The VA has announced proposed changes to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD), including the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders. The VA has stated the goal is to change the focus from the number and type of symptoms the Veteran is experiencing, and instead look at how those symptoms affect the Veteran across five domains of impairment: cognition, interpersonal interactions and relationships, task completion, life activities and navigating environments, and self-care. This change to the VASRD was brought about by several studies which showed that Veterans with primary mental health disorders are not receiving adequate compensation for loss of earnings and functional impairment. According to the VA, this change in focus should allow for more generous compensation for Veterans then the current rating system allows.
The actual impact that this change will have on Veterans is to be seen; however, one positive result of the proposed changes would be that the minimum rating for a mental health condition would go from 0 to 10 percent. Another positive change is that Veterans will no longer be prohibited by the VASRD from getting a 100 percent rating for a mental health disorder if they are still working. In an attempt to gauge the impact of the proposed changes, the VA has conducted a proof-of-concept study. Assembling a test group of 100 Veterans with mental health conditions, the VA rated them under the new system to determine if the proposed changes would have the desired effect. On average, the mental health ratings were higher than under the current rating system. Furthermore, the VA has also stated that Veterans who are already seeing compensation for a mental health disorder should not see a reduction in their rating or compensation.
At Gardberg and Kemmerly, we are keeping a close eye these issues in order to help our Veterans. If you have a claim pending before the VA, the qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys at Gardberg and Kemmerly want to help in any way possible. Please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama. We would love an opportunity to discuss your claim.