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Veterans Law

How to Get a 100% Disability Rating for PTSD

Michael Lostritto

October 30, 2018

Updated: November 20, 2023

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A 100% PTSD rating is often difficult to obtain through VA because it requires a veteran’s symptoms to be so severe that he or she is totally impaired and unable to function in every day life. While the symptoms listed in the 70% rating criteria involve a high level of impairment, the jump to 100% remains significant. The criterion for a 100% PTSD rating is as follows:

  • 100% – “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.”

The above-mentioned symptoms represent a substantial decline in cognitive and emotional functioning as compared to the rating criteria for lower percentages. Importantly, this decline results in a total impairment when it comes to a veteran’s work life and personal life. Specifically, a veteran may experience hearing voices or perceiving things that are not actually present. Self-injurious behaviors and suicide attempts are also consistent with a 100% rating. In addition to this suicidality, a 100% PTSD rating also includes homicidal ideation in which a veteran might have thoughts of harming others. An intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living can involve a veteran feeling too depressed to get out of bed, take a shower, or change clothes. All of these symptoms and behaviors are consistent with the highest level of impairment reflected by the rating criterion.

How Do You Demonstrate This Level of Impairment?

While C&P exams intend to help VA determine the severity of your symptomology, it may be helpful to submit additional evidence as well. For example, lay statements can be very useful. A lay statement is a written statement from a veteran or someone who has witnessed the limitations the veteran faces every day, such as a spouse, family member, or co-worker. In this case, a lay statement should address the extent of your PTSD and the impact it has on your daily life. In doing this, you provide valuable insight about your disability that is not always conveyed through other objective evidence. Additionally, VA is required to consider lay statements with as much weight as other evidence. Furthermore, it may be helpful to obtain a private medical opinion, or an expert opinion to substantiate your claim. Such medical opinions also become very beneficial if you had an unfavorable C&P exam and want to argue against the examiner’s findings. Overall, since a 100% PTSD rating is very particular in its criteria, it is advantageous to have as much evidence as possible to support your claim.

Contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD for a free case evaluation

If you believe that your PTSD warrants a higher rating, you can take action with an appeal. Our team of experienced attorneys may be able to help you. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation at (800) 544-9144.

About the Author

Bio photo of Michael Lostritto

Michael joined CCK in September of 2016 as an Attorney, was named Supervising Attorney in 2021, and now serves as a Managing Attorney. His practice focuses on the representation of disabled veterans before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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