Mental Health Condition Claims

Veterans suffering from mental health conditions can file disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to seek benefits that can help offset the costs of their psychological conditions. This form of support often proves to be essential for veterans suffering from psychological conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to sleep disorders. 

Unfortunately, the VA has a reputation for making the pursuit of disability benefits complicated. VA disability lawyers offer their services to help veterans frustrated with the VA claims system attain the benefits they need if they have had their claims denied or have been given a lower disability rating than they think they deserve. 

To contact Bartlett Legal Group to schedule a free consultation on your veteran disability claim you can either call (850) 332-6434 or fill out a form on our contact page

Common VA Claims Mental Health Conditions

Veterans are susceptible to a wide range of physical injuries when serving in the military but the role mental health conditions play in VA disabilities has been historically underplayed by the VA until recently. Helping veterans with their health both in terms of body and mind is crucial.

That is why VA disability benefits are available for mental conditions developed or aggravated during military service. Veterans may also be eligible for disability benefits if their mental health issue is a secondary condition related to a primary service-connected disability.

The following are some of the most common mental health conditions veterans file disability benefits claims for with the VA.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is one of the most notable mental health problems that face veterans. Veterans who have experienced intense, violent, and stressful events in or out of combat are at risk of developing PTSD. This condition causes veterans to struggle with processing and coping with traumatic events they experienced and can affect their lives through severe symptoms.

PTSD has been known by a number of names over the years such as shellshock, combat fatigue, and operational exhaustion but the symptoms and effects of this disorder have remained the same throughout history. They mostly involve the stress and negative emotions associated with the event recurring and manifesting in harmful ways. PTSD symptoms can be divided into the four categories intrusive, avoidance, negative cognitive changes, and physical and emotional changes. The following are some of the most notable symptoms. 

Intrusive memories

Recurring nightmares of the traumatic event

Severe reactions to triggers and reminders of the traumatic event

Flashbacks and recurrent emotions relating to the traumatic event

Avoidance

Avoidance of things related to the traumatic event that may trigger memories 

Refusal to talk or think about the traumatic event

Negative cognitive changes

Strain on relationships

Loss of interest in hobbies and other pursuits

Negative thoughts and hopelessness

Memory problems

Physical and emotional changes

Self-destructive and reckless behavior

Irritability and aggressive behavior

Paranoia and anxiety leading to a need to constantly be on guard and alert

Difficulty sleeping

Anxiety, Phobias, and Other Panic Disorders

Veterans are at risk of developing panic disorders that can have symptoms that impede their ability to work and function normally. Intense stress in the military can end up leading to anxiety disorder as well as certain phobias with debilitating symptoms. 

Veterans with these kinds of disorders experience physical effects such as panic attacks, high blood pressure, high heart rates, and severe reactions to certain triggers.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders involve someone experiencing detachment issues with their memory, emotions, perception, and behavior. These kinds of disorders usually arise as a result of severe stress and trauma which make veterans a high-risk demographic. 

Dissociative disorders include:

Dissociative identity disorder

Dissociative amnesia

Depersonalization/derealization disorder

Sleep Disorders

Many people can experience difficulty sleeping but consistent sleep issues can be diagnosed as mental conditions that the VA covers with disability benefits. The VA currently provides disability benefits for insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. These sleep disorders can often occur as comorbidities with other mental conditions commonly diagnosed among veterans. 

Eating Disorders

America struggles with unhealthy eating but this can cross a threshold into becoming a mental disorder. Some veterans struggle with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder as a result of their stressful experiences in the military. 

These eating disorders can affect your physical health by affecting your weight, nutrition, and can cause damage due to repeated self-induced vomiting. The emotional toll these disorders take as well are not to be disregarded either. This is why the VA supports veterans treating their eating disorders by providing disability benefits.

Schizophrenia, Delusional Disorder, and Other Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are mental health conditions where a person experiences disconnection with reality often in the form of hallucinations or delusions. Some psychotic disorders that affect veterans and are covered by VA disability benefits include:

Schizophrenia

Schizoaffective disorder

Schizophreniform disorder

Brief psychotic disorder

Delusional disorder

Substance-induced psychotic disorder

Depressive Disorder

Sadness is an uncomfortable albeit inevitable emotion we all will feel. Severe melancholy that persists and permeates every aspect of your life to the point that it affects how you function is often diagnosed as depressive disorder or colloquially as depression

Veterans are exposed to uncomfortable, stressful, and severely disturbing things while they serve which can lead to depression. Depression also occurs as a comorbidity with many other mental disorders. 

