When people discuss disability among veterans, a lot of the attention tends to go towards people with obvious physical impairments, such as people who have lost limbs or who suffer from chronic pain. However, the potential psychological impairments that people can suffer as a result of their service can be just as debilitating as any physical injury. But how do you go about applying for VA benefits when your primary issue is a psychological disability?
What is a Psychological Disability?
A psychological disability is, for the purposes of disability benefits, any psychological condition that substantially impairs a person’s ability to work or perform their daily tasks. This type of disability often goes untreated for long periods of time due to a lack of outward physical symptoms. However, even when someone is physically fine, they can still suffer mentally, and become unable to function normally, even with medical assistance.
What Types of Psychological Disabilities Does the VA Cover?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA) will give disability benefits to anyone who suffers from a psychological disability caused by, or worsened by, something related to a veteran’s military service. Some potential conditions that may be covered by VA disability benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Major depression
- Manic depression / bipolar disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
Are There Any Exceptions To This Coverage?
Generally speaking, any veteran with a psychological disability can receive benefits provided they meet three criteria:
- First, their disability must be demonstrated by medical evidence from a physician or licensed therapist.
- Second, they must be able to demonstrate their condition was caused by, or worsened by, their military service.
- Third, they must show they adhered to the therapy prescribed by their doctor or therapist.
Failure to demonstrate any one of these three criteria could result in a denial of disability benefits.
What Should I Do if I Have a Service-Related Psychological Disability?
If you are a veteran of the United States military and are suffering from a psychological disability related to your service, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling veterans’ disability claims. They can assist you with applying for benefits, as well as arguing on your behalf if your claim is disputed or denied. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can get to work helping you get the benefits you deserve.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.