• Maurice L. Abarr

Do you think your PTSD rating is too low?

For many veterans getting a rating of 0% or 10% for PTSD is incredibly common. The VA hires raters who do not have proper training and abundant knowledge on most medical conditions. In fact, some veterans have been given a low rating that does not reflect the true severity of their medical condition and its effect on their life.  When they try to challenge the inaccurate rating they don’t know where to start or how to properly do it. Here are ten (10) ideas to help you deal with the rating on your case.


1. It is okay to seek professional help from an attorney.  You do not have to appeal the VA PTSD rating on your own. Attorneys have had countless cases where they’ve dealt with these issues and have successfully resolved them. 


2. Two of the most common mistakes veterans make when filing their VA claims are they did not “connect the dots” in a simple straightforward way for the VA rater or they filed their claim and expected the VA to do the work. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. The VA has numerous claims on their desk and do not have the time to connect the dots. You must put the right evidence into your claim and be as detailed as possible to demonstrate your service connection, this will result in a faster claim with potentially better results.


3. You don’t have to find all the factors on the PTSD signs and symptoms list to qualify for a particular rating, all you need is to prove that your symptoms are similar to the symptoms listed at the rating level you are trying to get. According to the Code of Federal Regulations when rating PTSD, the VA should consider symptoms “such as” those listed.


4. PTSD claims are largely evaluated in terms of the negative impact the condition has on the Social and Occupational aspects of the veteran's life.  The Occupational aspect is most important.  You need to provide as many facts as  you can which demonstrate how your PTSD has either kept you from getting or keeping a job.  Many veterans with PTSD experience problems with keeping a job because of their condition.  Of course, for much the same reasons, PTSD interferes with the veteran's Social life.  However, in reality, the problems with the veteran's Occupational life is the most important in assessing the degree of impairment their PTSD has caused.


5. It is important to note that the VA PTSD rating criteria is NOT a complete list of PTSD symptoms and if yours is not on the list you can argue that your symptoms are similar to ones on the list, especially the higher rated ones.


6. Another thing to note is that most C&P examiners will go through your medical records, seek out the symptoms on their list and try to match those symptoms to yours. If they don’t find it, they will move on and give you a 0% or 10% rating. What you want is for the VA rater to consider the frequency, severity, and chronicity of your PTSD symptoms in work and social settings.


7. Sadly, most VA C&P examiners focus on your most recent symptoms instead of the whole record of evidence. To contest this, make a copy of all medical records related to your PTSD in your C-file, put it in chronological order and outline it, that way your examiner might use it in their decision-making.


8. If you have a claim or appeal filed after August 14, 2014, and the VA or BVA is using a GAF score, they are very likely rating your claim wrong. The GAF scale is a subjective rating that is given heavy consideration even over actual medical evidence.


9. Do not let the absence of certain symptoms be what gets you a low rating. If your VA PTSD rater wants to see certain symptoms that are not stated, you have to fix this with a legal argument and a good attorney.


10. Finally, do not downplay or overplay your symptoms at the C&P exam. Let the doctor see and hear the way your PTSD is affecting you.


Final note nothing can be done without your C-file so make sure you have it.

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