Veterans may waive off their depression as something temporary or a minor struggle but this mental condition can lead to serious harm. You can seek VA disability benefits and get treatment for this psychological wound. 

Somatoform Disorders

The VA provides disability benefits for somatoform disorders. These mental conditions cause symptoms that are not able to be connected to a physical problem with the body and appear to exist due to psychological disorders instead. These mental conditions require thorough testing to diagnose but are real and eligible for compensation. Somatoform disorders include: 

Illness anxiety disorder

Conversion disorder

Somatic symptom disorder

Pain disorder

How To File a VA Disability Claim For a Mental Health 

Veterans can seek disability benefits for mental conditions they suffer from by filing a claim with the VA. However, in order to successfully get benefits there are several criteria that need to be met. 

You must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training in the United States Military.

You need to have a current health condition that affects your mind or body

The condition needs to be service-connected meaning it was developed as a result of conditions experienced during military service or it was pre-existing and aggravated by time spent in the military. 

If you satisfy these criteria then you may be eligible to file a disability claim with the VA but there is a significant amount of work to do in order to prove your claim. Many veterans with mental conditions can end up having their claims denied due to the intangible nature of their conditions. 

It is only with sufficient evidence and proper observation of the claims process procedure that you can get benefits which can prove difficult for some due to the circumstances of their condition. This can lead to the denial of a mental health condition claim which can be appealed but doing so without the assistance of a veterans’ attorney can prove to be a serious mistake. 

How a VA Disability Lawyer Can Help With Your Mental Health Condition Claim

Getting the assistance of a VA-accredited disability claim lawyer can make all the difference when you are dealing with the VA. A denied claim or unsatisfactory disability rating can drastically affect your quality of life as a veteran. Your service means something to us and our team of VA claim lawyers have proven this through their diligence and success in appealing our clients’ claims.

Getting professional assistance can give you the necessary edge when dealing with the VA’s red tape. Years of experience navigating the appeals process can help you avoid common mistakes and potentially expedite the process of getting you disability benefits

Your VA disability attorney will work with you every step of the process from helping you with filing the necessary forms to meticulously building your case to prove your eligibility for benefits.

Mental Health Condition Claim FAQs

What documents do I need to file a VA disability claim for mental conditions?

Proper documentation is a key component of successfully filing a VA disability claim. The failure to address this critical component is what ends up causing many denials. The documentation you submit to the VA is what proves your condition’s credibility, severity, and connection to your time serving. This is especially important for mental conditions since they typically have no physical wound. 

Some documents that can be helpful for your mental condition claim include:

The doctor’s diagnosis of your specific psychological condition and their opinion on its connection to your service. This is known as a medical nexus.

Other VA and hospital records of your condition’s development and symptoms. 

Any additional statements from those who have witnessed the development and symptoms of your condition.

This is great to have as evidence, but if you have not been seeking treatment for your condition or have not found a provider to complete a nexus statement, don’t worry, that is not the end of the road for your claim.

How long do I have to file a VA claim for a mental condition?

There is no deadline to file a VA disability claim since there are many veterans with conditions that can develop and display symptoms long after their time in the military. However, the VA claims process is not known for its speed so it is recommended that veterans in need of disability benefits begin the process of filing a claim and gathering necessary evidence sooner rather than later. 

How long will a VA claim take or an appeal if my claim is denied?

There is no fixed number of days or time limit for VA claims to be resolved. A number of variables can affect your wait time like the type of condition and the amount of evidence available. Overall, VA claims are not known for their speed so it is best to go in without the expectation that you will be getting benefits in a month or two. It can often take the better part of a year.

As for appeals, they can take even longer. The process for resolving VA claim appeals has gotten faster since there has been a general outcry regarding the wait time but depending on what route you take for an appeal, it can take months to years. 

Contact Bartlett Legal Group About Your Veterans Disability Claim

Bartlett Legal Group is now providing free consultations for veterans who are seeking to appeal denied VA disability claims. Taking on this process alone will put you at a significant disadvantage and can result in mistakes that can cost you your disability benefits.

Our team of veterans’ disability lawyers can provide you with exemplary legal representation that puts the odds in your favor and ensures that your claim will be in capable hands. You do not have to let the VA have the final say on your denied claim. With the help of our veterans’ disability lawyers, you can take on the VA and make them hear out your case to prove your entitlement to benefits.  

To contact Bartlett Legal Group to schedule a free consultation on your veteran disability claim you can either call (850) 332-6434 or schedule online through our contact page

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