Depression Appeals and Reconsiderations

Mental health is a severe epidemic in our country and significantly impacts our military veterans. According to recent studies, depression in the military is higher than in the general public, which is the likely result of multiple military stressors such as combat, deployment, and constant moves. The VA estimates that depression affects approximately one-third of all veterans. If you are a veteran who struggles with or has been diagnosed with depression, you may have a valid VA claim for disability compensation for depression

Veterans who are eligible for a disability claim must have a current diagnosis of depression. You must also prove that your depression began or was aggravated as a result of military service and that there is a nexus (connection) between your depression diagnosis and your military service. Depression must be diagnosed by the appropriate mental health professional using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders 5th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR), the diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association. The best evidence is a diagnosis of depression in your military treatment records, although some military veterans may not seek treatment, and thus, a resulting diagnosis until after service. 

VA disability for depression may also be secondary to certain service-connected primary conditions. For example, suppose you already have a disability rating for chronic pain. You may receive a disability rating for a current diagnosis of depression if you can prove it was a result of your service-connected chronic pain diagnosis. 

Appealing Your Denial/Low Rating of Your Depression Claim

For a variety of reasons, the VA may deny a claim for depression (i.e.) because you do not have a current DSM-5-TR diagnosis of depression, there is no evidence that your depression occurred or was aggravated by your military service, or there is no link between your depression and active service. You may also receive a rating that appears too low based on your symptoms. Your next step is to file an appeal of the VA’s decision. 

You must file your appeal within one year of the date of your decision letter. You have three avenues to choose from in which to appeal: file a Supplemental Claim, request a Higher-Level Review, or file an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). An experienced attorney can recommend the best route for your particular case.

Speak with a VA Disability Attorney for Depression Today

Gang & Associates can help you gather the appropriate evidence, including proper medical assessments, to support your appeal. We know what evidence to provide the VA to demonstrate why your appeal should be granted or increased based on the severity of your depression. This is when it is time to contact a seasoned VA disability attorney who can evaluate your claim and decide the best way to proceed on appeal. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case so we may guide you on your next steps.