Veterans looking for ADHD VA disability benefits might have success if they look for ratings on similar conditions.
Do you find that you often have trouble paying attention to one task at a time at work? Do you experience strong mood swings that you can’t explain and damage your relationships? Are you unable to multitask, and will the smallest stressors send you into a tailspin that leaves you feeling out of control and unable to cope?
If any of this sounds familiar, you may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and if you served in the military, you may be wondering if you can get ADHD VA disability benefits. Read on to learn more about this condition and how you could get compensation from the VA for your condition.
What We Cover in This Article:
- What Is ADHD?
- Symptoms of ADHD
- Causes of ADHD
- Risk Factors of Adult ADHD
- Complications for Veterans with ADHD
- Coexisting Conditions
- How to Qualify for VA Disability for ADHD
- Why the VA Doesn’t Cover ADHD
- Similar Conditions the VA Does Cover
- Getting a Diagnosis
- Proving a Service Connection
- Getting a Medical Nexus
- How VA Ratings Work
- Combining Multiple VA Ratings
- VA Disability Compensation Rates
- If Your Application is Denied
- Learn How to Get ADHD VA Disability Benefits
What Is ADHD?
Before we dive into VA coverage of ADHD, let’s talk about what ADHD is. Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a condition in which a person has difficulty paying attention or controlling impulses. They may also experience periods of hyperactivity that can have a negative impact on their relationships and their life.
ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, though it can continue into adulthood. This condition can make it hard for a person to keep up at work or even maintain a normal job. Treatment options include medication, psychotherapy, and treatment for any coexisting conditions a person may have.
Just because you have ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t have a normal life or a successful career in the armed forces. If something aggravated it and made your symptoms worse while you served, though, you might want to look into VA disability benefits.
Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD symptoms can vary from person to person, and they can range in severity. Many adults with ADHD may not even realize they have it; they may just think they have a hard time managing everyday tasks. They may miss deadlines, forget meetings, get impatient while sitting in traffic, or experience strong mood swings on a regular basis.
Some additional symptoms can include impulsiveness, disorganization, and poor time management. They may have trouble focusing on one task, have trouble planning or multitasking, have a high temper, and have trouble coping with stress. While we all experience these problems from time to time, you should talk to your doctor if they begin to have a negative impact on your life.
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are similar to the symptoms of PTSD. If you talk to your doctor, also explain that you are a veteran and try to figure out if you may be showing mild symptoms of PTSD.
The VA Rating formula for mental health conditions like PTSD, depression, and other mental health disorders is explained by one of our veterans’ disability lawyers in this video:
Causes of ADHD
Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes ADHD, though research efforts continue. One theory says that ADHD may be passed down genetically. And it is true that if you have a family history of ADHD, you may be at higher risk of developing the condition.
Some doctors also believe a person’s environment, especially when they’re a child, may influence whether they develop ADHD. Lead exposure and similar circumstances may increase your risk of ADHD. Problems with the central nervous system in early development might also be a contributing factor.
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Risk Factors of Adult ADHD
There are a few things that can raise your risk of developing attention deficit hyperactive disorder. First and foremost, as we mentioned, having a blood relative who has ADHD can increase your risk of developing the condition. Exposure to environmental toxins in your home when you were a child may also increase your risk.
Your mother’s habits during her pregnancy can also impact whether you develop ADHD later in life. If she smoked, drank alcohol, or used drugs while she was pregnant, you might be at higher risk. You could also stand a greater chance of developing ADHD if you were born prematurely.
Complications for Veterans with ADHD
Although veterans with ADHD may not have significant physical complications, it can have severe complications in your life. For one thing, you may have a hard time performing well at your job. You might even find it hard to keep a job for more than a few months or years.
Bouncing around jobs can lead to financial challenges or even trouble with the law. People with ADHD might be at higher risk of substance abuse disorders, as well as car accidents. You might have trouble staying in good physical health, your relationships may be unstable, and you may begin to struggle with poor self-esteem.
There are a number of conditions that are often found alongside ADHD. Some of the most common are mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder. Repeated frustrations untreated ADHD can cause can also lead to or worsen depression.
Untreated ADHD can also cause anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. You may also be at higher risk of personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder, or other psychiatric disorders. People with ADHD also commonly have learning disabilities that make it hard to succeed in school or do well on tests.
How to Qualify for VA Disability for ADHD
If you have certain conditions and served in the military, you may be able to get VA disability compensation. In order to qualify for this compensation, you’ll need to meet three specific criteria.
First, you’ll need to have an official diagnosis for your condition from a VA-approved medical doctor. Then you’ll need to be able to point to a specific incident or set of conditions during your military service that could have caused your condition. Finally, you’ll need a medical nexus from your doctor proving a connection between the two.
Why the VA Doesn’t Cover ADHD
As you may have noticed, ADHD is a condition that develops in childhood, even if it isn’t diagnosed until adulthood. This means that it’s impossible to get a service connection and medical nexus for ADHD to qualify for VA disability compensation. So why are we telling you about ADHD if you can’t get compensated for it?
