What Do Different VA PTSD Disability Ratings Mean?

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The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or VA, ranks the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, using a special scale; a zero percent rating is assigned to mental illnesses that have a minimal impact on social functioning, explains Nolo. In contrast, completely dysfunctional individuals are given a 100 percent rating.

The lowest ranking, zero percent, is assigned to individuals with PTSD symptoms so mild that regular treatment is unneeded and social functioning is unimpaired, states Nolo. Such individuals are not eligible for payments, but they may qualify for certain benefits. A 10 percent rating is given to mental illness symptoms that are successfully manageable with regular medication and those that impair social function only in situations of extreme stress.

The VA assigns a 30 percent rating to those who occasionally suffer social or work-related impairment but are generally able to communicate and take care of themselves, Nolo advises. A 50 percent rating indicates that an individual is unreliable due to impaired judgement, an unstable emotional state, impaired memory and poor comprehension. These individuals may also suffer from frequent panic attacks.

A 70 percent rating is assigned to those who have suicidal thoughts, illogical speech, obsessive habits and considerably impaired social functioning, explains Nolo. A 100 percent rating is a sign that the affected individual is completely unable to function socially, suffers from persistent hallucinations and extreme confusion, and is unable to recall elementary information such as names of family members.