Brian Reese here from VA Claims Insider, and today, I’m giving you FREE access to the most widely accepted VA PTSD Test for Veterans.
If you’ve ever wondered if you might have combat PTSD or non-combat PTSD from your military service, this 20 question PCL-5 VA PTSD Test checklist is a great place to start your assessment.
And by the way, PTSD always has “stressors,” and PTSD stressor verification is a huge part of how the VA determines whether PTSD is service connected.
Included below is a free online version of the 20-question PLC-5, which is how many VA psychologists and psychiatrists screen veterans for military PTSD.
Once you’ve completed the quiz, your raw score will be displayed along with some useful PTSD tips.
What is the PCL-5?
The PCL-5 is a 20-item self-test that measures and assesses the 20 DSM-5 symptoms of PTSD in Veterans.
The PCL-5 PTSD screening tool has a variety of purposes for both Veterans and Clinicians, including:
- Monitoring symptom change during and after treatment
- Screening individuals for PTSD
- Making a provisional PTSD diagnosis
Interpretation of the PCL-5 should be made by a clinician, but since it’s a self-reported assessment, Veterans can take the free VA PTSD Test to assess and measure their likelihood of having PTSD.
The PCL-5 can be scored in 3 different ways although we recommend using the raw score to determine the probability that a Veteran has PTSD:
- A total symptom severity score (range of 0-80) can be obtained by summing the scores for each of the 20 items. Each of the 20 items is scored from 0-4, with 0 being the lowest and 4 being the highest.
- DSM-5 symptom cluster severity scores can be obtained by summing the scores for the items within a given cluster, i.e., cluster B (items 1-5), cluster C (items 6-7), cluster D (items 8-14), and cluster E (items 15-20). The clusters represent various PTSD markers.
- A provisional diagnosis of PTSD for VA purposes can be made by treating each item rated as 2 = “Moderately” or higher as a symptom endorsed, then following the DSM-5 diagnostic rule which requires at least: 1 B item (questions 1-5), 1 C item (questions 6-7), 2 D items (questions 8-14), 2 E items (questions 15-20).
According to widely accepted research regarding provisional diagnosis of PTSD in Veterans, a PCL-5 cutoff score between 31-33 is indicative of probable PTSD, however, more research is needed.
For VA rating purposes, there seems to be a trend towad a PTSD cutoff score of 33, and I think Veterans need to be aware of this before completing a PLC-5 at the VA or during a C&P Exam for PTSD.