About Major Depressive Disorder VA Disability Benefits Ratings For Veterans
Some veterans may experience prolonged periods of depression after their service. While there is no cure for Major Depressive Disorder (aka depression), there are various treatments. Each veteran will respond differently to medication and other treatment options. Many veterans will fight major depressive disorder their entire lives. Some veterans will find that their major depressive disorder is severe enough to prevent them from working. We have an entire section later in this article dedicated to veterans that can’t work from major depressive disorder.
If your major depressive disorder is considered a service-connected disability, the VA will assign a rating of either 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. If you receive a 0% rating, the VA found your major depressive disorder to be service-connected but also found that the condition does not affect your life enough to receive benefits. Believe it or not, this happens to veterans all the time. On the other side of the scale, veterans that receive a 100% rating will receive over $2,900 a month.
Depression is common among veterans. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 6.7% of U.S. adults had a depressive episode in 2015. The National Alliance on Mental Health Issues reports that more than 14% of veterans suffer from depression. That is more than double the average in the civilian population. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that the median onset age for Major Depressive Disorder is 32.5 years old. The American Psychological Association reports that women are more likely to suffer than men.
Learn More: Figure out your monthly disability payment with our VA Disability Rating Calculator
Other Mental Conditions & Major Depressive Disorder
Veterans can apply for major depressive disorder VA disability benefits and other mental conditions at the same time. These mental conditions should be considered service-connected as long as there is a nexus to your military service. The VA is likely to give you one rating for all your mental impairments. So remember, the more conditions you have and the more severe they are, the higher your rating should be.
Major depressive disorder is often coupled with anxiety. Veterans who are eligible for major depressive disorder benefits are often also eligible for anxiety veterans benefits as well. Anxiety may be a symptom of your major depressive disorder. On the other hand, many veteran’s depression may have been triggered by their anxiety.
While major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are not diagnosed together often, many veterans may have an incorrect diagnosis. These two mental conditions are often misdiagnosed because they have many similarities. If you call a lawyer about your major depressive disorder, they may investigate into bipolar disorder veterans benefits as well.
The National Institute for Health found that nearly half of people with PTSD also have major depressive disorder. If you suffer from major depressive disorder and had a traumatic event in the military, you may consider also applying for PTSD veterans disability benefits. Many veterans with major depressive disorder also have PTSD.
Depression and schizophrenia are often directly related to each other. Many veterans with schizophrenia experience serious depression during their psychotic episodes. If you are a veteran with both conditions, apply for your major depressive disorder at the same time you apply for schizophrenia veterans disability benefits.
This video explains how the VA will rate your mental conditions:
Secondary Service-Connected Impairments & Major Depressive Disorder
Veterans can also service-connect major depressive disorder if it is secondary to your service-connected physical impairments. The best way to obtain a higher rating is to connect the dots to all of your secondary service-connected impairments.
Secondary Service-Connected Physical Impairments
Major depressive disorder often affects veterans who have been in physical pain for a long time. Disabled veterans often experience depression that is secondary to their service-connected physical impairments. For example, a veteran with chronic back pain may experience severe depression because they can’t do everything they used to be able to do from their back pain.
Secondary Service-Connected Mental Impairments
Major depressive disorder is often linked to other mental conditions. Veterans with mental conditions often experience prolonged periods of depression. Mental conditions regularly are linked to other mental conditions.
FAQ: Major Depressive Disorder VA Disability Benefits For Veterans
What conditions should I include when filing my claim?
If you are filing a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim, don’t forget to include all your other service-connected conditions. Our VA disability compensation lawyers always tell veterans to “file for everything in the world.” Because you don’t practice VA law daily, you may not even understand how some of your medical conditions are related to your time in the service.
What if my VA disability rating seems low?
You may be right. The VA often gives veterans ratings that are too low. Increasing your VA disability benefits rating can be done by filing an appeal if your decision was within the last one year.
What if my rating is correct but my effective date is wrong?
This happens all the time. The VA often hands out incorrect effective dates, which can rob veterans of VA disability back pay. If this happens on your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim, you can file an earlier effective date claim. This type of claim allows veterans to keep their major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating, but challenge the amount of back pay they received. Many veterans recoup missing back pay from filing earlier effective date claims.
If my claim is denied, then approved on appeal, will I receive my missing benefits?
Yes. If your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim is denied, then approved on appeal, you should receive a retroactive payment. Veterans that have successful appeals sometimes receive substantial amounts of VA disability back pay. For example, two years of missing back pay at a 100% VA disability rating is a whopping $69,763.92.
What if my conditions have worsened since my last Rating Decision?
