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December 17, 2021

3 Ways to Get a VA Rating for Insomnia (The Insider’s Guide)

Last updated on December 26, 2021

In this guide, we’ll explore how to get a VA Rating for Insomnia even if you’ve already filed or been denied benefits in the past.

Your final VA Disability Rating for Insomnia depends upon the Frequency, Severity, and Duration of symptoms to include “HOW” those symptoms affect your “Occupational and Social Impairment.”

VA Disability for Insomnia has ratings that range from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%.

However, the VA usually treats Insomnia as a “symptom” of another mental health condition, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, or Anxiety.

Because of this, it’s highly unlikely to receive a separate VA rating for Insomnia if you’re already rated for another mental health condition due to the avoidance of pyramiding.

Okay, let’s jump into this Insider’s Guide for getting service connected disability for Insomnia.

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What is Insomnia in Veterans?

What is Insomnia in Veterans

Let’s face it: veterans don’t sleep well or hardly at all.

There’s a joke in the veteran community that goes like this: “I once got 8 hours of sleep … it only took me 3 days.”

Touche.

But the truth is, Insomnia is no laughing matter and can lead to all sorts of problems.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.

This may cause you to still feel tired all the time.

Insomnia can drain your energy level, mood, health, work performance, and quality of life.

There are two primary types of insomnia:

  • Acute Insomnia, which lasts for days or weeks. It’s usually the result of stress or a traumatic event.
  • Chronic Insomnia, which lasts for a month or more. Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it may be associated with other medical conditions or medications.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

Insomnia Symptoms in Veterans

According to Mayo Clinic, common signs and symptoms of Insomnia include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression, and/or Insomnia
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, and/or remembering things
  • Increased errors and/or accidents
  • Continuing to worry about sleep

VA Disability Rating for Insomnia: Basic Eligibility Criteria

VA Rating for Insomnia Basic Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an Insomnia VA Rating, a veteran must meet three (3) criteria by law:

  • #1. Medical diagnosis of Insomnia, either acute or chronic, in a medical record (Service Treatment Records, VA medical records, or private medical records)
  • #2. Your Insomnia was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service OR by another service connected disability for secondary service connection (“Nexus” for service connection)
  • #3. Persistent and recurring symptoms of Insomnia (“Severity of Symptoms”) to include how it affects your work, life, and social functioning

If you think you have a mental or sleep disorder such as Insomnia, but don’t have a medical diagnosis, pick-up the phone and call the VA mental health facility nearest you to make an appointment right away!

If you’re trying to increase your VA rating for Insomnia, you need to prove to the VA that your symptoms are now worse and warrant the higher rating criteria by law.

The #1 best way to increase your VA rating for Insomnia is to have objective medical evidence to show your symptoms have worsened over time.

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Is Insomnia a VA Disability?

Is Insomnia a VA Disability

Yes, Insomnia is a VA disability and can be rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100% depending upon the Frequency, Severity, and Duration of your symptoms as well as “how” those symptoms affect your “Occupational and Social Impairment” – meaning your work, life, and social functioning.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder most often rated analogously under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Diagnostic Codes (DC) for Mental Disorders.

How Do I Get an Insomnia VA Rating?

3 primary ways a veteran can get a VA disability rating for Insomnia

There are 3 primary ways a veteran can get a VA disability rating for Insomnia:

#1: Direct service connection for Insomnia rated analogous to mental disorders with a rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%.

#2: Secondary service connection for Insomnia rated analogous to physical disorders with a rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. For instance, a veteran might be rated for Insomnia secondary to Tinnitus.

#3: Insomnia as a symptom of another ratable mental disorder such as PTSD, Depression, or Insomnia with a rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. For example, a veteran could be service connected for Combat PTSD with Insomnia. The Insomnia is not rated on its own, but rather, as a contributing symptom to another mental health condition. This is very common because it’s difficult to differentiate symptoms of mental health across multiple diagnosis.

How Do I Increase My VA Rating for Insomnia?

How Do I Increase My VA Rating for Insomnia

When VA Raters are determining the appropriate disability evaluation to assign for a Mental Health condition such as Insomnia, the primary consideration is a veteran’s current SYMPTOMS, however, VA Raters must also make findings as to “HOW” those symptoms impact a veteran’s “Occupational and Social Impairment.”

Does the veteran’s mental health condition limit or affect his/her work, life, and/or social functioning?

The average VA mental health rating for all veterans, across all demographics, is 70%, which is generally:

“Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood.”

However, VA Raters can award a lower or higher rating (typically one level above or below) depending upon the Severity of Symptoms.

Because the use of the term “such as” in the Mental Health rating criteria demonstrates that the symptoms after that phrase are NOT intended to be an exhaustive list, VA Raters need not find the presence of all, most, or even some, of the enumerated symptoms to award a specific rating.

Nevertheless, all ratings in the general rating formula for Mental  Health are also associated with  observable  symptomatology  and the  plain language of the regulation makes it clear that the veteran’s impairment must be “due to” those symptoms, a veteran may only qualify for a given disability rating by demonstrating the particular symptoms associated with that percentage, or others of similar Frequency, Severity, and Duration.

