NEW VA FINAL RULE FOR RATING MENTAL DISABILITIES
On March 19, 2015, the Federal Register published final rule, AO96-F – Schedule for Rating Disabilities – Mental Disorders and Definition of Psychosis for Certain VA Purposes. The final rule applies to all claims for VA disability benefits received by VA or pending before the agency of original jurisdiction on or after August 4, 2014. The rule is not intended to apply to cases certified to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals on or before August 4, 2014.
The new rule essentially replaces references to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) to the DSM-5. The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides common language and standard criteria for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders.
The change to the DSM-5 rather than the DSM-IV does not change how the VA evaluates or rates mental disorders. In addition, no mental disorders were removed from the DSM-5, even though some disabilities have been renamed, re-categorized, or consolidated into other diagnosis. All mental disorders currently rated by the VA are still available. The rule simply updates the terminology to coincide with terminology used in the DSM-5.
If you are a veteran who suffers from a mental disorder and needs help navigating the VA disability appeal process, call the experienced veterans’ disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. at 251-343-1111 today for a free case evaluation. The disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. help veterans throughout the Gulf Coast area, including, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana with regard to establishing service connection for claimed conditions, establishing entitlement to higher compensation ratings, and establishing entitlement to total individual unemployability.