Veterans Disability Info Blog

Quick Guide: VA Disability Criteria for Depression

When you have service-related depression, the depression VA rating that you receive will determine the amount of compensation benefits that you are eligible to receive. As we’ll discuss, any veteran with a current diagnosis of a service-related disability is eligible to receive medical coverage, but only certain veterans qualify for tax-free compensation. You must have a rating of 10 percent or more to receive financial compensation each month.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression as a result of an event, injury, or illness during active service or as a secondary condition from another service-related condition, you could qualify for coverage. Free resources are available to help you file an initial VA disability application. 

To add depression to your VA disability rating or to appeal a denial of your earlier claim for depression, one of our VA disability lawyers can help. 

Symptoms of Depression 

As detailed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, depression is “a common but serious disorder and typically requires treatment to manage.” At its most basic definition, depression is sadness that is significant enough that it begins to interfere with your daily life. 

Signs and symptoms of depression include: 

  • Feelings of intense sadness and/or hopelessness
  • A loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt 
  • Beginning to avoid social situations and prior relationships 
  • Difficulty sleeping, whether sleeping too much or not enough on most days
  • Changes in appetite whether overeating or not eating enough food
  • A decrease in energy and motivation nearly every day 

The management of depression is important to minimizing the negative impact of related symptoms on your day-to-day life and ability to work. Mental health care and treatments are available to veterans through the VA when depression is service-related or secondary to a service-related condition. 

Depression as a Secondary Service-related Condition

When you can prove that your depression or anxiety disorder is linked to your qualifying service in the U.S. Armed Forces or qualifying organization and received a diagnosis other than dishonorable,  you will generally qualify for VA disability benefits. The severity of your symptoms determines your depression VA rating, as we’ll explore below. It is important to understand that your depression can develop after your service as a result of a different service-related condition. 

A primary condition of depression would be the development of symptoms during or shortly after the end of active service linked to an event, injury, or illness during active service. A secondary condition is one that emerges due to another primary condition. For example, physical injuries can result in a marked change in the mental health of an individual. If you experienced a physical injury that resulted in permanent disability during active military service, depression that develops due to your injury would be secondary. 

Lining up benefits for your service-related disability requires that you submit evidence of your symptoms to the VA from a qualified medical professional. The VA can provide access to assessments for your initial application. We hope it’s not, but if your claim is denied, our VA disability benefits attorneys can help with the appeal process. 

VA Disability Compensation Replaces Lost Income 

The purpose of VA disability compensation is to make up for any negative change that your service-related disability has upon your ability to maintain steady, gainful employment. When you have a diagnosis of depression at even a 0 percent disability rating, you will be able to receive medical benefits from the VA for your condition. Once you reach the 10 percent or greater rating you start to qualify for VA disability compensation payments in the form of monthly tax-free payments. 

When veterans have a disability rating of 10 percent for depression, their symptoms can be managed and do not significantly impact their day-to-day life. As the percent rating increases, the impact on day-to-day life, including both personal relationships and professional/work performance, also rises. To compensate for the drop in income, the VA provides the following amounts in tax-free monthly payments based upon your depression VA rating: 

  • $171.23 per month for 10% disability
  • $338.49 per month for 20% disability
  • $524.31 per month for 30% disability
  • $755.28 per month for 40% disability
  • $1,075.16 per month for 50% disability
  • $1,361.88 per month for 60% disability
  • $1,716.28 per month for 70% disability
  • $1,995.01 per month for 80% disability
  • $2,241.91 per month for 90% disability
  • $3,737.85 per month for 100% disability

These are the amounts provided to a veteran alone without any dependents. When you have a spouse, a dependent parent/s, and dependent children, the amount in monthly tax-free payments that you are eligible for increases if you have a 30 percent rating or higher.

Statements Can be Submitted to the VA in Support of Your Depression VA Rating

It is essential to provide the VA with sufficient information to completely and accurately rate your disability. You are able to provide information from your own medical professional in support of your claim, as well as additional statements from service members you served with, family, and also co-workers and employers. 

Your initial application can be supported through a variety of sources of evidence to ensure that your claim is approved. When depression develops later as a result of a primary service-related condition, the evidence provided with your supplemental claim ensures that your new VA disability rating fully incorporates the symptoms of your depression. 

Connect with a VA Disability Lawyer for Help with Your Appeal

To discuss how we can help you collect the compensation you deserve through an accurate and complete depression VA rating, give us a call at 888-878-9350 or visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

We are Here to Help

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