What is the Reasonable Doubt Rule for Insomnia?

Reasonable Doubt Rule for Insomnia

The reasonable doubt rule means that the evidence provided by the claimant/beneficiary (or obtained on his/her behalf) must only persuade the decision maker that each factual matter is “at least as likely as not.” 

This means there’s a 50/50 chance or the scales are tipped evenly for and against the claim.

When, after careful consideration of all evidence, a reasonable doubt arises regarding service origin, the degree of disability, or any other point, such doubt will be resolved in favor of the claimant.

The courts further likened the reasonable doubt rule as akin to the principle in baseball that the “tie goes to the runner.”

When in doubt, the benefit is ALWAYS given to the veteran.

Independent providers, C&P examiners, and VA Raters must consider and give weight to the veterans self-reported symptoms when completing their mental health evaluations, DBQs, and issuing rating decisions.

Of course, this doesn’t always happen, and you might have had your claim denied, even with a Nexus Letter.

Here’s a 3-step process to fight back legally and ethically.

How Does the VA Rate Insomnia?

How Does the VA Rate Insomnia

The VA rates Insomnia under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Diagnostic Codes (DC) for Mental Disorders.

It’s important to note that Insomnia does not have its own Diagnostic Code (DC) under the general rating schedule.

Thus, because the symptoms of Insomnia are most closely related to mental disorders, Insomnia is rated “analogous” to mental disorders, which have ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%.

2022 Insomnia VA Rating Scale

VA Disability Rating For InsomniaVA Rating Percentage
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: 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.100%
Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: 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.70%
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.50%
Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, Insomnia, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).30%
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.10%
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.0%

VA Ratings for Insomnia in 2022 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

VA Ratings for Insomnia in 2022 – Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Can I get VA disability compensation for Insomnia? 

Yes, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will pay veterans with service-connected Insomnia tax free compensation each month. The amount of compensation depends upon your overall VA rating. For example, a 10% rating is worth around $150 each month whereas a 100% rating is worth around $3,000 per month.

Is Insomnia a VA disability condition? 

Yes, Insomnia is a VA disability and can be rated from 0% to 100% depending upon the severity of your symptoms. Often times, Insomnia is an underlying symptoms of another mental health condition such as PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or Somatic Symptom Disorder. Due to the legal concept called avoidance of pyramiding, a veteran will only receive one VA rating for a mental health condition. The VA recognizes Insomnia Disorders as one of 31 mental health conditions that may be related to service, and thus, Insomnia is a VA disability, and is eligible for VA compensation and benefits under the law.

What are the VA disability ratings for Insomnia?

The VA will give you a disability rating based upon the severity of your Insomnia, specifically related to your level of occupational and social impairment. If you are considered service-connected for Insomnia, you will receive one of six (6) possible VA disability ratings for your mental health condition, broken out as follows: 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. In 2022, the average VA disability rating for Insomnia is 70%.

Can I receive Special Monthly Compensation for Insomnia?

Yes! VA Special Monthly Compensation under Category S is given if the veteran has at least one condition rated 100% AND one or both of the following:

#1. You are completely and permanently housebound because of his service-connected conditions, meaning that the veteran cannot leave his area of abode (this can include his own home, a hospital ward, or a care facility) at all, and this is expected to be the case for the rest of his life OR

#2. You have another condition rated 60% or group of conditions together rated 60% that are unrelated to the 100% condition. For example, you have GERD rated at 60% and Generalized Insomnia Disorder rated at 100%.

Veterans can get an extra $397.88 each month, tax-free, if you meet the Insomnia Disorder housebound criteria known as SMC-S.

Can Insomnia be rated Permanent and Total (P&T)? 

Some veterans may receive a permanent and total rating, also known as 100% P&T. If your Insomnia Disorder is not expected to improve, you may obtain the status of permanent and total disability.

Can the VA reduce my VA disability rating for Insomnia? 

Yes. Unfortunately, sometimes the VA will lower a veteran’s VA rating for Insomnia. If that happens to you, obtain new and relevant medical evidence for your Insomnia condition, and challenge the VA’s decision to lower your rating.

How do I get a 100% VA disability for Insomnia? 

Your Insomnia must be severe enough to warrant a 100% rating. Many veterans do obtain a higher VA rating for Insomnia using VA Claims Insider’s proven proprietary education-based Coaching and Consulting process, including credible Medical Nexus Letters for Mental Health.

Can I work with a 100% VA Rating for Insomnia? 

Yes, you can! It is a myth that having a mental health condition somehow means you can’t work. In fact, you can work with any Insomnia VA rating. Even if you’re rated at 100% for Insomnia, there is no requirement or mandate that affects your work.

Will mental health conditions affect my security clearance?

It is a MYTH that having Insomnia, PTSD, or any other mental health condition will affect your security clearance. Of course, you’ll need to report it to your security manager and update your SF 86; however, it has no impact on your security clearance (in our experience serving 15,000+ veterans with a mental health condition since 2016).

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About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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