This article explains how to obtain your schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits. We’ll cover applying, appealing, secondary service-connected conditions, tips, and service-connection problems. If you have more questions after reading the article below, give us a call. Our lawyers have helped many veterans with schizoaffective disorder get VA disability benefits. We offer free legal consultations to any veteran that needs assistance. You can ask us questions about your claim at no cost. Click here to start your free legal consultation.
Service-Connection & Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health condition that includes symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder, bipolar disorder, or depression. Schizoaffective disorder occurs in 0.3% of the population. Veterans with schizoaffective disorder may experience symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, manic behavior, hygiene problems, occupational issues, recklessness, and more. Schizoaffective disorder is often characterized by talking to yourself, hearing voices, low moods, high moods, and more. Schizoaffective disorder is generally treated with antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Here are the causes of schizoaffective disorder and how veterans may service-connect this condition:
- Brain Chemistry: Many veterans with schizoaffective disorder developed the condition through brain chemistry. That means your brain essentially caused the schizoaffective disorder through chemical imbalances or brain structure.
- Drug Use: Veterans with PTSD, depression, anxiety MST, and other service-connected conditions often self-medicate through drug use. Schizoaffective disorder is commonly caused by drug usage. We want you to know that drug usage does not bar you from receiving a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating. Drug usage is often the link used to service-connect schizoaffective disorder.
- Genetics: Many veterans develop schizoaffective disorder because of their genetics. Often, our VA disability lawyers find that military service aggravated the veteran’s genetic schizoaffective disorder.
- Stress: As any veteran knows, military service is stressful whether you served during peacetime or wartime. Stress can aggravate or cause schizoaffective disorder. Lots of veterans are able to service-connect their schizoaffective disorder to stress from military service.
- Traumatic Event: Schizoaffective disorder is often the result of a traumatic event in the military. Many veterans with a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating encountered enemy fire, an IED, a sexual assault, serious injury, or witnessed the death of a close friend.
Other Conditions Related to Schizoaffective Disorder
- Anxiety: If you are trying to obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits and also have service-connected anxiety, don’t forget to include both conditions on your application.
- Bipolar Disorder: Veterans that are applying for a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits are often also bipolar. Schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder have many of the same characteristics. Lots of veterans have both conditions and receive a VA disability rating for both.
- Depression: A large number of veterans with schizoaffective disorder also suffer from depression. If you are trying to obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating you should also apply for depression if you have a diagnosis.
- Major Depressive Disorder: Schizoaffective disorder is often linked to major depressive disorder. Vets can receive a combined schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits alongside their major depressive disorder.
- Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Schizoaffective disorder and MST are often linked to the same event for veterans. If you were a victim of sexual abuse in the military and have schizoaffective disorder and MST, you may be able to prove both conditions are from the traumatic event.
- Panic Disorder: Our lawyers see many veterans that obtain a schizoaffective VA disability rating and a panic disorder rating. Schizoaffective disorder and panic disorder do have overlapping characteristics.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Many veterans with schizoaffective disorder also suffer from PTSD. Both conditions often relate back to the same stressor event. If you apply for both, your PTSD and schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating may be combined because they are both mental issues.
- Schizophrenia: Schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia are closely related. Veterans with schizoaffective disorder are schizophrenic and also have a mood disorder.
- Sleep Disorder: Many vets who obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits also have a sleep disorder. Mental conditions, such as schizoaffective disorder, can be aggravated by sleep disorders and vice-versa.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Veterans who obtained a TBI in service often have serious mental conditions related to the trauma. We often see veterans with a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating that had a diagnosis of TBI sometime in their life.
Appealing a Schizoaffective Disorder Claim Denial
Have you received a denial of your schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating? Don’t worry, it’s actually fairly common. The VA makes lots of veterans with legitimate claims appeal. The good news is many veterans do overturn their schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating denials and win their appeals.
The VA denies schizoaffective disorder claims for many reasons. The first reason is just good old fashioned error. You should see some of the denials that potential clients bring our VA benefits appeals lawyers. We recently saw a denial where a veteran lost both his legs to an IED in Iraq. The VA said his injuries were not considered service-connected. Let that process for a second. This young man almost died, had all the necessary documentation to prove the event happened, he obtained a Purple Heart, clearly has no legs, and the VA still denied his service-connection.
