The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that some big changes are coming for veterans.
The VA is doing a major overhaul of its disability ratings criteria and how they evaluate mental health, and other conditions, for veterans.
VA officials stated that the changes are being made to help ensure that compensation is in line with veterans’ medical conditions.
Here’s more via Military.com:
The VA plans to update its Schedule for Rating Disabilities — its guide for determining how it evaluates and provides benefits for service-connected disabilities — for mental health conditions, to include their impact on veterans’ lives, and abolish the “0%” disability rating for any service-connected mental health diagnosis in favor of a 10% minimum, according to a notice published Tuesday in the Federal Register.
For tinnitus, the department will get rid of its stand-alone rating and consider the condition a symptom of whatever underlying disease is its cause.
As for sleep apnea, ratings will be assessed based on the effectiveness of treatment and the condition’s impact on “earning impairment,” according to the notice.
The VA hopes that by changing how they assess conditions they will be able to ensure veterans are compensated appropriately.
Ultimately once the changes go into effect, veterans with mental health conditions will likely see higher disability ratings. But fewer will likely be able to receive compensation for other conditions, such as tinnitus and sleep apnea.
If you are a veteran and are already receiving compensation for these conditions, the department said you will not see your ratings downgraded when the changes kick in.
It is widely known that the current VA disability rating system does a poor job compensating vets who lose earnings if they can’t work due to a service-related mental health condition.
Hopefully the VA’s overhaul will vastly improve this issue.
Veterans who think their ratings should be upgraded based on the new criteria should file a claim with the VA as soon as the changes take effect.