You may be able to get VA disability compensation for conditions related to your ADHD. While this won’t be a direct compensation, you can still get payments for some of your resulting symptoms, including if you have ADHD secondary to PTSD by VA standards. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about getting diagnoses for these additional conditions in order to get VA disability.
Similar Conditions the VA Does Cover
There are a few conditions related to ADHD for which the VA does provide compensation. First among these are anxiety disorders, including OCD. If your ADHD is going untreated, it may also cause you anxiety, which could manifest as compulsions that interfere with your ability to live a healthy life.
Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders can also be connected to ADHD in adults. If your ADHD causes a substance abuse disorder, you could receive VA compensation for that. Other personality disorders may also be covered and are often associated with adult ADHD.
Getting a Diagnosis
In order to get VA disability compensation, you must first get a diagnosis from a certified medical doctor. In the case of ADHD, you will need two diagnoses: one for your ADHD and one for the connected condition is a ratable VA disability. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose these conditions, or they can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist who can.
Before your appointment, try to make a list of all your symptoms and how frequently they occur. Also, put together a personal and family medical history so your doctor can see what conditions you and your family have dealt with in the past. You may want to get hold of your military medical and service records before your appointment.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Proving a Service Connection
The next step in qualifying for VA disability is to prove a service connection. You’ll need to point to a specific incident or set of conditions in your service that could have caused your condition. Remember, in this case, this service connection will be for your secondary condition, not your ADHD.
If you have an anxiety disorder or OCD, almost any set of stressful service conditions can be a service connection. Personality disorders can be connected to particularly traumatic events or circumstances. Substance abuse can also be tied back to particular moments of trauma during your service.
Getting a Medical Nexus
With your diagnosis and service connection in hand, the last thing you’ll need to qualify for VA disability is a medical nexus. This is a statement from your doctor affirming that your condition is at least as likely as not caused by the event in your service record. In this case, they will need to provide a medical nexus for your secondary condition, not your ADHD.
A medical nexus is designed to keep veterans from claiming disability for incidents that occurred after their service. If you get in a car crash five years after you leave the military, you can’t claim compensation for a traumatic brain injury. However, if you received a concussion in the military, you may have a legitimate claim.
The Nexus Letter is like the missing link to a successful VA disability compensation claim. In this video, one of our veteran’s disability lawyers explains the importance of the Nexus Letter.
How VA Ratings Work
Once your disability claim is approved, the VA will assign you a disability rating. This rating reflects how much your condition impacts your ability to lead a normal, healthy life. The higher the number, the more your condition impacts you.
VA ratings are expressed as percentages and range from 10 to 100 percent. The VA will use these as the primary factor in determining how much compensation you’ll receive each month. For the purposes of compensation, they will round your disability rating to the nearest 10 percent.
Combining Multiple VA Ratings
If you have multiple conditions that the VA covers, you may need to combine your disability ratings to get one overall rating. Keep in mind that because the VA does not compensate for ADHD, you will not be eligible for a rating for that condition. However, if you have depression and OCD, for instance, you may be able to get a combined rating for both of those conditions.
Let’s say you have a 30 percent rating for your OCD and a 10 percent rating for your depression. Using a VA chart or our VA disability calculator, you’ll find that your combined rating for both conditions will be 37 percent. This will round to a 40 percent overall rating for compensation purposes.
VA Disability Compensation Rates
Your disability rating will determine how much money you get from the VA each month. For instance, if you have a 10 percent rating, you’ll get $152.64 each month. If you have a 20 percent rating, you’ll get $301.74 tax-free every month.
For ratings over 30 percent, the VA also considers whether you have people depending on you financially when deciding on your compensation rate. For instance, if you have a 50 percent rating and no dependents, you’ll receive $958.44 each month. But if you have a 50 percent rating and a spouse and a child depending on you financially, you’ll get more than $1,000 tax-free payments every month.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
If Your Application is Denied
If your VA disability application is denied, don’t worry – you can always appeal this decision. You can also appeal ratings that you feel are unfairly low. If needed, you can even send your case all the way up to the BVA in Washington, D.C.
If you plan to appeal your case, it may be a good idea to hire a lawyer who specializes in veteran affairs. For one thing, we can help you navigate the confusing world of deadlines, evidence submission, and more. But we can also give you tips to make sure your application or appeal is successful the first time.
Learn How to Get ADHD VA Disability Benefits
ADHD is a challenging condition that can have a huge impact on your life. And while the VA may not compensate for this condition, they will cover other conditions that can be related to ADHD. Talk to your doctor today about which coexisting conditions you may be living with and how you can get the compensation you’re entitled to.
If you’d like help getting ADHD VA disability benefits, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you don’t pay unless we win. Contact us today and start getting the compensation you deserve.