If you’re suffering from anxiety that’s related to your military service, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation for an anxiety VA rating from 0% to 100%.
Despite how common anxiety is amongst veterans, many veterans suffering from mental health issues never seek support and benefits.
Today, we discuss how to get the anxiety VA rating you deserve.
- How Anxiety Impacts Veterans
- Types of Anxiety
- How to Get an Anxiety VA Rating
- How the VA Rates Anxiety
- Anxiety VA Rating Levels
- The Anxiety Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
- NEED MORE ASSISTANCE?
You DESERVE a HIGHER VA rating.
WE CAN HELP.
Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.
How Anxiety Impacts Veterans
As a veteran, you may have experienced anxiety during and after your service. Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects many veterans, and it can have a significant impact on your daily life.
Anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as constantly feeling on edge, having panic attacks, experiencing social anxiety, or having difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, socialize, and carry out everyday tasks. They can also lead to other issues, such as depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, it’s essential to seek help. The VA offers various mental health services to veterans, including therapy and medication. These services can help you manage your anxiety and improve your overall well-being. Additionally, an anxiety VA rating can help provide you with additional benefits to improve your quality of life.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Here are some common symptoms of anxiety you may be facing:
- Constant worry or feeling on edge
- Racing thoughts or inability to concentrate
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, and stomach issues
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Panic attacks, which may involve a rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath
- Avoidance of certain situations or activities due to fear or anxiety
- Irritability or agitation
- Social anxiety or difficulty with social interactions
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently, and you may not have all of these symptoms. Additionally, some of these symptoms can be related to other mental health conditions, so it’s important to speak with a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis.
Types of Anxiety
Let’s break down the different types of anxiety that veterans can have.
Is generalized anxiety disorder a disability?
Yes, generalized anxiety disorder is a VA-recognized disability that may entitle you to disability compensation. However, the VA classifies anxiety disorders into six different types. The VA uses different diagnostic codes to better understand and treat the condition of veterans.
The commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders recognized by the VA include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (DC 9400) – Generalized anxiety disorder is when you have severe, uncontrollable worry about everyday things. This worry can often be irrational.
- Social Phobia (DC 9403) – This code covers all phobias, including social anxiety disorder (or social phobia). Phobias are irrational, severe fears tied to specific things or situations and can range from fear of spiders to fear of public places. They can be so severe that they lead to panic attacks or violence.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (DC 9404): Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when anxiety causes repetitive actions to reduce fear. This can include washing hands excessively or repeating specific numbers. The repetitive actions can interfere with daily tasks and work.
- Other Specified Anxiety Disorder (DC 9410): This code covers all other specific anxiety disorders that aren’t mentioned anywhere else.
- Panic Disorder or Agoraphobia (DC 9412): This code covers panic disorder and agoraphobia. Panic disorder is a condition where severe panic attacks occur in stressful or fearful situations. Agoraphobia is the fear of public places that can also cause panic attacks.
- Unspecified Anxiety Disorder (DC 9413): This code covers all other unspecified anxiety disorders that don’t have a specific name.
While PTSD usually goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, we’ve created a separate post on winning your PTSD claim to learn more about this common illness impacting veterans. You’ll only receive one rating for mental health conditions, even if you’re experiencing both anxiety and PTSD.
How to Get an Anxiety VA Rating
You need to meet four criteria to win your VA claim for anxiety:
- A medical diagnosis of anxiety
- Evidence of an in-service event, in-service event, injury, disease, or aggravation
- A link or medical nexus that your anxiety was caused or made worse by your military service (service connection)
- Current and ongoing symptoms of anxiety
Service Connection and Anxiety
Service connection is a crucial aspect of any VA disability claim. It refers to the link between your current medical condition and your time in military service. To be eligible for VA disability benefits for anxiety, you must first establish a service connection for your anxiety.
Medical service treatment records with an in-service diagnosis of anxiety are the easiest way to show that your anxiety is related to your military service. However, a medical nexus is also extremely helpful in proving that your anxiety is at least as likely as not related to your military service.
