Veteran Benefits for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can be debilitating, with symptoms ranging from hallucinations and delusions to impaired communication, disordered thinking, and impaired ability to engage in normal activities such as tending to personal hygiene. These symptoms can make it difficult or impossible for a person to be self-supporting, or even to attend to their own personal matters. There is no known cure for schizophrenia, and the condition typically requires lifelong treatment.
Veterans who suffer from schizophrenia and can establish a service connection may be eligible for veterans disability benefits. The amount and type of benefits will depend on the VA disability rating.
Establishing a Service Connection for Schizophrenia
As with any other condition that isn’t presumptively service-connected, a veteran seeking VA disability benefits for schizophrenia will have to establish that:
- The condition was caused by an illness you contracted or injury suffered during military service (an “in service” claim), or
- Military service aggravated a pre-existing illness or injury (a “pre-service” claim), or
- The condition is related to your active-duty service, even though you became disabled later
Because this condition is diagnosed by exclusion, it may take time to identify the condition, and it may be initially diagnosed. So, veterans disability benefits advocates suffering from schizophrenia may have to assemble evidence from past medical records and other sources to show that the condition started during or shortly after military service. This can be a complicated process and is best tackled with the help of an experienced VA disability benefits advocate.
Disability Ratings for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is one of several conditions assessed under a common set of criteria for mental disorders. There are six possible disability ratings, depending on the severity of symptoms and how those symptoms impact occupational and social functions.
- 100% disability rating: a 100% disability rating for this condition is assigned when the veteran suffers total occupational and social impairment. Symptoms may include persistent hallucinations or delusions, grossly inappropriate behavior, intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living, and disorientation as to time and place.
- 70% disability rating for schizophrenia: a 70% rating is assigned when the veteran has impairment of occupational and social function in most areas. Symptoms may include impaired judgment, difficulty establishing and maintaining work relationships, flattened affect, and mood disturbances.
- 50% disability rating for schizophrenia: a 50% disability rating is assigned if the veteran exhibits occupational and social impairment resulting in reduced productivity and reliability
- 30% disability rating for schizophrenia: a 30% rating is assigned when the veteran shows occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in productivity and intermittent inability to perform occupational tasks.
- 10% disability rating for schizophrenia: a 10% disability rating is assigned when the veteran exhibits occupational and social impairment which decreases efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of high stress, or if symptoms are controlled with continuous medication.
A veteran may also be assigned a 0% disability rating if they have a service-connected diagnosis but suffer mild symptoms of the condition that do not require continuous medication and do not impair occupational and social functioning.
Give Yourself the Best Chance for a Successful VA Disability Application
To learn more about your options and how to put together the strongest veterans disability benefits application possible, call us today at (855) 855-8992 or contact us here.
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