. The rating a veteran receives is largely based on the level of social and occupational limitations related to the specific disorder or illness. Veterans must prove the following to qualify for benefits:

  1. Evidence of a mental health illness with a proper diagnosis
  2. Medical evidence that connects the mental health illness to military service
  3. Evidence that the mental illness affects daily life in a significant way

Veterans Disability Benefits

Veterans suffering from multiple mental health conditions receive one combined rating for all issues, using the same criteria. Thus, veterans will only submit one application for mental health benefits related to military service.

To qualify for mental health benefits, a veteran’s condition must be directly related to military service, which can include the following conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Depression

Winning VA Mental Health Claims

The VA disability compensation program is meant to provide benefits to veterans who have developed PTSD and other mental illness as a result of their service. The most common veteran mental health condition is post-traumatic stress disorder. Many veterans are not even aware that they suffer from PTSD until many years later.

To qualify for any VA disability benefit, a veteran must prove that military service caused a mental disorder, and further, that the condition now affects their daily life. In 2020, the VA is paying more benefits to our servicemen than ever before.

Veterans are sometimes hesitant to seek help when they don’t feel right, and may think it is just normal to feel depressed or anxious, and cannot concentrate upon return to daily civilian life. But there are a lot of ways to find assistance and to treat a wide range of veteran mental illnesses.

VA Disability FAQ

What VA Disability benefits are available?

The following disability compensation benefits are available to Veterans:

Disability Compensation – a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated by active military service. 

Automobile Allowance – financial assistance provided to help eligible severely disabled Servicemembers and Veterans purchase or adapt an automobile to accommodate their disabilities

Clothing Allowance – annual stipend(s) provided to disabled Veterans who have unique clothing needs as a result of a service-connected disability or injury.

Specially Adapted Housing/ Special Home Adaptation Grants – provides monetary benefits to adapt or obtain suitable housing for eligible severely disabled Veterans

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) – provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free insurance premiums and have the opportunity to purchase additional insurance  

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) – provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – provides educational and training services to Veterans with service-connected illnesses and injuries to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment

Education Assistance – provides education benefits to Veterans to assist with obtaining a degree or with pursuing other eligible education and training

Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) – provides assistance to survivors or dependents of Veterans to obtain a degree


Am I eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training. A disability can apply
to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee
condition, as well as a mental health conditions,
such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you were on inactive duty for training, the
disability must have resulted from injury, heart
attack, or stroke. Your discharge from service must
have been under other than dishonorable conditions.
Compensation varies depending on the degree of
your disability. 

If you have dependents, an additional allowance
may be added if your combined disability is rated
30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset
if you receive military retirement pay, disability
severance pay, or separation incentive payments.

What are presumptive veteran disabilities?

VA presumes that some disabilities are due to
military service. You may be eligible to receive
service-connected disability benefits if you have
a qualifying disability associated with certain
conditions of service, such as:

» Former Prisoners of War
» Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange
» Gulf War Veterans with undiagnosed illnesses
and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.

What is a “service-connected” disability?

A service-connected disability is related to an injury or disease that developed during or was aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training. VA also pays disability compensation for disabilities resulting from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during
inactive duty training.

What compensation can i expect?

VA disability benefits depend on your level of disability and stats of dependents. You can calculate what you think you may deserve at the VA Web site:

Are VA Disability Benefits for life?

You can be eligible for VA benefits for as long as your service-related injury or disability is assigned to a compensable rating by the VA.