The second reason many veterans are denied their schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating is lack of medical documentation. You are going to need evidence to prove to the VA that you have schizoaffective disorder. You also want to present them with evidence showing the severity of your schizoaffective disorder. The more your life is affected, the higher your schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating should be.
The third reason many veterans are denied their schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating is lack of service-connection. To obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating, you will need to show how your active-duty military service is the cause of your condition.
FAQ: Schizoaffective Disorder VA Disability Claims
My schizoaffective disorder claim was just denied, what should I do?
If you were just denied a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating, you can appeal. Veterans who are denied a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits have up to one year to file an appeal. But that doesn’t mean you should wait. The longer you take to file your schizoaffective disorder VA disability claim, the longer you will wait to get a final decision.
Can I appeal if I received a low-rating?
Yes. If you received a low-rating on your initial application, you can appeal within one year of the Rating Decision. Many veterans are initially given a low schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating on their initial application and are forced to appeal the VA’s decision.
What if my schizoaffective disorder claim was denied years ago?
If you were denied over one year ago, your appeal period has ended. However, you can try to obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating by filing a new claim. There is no limit to how many claims you can file with the VA.
My schizoaffective disorder has worsened since my last Rating Decision; what now?
If your last decision was over one year ago and condition has worsened, you may want to file to increase your schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating. You can file for a ratings increase whenever you feel your condition has become more severe. Remember, if your file for a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating increase, the VA can always lower your rating. You can always appeal their decision, but you want to be sure you are entitled to the increase before filing.
Can I hire a lawyer for my schizoaffective disorder claim?
Yes. In years passed, veterans were not able to hire lawyers against the VA. This basically allowed the VA to do whatever they wanted with claims. Veterans were not able to get qualified representation to fight for them. Nowadays, veterans can hire lawyers to help them obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating for veterans benefits claims.
What does a veterans benefits lawyer cost?
At Woods & Woods, our fee is 20% of back pay and case expenses (things like doctors reports) if your schizoaffective disorder claim is successful. If you do not obtain benefits or a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating, you pay us nothing. Remember, some law firms do charge up to 33% of back pay. Make sure you ask your potential schizoaffective disorder claim lawyer what they charge before your hire them.
Do I have to hire a veterans benefits lawyer?
No. You are not required to hire a veterans benefits lawyer to obtain a schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating. However, the VA will have a lawyer. Shouldn’t you? VA law is much more complex than most veterans realize. There are thousands of rules and regulations that could affect your claim. For example, our lawyers often use case law in briefs. We have discovered those cases through our years of fighting for veterans.
Help For Veterans Who Can’t Work From Schizoaffective Disorder
Veterans that can’t work from service-connected disabilities may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits. Schizoaffective disorder can render many veterans unemployable. The Individual Unemployability lawyers at Woods & Woods have helped many veterans with schizoaffective disorder receive Individual Unemployability benefits. Those veterans are eligible to receive over $3,400 a month from the VA.
Individual Unemployability benefits do not require veterans to obtain a 100 percent VA rating, but they pay the same. If you obtain a high enough schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating, you should consider pursuing Individual Unemployability benefits. Below are a few pages that may help you better understand Individual Unemployability benefits for schizoaffective disorder.
- Individual Unemployability Fact Sheet
- VA Unemployability Requirements & Income Limits
- Individual Unemployability Denials
Get Help With Your Schizoaffective Disorder VA Disability Rating From a Veterans Benefits Lawyer
Woods & Woods has been fighting for injured and disabled people since 1985. The VA disability lawyers at Woods & Woods have successfully represented thousands of veterans and their families. When you hire Woods & Woods, you’ll get an experienced VA-certified disability attorney who will fight for you. Our veterans disability benefits lawyers only charge a fee is we win your appeal. Help with the application is always free.
If you need assistance, Woods & Woods VA disability compensation lawyers always offers free legal consultations. We can discuss your schizoaffective disorder VA disability rating and your veterans benefits claim. There is never an obligation to hire our veterans benefits lawyers just because you called. Ask us questions and we’ll be more than happy to answer them. We can discuss your legal options as a veteran with schizoaffective disorder.