However, due to mental health stigmas, many veterans don’t get seen by doctors during service. If this applies to you, you can also use service records to show you were experiencing symptoms during your service, even if you weren’t officially diagnosed.
Examples could include performance reports indicating a sudden change in your job performance, counseling records, or other service records.
How the VA Rates Anxiety
Currently, the VA could give you an anxiety VA rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%, depending on the severity of your symptoms. The average mental health VA disability rating (including anxiety) is 70%.
Anxiety VA Rating Levels
Here are the exact VA disability for anxiety ratings you may be eligible for based on your symptoms.
0% Anxiety VA Rating
If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety but don’t have any symptoms that interfere with your ability to work or interact with others (or to require medication), you’ll be rated at 0%.
10% Anxiety VA Rating
If your anxiety causes an occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication, you’ll likely be rated at 10%.
30% Anxiety VA Rating
At the 30% level, you have occasional issues with work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks. You might not be up to performing self-care and routine tasks all the time. However, you can generally still function and these periods of anxiety don’t happen very often. You could also be experiencing:
- Depressed mood
- Some insomnia
- Mild memory loss
- Panic attacks
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that causes a severe physical reaction and results in intense anxiety. If you’re experiencing panic attacks, they happen less than once per week. Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- High blood pressure
- Racing heart
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hearing issues
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or constipation
50% Anxiety VA Rating
At the 50% level, it has occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as:
- flattened affect
- circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech
- panic attacks more than once a week
- difficulty in understanding complex commands
- impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks)
- impaired judgment
- impaired abstract thinking
- disturbances of motivation and mood
- difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships
70% Anxiety VA Rating
At the 70% level, your anxiety causes occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas of your life (school, work, family, judgment, thinking, or mood). symptoms at this rating include:
- suicidal ideation
- obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities
- speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant
- near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately, and effectively
- impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence)
- spatial disorientation
- neglect of personal appearance and hygiene
- difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting)
- inability to establish and maintain effective relationships
100% Anxiety VA Rating
If your anxiety is causing you a total occupational and social impairment, you’re likely suffering from any number of these symptoms:
- gross impairment in thought processes or communication
- persistent delusions or hallucinations
- grossly inappropriate behavior
- persistent danger of hurting self or others
- intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene)
- disorientation to time or place
- memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name
Understanding the new system of evaluating anxiety and how it can impact your VA claim is important. With this knowledge, you can work towards getting the proper recognition and support for the difficulties you face every day due to your anxiety.
The Anxiety Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
When applying for an anxiety VA rating, your medical provider can complete the disability benefits questionnaire for mental disorders other than PTSD and eating disorders, which can be found here.
Your provider will answer the following question:
Which of the following best summarizes the veteran’s level of occupational and social impairment with regard to all mental diagnoses?
They will only be able to select one choice. This part of the form is the most important part, as it indicates how severely your anxiety impacts your life. These options relate directly to different ratings for anxiety.
- No mental disorder diagnosis
- Total occupational and social impairment
- Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, and mood
- Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity
- Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks, although generally functioning satisfactorily, with normal routine behavior, self-care, and conversation
- Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress or; symptoms controlled by medication
- A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication
At your Compensation and Pension exam, ensure you answer all questions thoroughly to accurately communicate to the doctor which level you’re at. Your C&P Exam is not the time to downplay your symptoms.
Get the Anxiety VA Rating You Deserve
As a veteran, you deserve the best care and support possible for your sacrifices for our country. If you’re suffering from anxiety, seek help and apply for a VA rating to receive the benefits you deserve. Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and courage.
NEED MORE ASSISTANCE?
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process, so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST! If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!
Trisha Penrod is a former active-duty Air Force officer. As an Intelligence Officer, she led teams of analysts to apply advanced analytic skills to identify, assess, and report potential threats to U.S. forces.
Trisha attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and holds an MBA from Webster University. After receiving an honorable discharge in 2018, Trisha worked as a growth marketer and utilizes her analytic skills to help others accomplish their business goals.