Veterans Disability Info Blog

Anxiety and the VA: Your Top Questions Addressed by a Knowledgeable Attorney

Veterans suffering from anxiety have resources available to them from the VA to receive the medical care they require, and when the condition qualifies, tax-free payments to replace lost earnings linked to the condition. Anxiety can be a debilitating condition that negatively impacts not only your personal life, but also your ability to maintain steady, gainful employment. Documenting the way in which your anxiety impacts your life and any other related psychological conditions will help you receive an accurate rating. 

If you have a current diagnosis for a service-connected disability and need to add anxiety through a supplemental claim, your benefits increase in proportion to your new rating. If your application for anxiety has been rejected, and you need to appeal, our experienced VA disability benefits lawyers can help ensure you receive an accurate anxiety VA rating. Keep this in mind when considering your best options, and read on to learn more about anxiety, how it could be linked to your active service, and how our disabled veterans’ law firm can help. 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is generally described as a feeling of overwhelming fear, dread, and unease. Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress and the difficulties of day-to-day life, but it becomes a problem when it begins to negatively impact your ability to enjoy life and work. Anxiety can lead to tension, restlessness, a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and other physical manifestations. Limited experiences of anxiety before important situations such as taking a test or facing an issue at work can be helpful in the short-term as it can lead to increased focus or energy. Anxiety disorders, however, result in fear that is not only long-term but can be overwhelming. 

A veteran’s anxiety becomes a disorder when the condition does not go away with time. The symptoms interfere with daily activities, including relationships, schoolwork, and job performance. VA disability provides medical coverage for any condition that you have a current diagnosis for, even with a 0 percent disability rating, and from there, tax-free payments are available to make up for any change in your income and earnings ability. 

Is it hard to get VA disability for anxiety?

Receiving benefits for your service-connected disability requires you to meet specific criteria set forth by the VA. For your initial VA disability claim, attorneys cannot help, although free assistance is available for veterans applying for their initial VA disability benefits. To apply, you need to minimum requirements:

  • A current diagnosis for your anxiety or other condition
  • Your current diagnosis was caused primarily or secondarily because of your qualifying active service
  • You have a medical opinion that links your current diagnosis to your current condition

This information is provided through a medical diagnosis you can seek out on your own, or the VA will provide you with the opportunity to undergo a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam. Without sufficient medical evidence, the VA may require you to undergo the C&P Exam. It is essential that you provide thorough and complete information to the VA concerning your symptoms of anxiety and how they impact your day-to-day life. 

What is the average VA rating for anxiety?

The most common rating that a veteran with service-connected anxiety receives is 30 percent. At this rating, a veteran is generally capable of functioning in a satisfactory manner across domains of life, including communication, behavior, self-care, and work. They may experience occasional difficulty at work including a decrease in work efficiency, as well as periods during which occupations cannot be performed effectively. The purpose of receiving VA disability compensation is to cover the impact on a veteran’s ability to work and generate earnings for their family, and $524.31 is the starting amount available. 

At a 0 percent anxiety VA rating, you have a current diagnosis of service-connected anxiety, but it does not impact your day-to-day life. It has no impact on your earnings potential, so there is no potential for tax-free payments, although medical coverage for any and all related treatments, including medications and mental health services, are covered. These services may be received at a VA facility, or through providers that are approved by the VA, with help aligning the available from your local VA. 

A 10 percent disability rating means that the VA recognizes that your anxiety impacts your daily life in a more significant way. However, it can be largely managed through treatment and medications. Given that there is a minimal impact on your capacity to work, you are eligible for disability payments at the 10 percent rate, which can be added to other VA disability ratings for additional conditions, entitling the veteran to $171.23 each month. 

At 50 percent, the anxiety sufferer is experiencing both social and occupational impairment. This leads to reduced reliability and productivity at work due to symptoms including flattened effects, panic attacks that occur more than once each week, difficulty comprehending complex demands, as well as the impairment of both short- and long-term memory. Judgment may be impaired alongside abstract thinking, and the veteran with this anxiety rating may forget to complete tasks or be unable to learn how to perform new ones. The substantial occupational impairment that this results in leads to eligibility for a monthly payment of $1,075.16. 

If you receive a VA disability rating of 70 percent for your generalized anxiety, you experience both social and occupational impairment, including deficiencies in most areas of life, including work, school, family, judgment, thinking, and mood. Symptoms can include suicidal ideation, obsessive rituals that interfere with regular activities, intermittent illogical speech, near-ongoing panic or depression that impacts the veteran’s ability to function independently, and issues with impulse control, including periods of violence or unprovoked irritability. A 70 percent rating entitles the veteran to $1,716.28, although this amount increases when a veteran has a spouse, dependents like children or parents, and other conditions. 

A veteran at a 100 percent anxiety VA rating experiences total occupational and social impairment. This is due to symptoms that include gross impairment in communication or thought process, ongoing delusions or hallucinations, persistent danger to self and/or others, grossly inappropriate behavior, and an intermittent inability to perform the activities of daily life. At a 100 percent rating, a veteran’s tax-free monthly VA disability payment begins at $3,373.85. 

What are the symptoms of anxiety in veterans?

The symptoms of anxiety that veterans experience depends upon the type of anxiety that they have developed. There are a number of different anxiety disorders, including:

  • GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder – persons suffering from GAD experience ongoing worries about issues including health, work, family, and money. These worries are characterized as excessive and are experienced nearly every day for a period of at least 6 months. 
  • Panic disorder – persons suffering from panic disorder experience panic attacks, which are sudden, repeated periods of intense fear that is experienced when there is no actual danger. The panic attacks come on suddenly and can last for a number of minutes or longer. This can have an impact on both the personal and professional life of the sufferer. 
  • Phobias – these are a form of anxiety disorder that cause intense fears about things that pose little to no danger, such as fear of flying, crowded places, spiders, or social situations, often referred to as social anxiety

Anxiety is caused by a variety of reasons, although the exact causes are not entirely known. Generally, factors including brain biology, chemistry, genetics, and your environment and stress levels may also influence your symptoms. 

What is an example of service-related anxiety?

A veteran whose anxiety makes them unable to perform at work due to panic attacks because of PTSD is a common example of how anxiety develops in veterans. Tracking how this impacts your life is helpful in providing the VA with evidence. Keeping a journal of how your symptoms impact your life is helpful to submit with your application to the VA for supportive evidence. It is also useful to gather statements from your friends, family, and coworkers who are familiar with how your anxiety impacts your daily life, capacity to maintain personal relationships, and performance at work. The greater the impact that your anxiety has on your life, the greater the resulting anxiety VA rating you’ll receive alongside higher tax-free monthly payments. 

Connect with a VA Disability Lawyer for Assistance on Your Appeal or Supplemental Claim

The times to reach out to a VA disability benefits lawyer are as follows:

  • If your initial claim for anxiety was denied, and you need to file an appeal
  • If you have a current VA disability rating for anxiety, but your conditions have worsened, and you need to update your rating with new evidence. 
  • When you already have a VA disability rating for a different service-connected disability and need to add anxiety 

To learn how we can help, connect with a local VA disability benefits lawyer for your free initial consultation now.

We are Here to Help

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.