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Is 70 Percent PTSD A Permanent VA Disability?

Last updated: March 24, 2024

A 70% PTSD rating from the VA indicates severe impairment in occupational and social functioning. This level of rating reflects significant challenges in areas such as work, school, and family relations.[1]

A 70% PTSD rating is not automatically considered permanent. However, it may lead to a permanent disability status under Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) if the veteran cannot sustain gainful employment due to their service-connected disability.[2]

To be eligible for TDIU with a 70% PTSD rating, a veteran must have either one service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher or multiple disabilities with a combined rating of 70%, with one disability rated at least 40%.

The VA may reevaluate and adjust the PTSD rating based on changes in the veteran's condition. This could result in an increase or decrease in the rating percentage.

Veterans have the right to appeal the VA's decision if they disagree with their PTSD rating. This process involves submitting evidence and possibly working with a VA-accredited attorney.

Veterans with a 70% PTSD rating may qualify for additional benefits, including healthcare and possibly TDIU, depending on their ability to work.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a significant concern for veterans. Understanding the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability ratings for PTSD is crucial, as these ratings impact the benefits and support veterans can access. What more veterans ask is, “Is 70% PTSD a permanent VA Disability?”

This blog will explore whether a 70% PTSD rating is considered a permanent VA disability.

Is 70% PTSD A Permanent VA Disability?

While the VA considers PTSD itself a permanent condition, a 70% rating specifically isn't necessarily permanent. Your rating can change through re-evaluations if your symptoms improve or worsen. However, suppose your 70% PTSD rating qualifies you for Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). In that case, it becomes "permanent" because the VA cannot reduce your benefits unless your underlying conditions significantly improve.

Key Points To Remember

  • PTSD symptoms and their impact on a veteran's life determine the VA disability rating.
  • A 70% rating reflects significant challenges in daily functioning.
  • Ratings are not necessarily permanent and can be adjusted based on changes in the condition.

Fast Facts

Veterans with a 70% PTSD rating who are eligible for TDIU can still engage in "marginal employment," meaning they can work in jobs that generate income below the poverty threshold without affecting their TDIU status.

Understanding VA Disability Ratings For PTSD

The VA uses a specific system to rate PTSD, ranging from 0% to 100%. These ratings are based on the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms, as well as their impact on occupational and social functioning.[1] The criteria for a 70% PTSD rating include deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, with symptoms like suicidal ideation, panic or depression, and difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances.

The Significance Of A 70% Rating

A 70% PTSD rating indicates severe impairment. Veterans may struggle with employment and maintaining relationships. The rating takes into account various symptoms that significantly interfere with daily life. It's important to note that the VA considers the entire picture of disability and assigns the highest rating that approximates it, even if not all symptoms for a particular percentage are present.

Veterans with a 70% rating may also consider Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) if they are unable to maintain employment due to their PTSD.[2] This could allow them to be compensated at the 100% disability rate despite having a 70% rating.

How PTSD Fits Into The P&T Disability Framework

For PTSD to be considered under the P&T framework, it must be rated at 100% and deemed permanent. This implies that PTSD is fully incapacitating, unlikely to improve, and significantly impairs the veteran's ability to work or perform daily activities. The VA will examine medical evidence to determine the permanence of the condition, considering the veteran’s age and the severity of symptoms.

Fast Facts

Veterans have the right to appeal their VA disability rating decision. There is a one-year timeframe from the date of the decision to file an appeal.

Achieving A Permanent VA Disability Status With A 70% PTSD Rating

A 70% rating for PTSD from the VA might lead to a permanent disability status under certain conditions, particularly when a veteran qualifies for Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). For TDIU eligibility, the following criteria must be met:

  • Disability Rating Requirements: The veteran must have at least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher. Alternatively, the veteran may have multiple service-connected disabilities whose combined rating is 70% or higher, with at least one of these disabilities rated at 40% or more.

  • Employment Limitations: The veteran must be unable to sustain “substantially gainful employment”. This means that the veteran's service-connected disability should make it impossible to maintain a steady job that provides an income above the poverty line. It is crucial to understand that marginal or intermittent employment, such as part-time or occasional jobs that do not exceed the poverty threshold, does not disqualify a veteran from TDIU.

For veterans pursuing TDIU benefits, in addition to the standard disability claim, it is necessary to submit specific forms:

  • VA Form 21-8940: This is the Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability. This form is used to provide details about how the veteran's service-connected disabilities impact their ability to work.

  • VA Form 21-4192: Known as the Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits, this form is intended to gather information about the veteran's employment history and the impact of their disability on their employment.

These forms are integral to the TDIU claim process and help establish the connection between the veteran's service-connected disabilities and their employment challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors does the VA consider when rating PTSD at 70%?

The VA evaluates several factors, including the severity of symptoms like suicidal ideation, difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, and the overall impact on occupational and social functioning. The rating reflects significant challenges in daily living and the veteran’s ability to work.

How does the VA assess the permanence of a PTSD rating?

The VA assesses the permanence of a PTSD rating based on medical evidence and the likelihood of improvement. If symptoms are stable and unlikely to improve, the VA may consider the rating permanent, but this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Can a veteran with a 70% PTSD rating receive additional VA benefits?

Yes, veterans with a 70% PTSD rating may be eligible for additional VA benefits like health care and possibly Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) if they cannot maintain gainful employment.

What are the implications of a 70% PTSD rating on a veteran's employment?

A 70% PTSD rating can indicate significant difficulties in maintaining regular employment. Veterans may find it challenging to work in stressful environments or maintain consistent productivity, which could lead to qualifying for TDIU benefits.

Is it possible for a 70% PTSD rating to be increased or decreased?

Yes, the VA may adjust a PTSD rating if the veteran's condition changes. If symptoms worsen, the rating might increase, potentially up to 100%. Conversely, if the condition improves, the VA may lower the rating.

How often does the VA reevaluate PTSD ratings?

The frequency of reevaluation for a PTSD rating varies. Generally, if the VA believes there is a chance of improvement, they may schedule periodic reevaluations. If the condition is deemed permanent, reevaluations may not be scheduled.

Understanding 70% PTSD Permanent VA Disability

So, is 70% PTSD a permanent VA Disability? A 70% PTSD rating is significant and could potentially lead to a permanent disability status under specific conditions like TDIU. Veterans with this rating should be aware of their rights, the available pathways to appeal decisions, and the additional support mechanisms at their disposal. By staying informed and proactive, veterans can effectively manage their PTSD claims and access the benefits that reflect the sacrifices made in service to their country.

Find out more about veteran benefits with our guide on increasing your VA disability rating. Visit Disability Help and explore our comprehensive resources to learn more.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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