If it has been over 12 months since your last Rating Decision and your major depressive disorder has become worse, you can file a claim to increase your rating. Many mental and physical conditions do worsen over time and the VA recognizes that.
I was denied years ago, can I apply again?
Yes. If you filed a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim a long time ago and you were denied, you can file a new claim. There is no limit to how many times you can apply for a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating.
I applied years ago and never received a decision. What now?
You could have an open major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim if you never received a Rating Decision. Sometimes veterans never hear back from the VA because of some clerical error. If the major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim you filed years ago is still considered open, it could be accruing retroactive benefits right now.
Major Depressive Disorder and Individual Unemployability Benefits
Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits are available to veterans who cannot work because of their service-connected mental and physical conditions. If you’re eligible for major depressive disorder VA disability benefits and cannot work because of your conditions, Individual Unemployability benefits may be for you. Our Individual Unemployability lawyers often see veterans with major depressive disorder win these types of claims. Major depressive disorder prevents many veterans from being able to keep or obtain meaningful employment.
If your major depressive disorder is not expected to improve, you could receive a permanent and total rating. While this is not always easy to do, it can be done. Many mental conditions will never improve over time even with the proper treatment. In fact, many veterans see their mental conditions worsen over time, instead of improving.
Steps to Applying For Major Depressive Disorder VA Disability Benefits
- Get Your Evidence: You are going to need evidence to obtain a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating. The VA does not just hand out major depressive disorder VA disability benefits ratings. You will need to prove that you are entitled to a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating. Medical evidence is crucial to any major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim.
- Legal Research: Do your research before you file your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim. There are thousands of federal regulations that you can use to your advantage. For example, there are certain ways to expedite your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim. VA law is actually very favorable towards veterans and you can use it in your favor.
- Fill Out Application: When you fill out your application, make sure you fill out everything correctly. Sometimes small mistakes can send a claim into the VA disability benefits appeal process. For example, suppose you are applying for Agent Orange benefits and you submit incorrect service dates, the VARO might find you were not in Vietnam because of the incorrect dates you put down. Don’t expect the VA to go check your DD-214, the claims processors often don’t do everything they should to assist claims.
- Get a Qualified Opinion: Before you send in your application, you should talk with our law firm. There isn’t a fee to talk to us about your application. We never charge veterans for help with their major depressive disorder VA disability benefits applications. Ask us all the questions you have and we’ll answer them.
- Send Application: Once you feel your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim is complete, make sure you send it to the right place! Too often veterans send their applications to the wrong VARO. If you aren’t sure where to send your application, give us a call. We can give you the correct information.
- Continue Treating With Doctors: Once your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim has been submitted, keep treating with your doctors. If you end up needing to submit a VA disability rating appeal, you can use the medical evidence from your doctors on your appeal.
Major Depressive Disorder VA Disability Benefits Appeals & Denials
Lots of veterans initially have their VA disability denied. A large number of major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating claims are denied. The VA makes a lot of mistakes when processing claims. Every year, thousands of veterans who are denied call our VA benefits appeals lawyers looking for help. Do not give up hope after a VA disability denial, you can appeal.
If your claim was denied in the last 12 months, you can file an appeal. If your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim was denied over 12 months ago, you will need to file a new claim and start the application process over from the beginning.
If you have received your VA disability Rating Decision letter, we can review it for free and give you a legal opinion about your claim. We will be brutally honest with you. Sometimes we have to tell veterans that their 80% VA disability rating is all they are entitled to at this time and that they should not appeal.
Appealing a major depressive disorder VA disability benefits rating can be hard for veterans to do on their own. According to the current VA disability benefits timeline, an appeal can take years. We can’t stress how important it is for veterans who were denied to talk with a VA-certified disability attorney. You want someone with experience to handle your appeal.
Talk To A Major Depressive Disorder VA Disability Benefits Lawyer
Need help? Since 1985, Woods & Woods has aggressively fought for injured and disabled people. We are recognized nationally as a leading veterans disability benefits law firm. Woods & Woods veterans disability benefits lawyers have helped thousands of veterans just like you. We offer free major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim evaluations to any veteran or family member that needs assistance. There is never an obligation to hire us just because you called and asked questions.
If you do decide to hire a VA disability lawyer at Woods & Woods, we only charge if you win your claim. If your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim is not successful, you won’t owe us a penny. Our fee is a percentage of back pay and case expenses (thing like doctors reports). We will never touch your future benefits and we never bill by the hour. Our veterans benefits lawyers will not ask for money up front to handle your major depressive disorder VA disability benefits claim.
When you hire Woods & Woods, you will get an experienced veterans disability lawyer and a large support staff. Your legal team at Woods & Woods consists of lawyers, doctors, case managers, psychologists, vocational experts, and more.