As a Veteran, you have served your country with pride. You have probably experienced things most civilians cannot even imagine. Your country owes you a debt of gratitude.
This is especially true if you suffer from a service-related mental disorder like paranoid schizophrenia.
What is Paranoid Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects someone’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly and rationally.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, schizophrenia affects less than one percent of the U.S. population.
Often, people first display schizophrenia symptoms between ages 16 and 25 – which coincides with the age that many Veterans join the military.
Veterans with schizophrenia experience a variety of symptoms, but here are some common warning signs:
- Confused thinking
- Changes in feelings and behaviors
- Difficulty feeling and expressing positive emotions
- Reduced range of emotional expression, such as limited facial expressions or eye contact
- Difficulty getting out of the house, doing things with other people, or pursuing goals such as going to work, attending school, or maintaining relationships
- Trouble concentrating or paying attention, memory loss, or slow thinking
Schizophrenia Diagnosis and Treatment
Unfortunately, the early symptoms of schizophrenia are often missed. Veterans typically do not want to discuss the often frightening symptoms they experience. Years might go by without diagnosis and treatment.
If you are a Veteran who experiences some of these symptoms, it’s important that you consult with a doctor.
You may be eligible for VA disability benefits for paranoid schizophrenia through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs if you feel your mental condition was worsened as a result of your military service.
For a schizophrenia diagnosis, symptoms must be present for at least six months. You must prove that these symptoms have reduced your daily functioning.
The diagnostic process involves ruling out other mental health disorders. A doctor also makes sure that the above symptoms are not due to substance abuse, medication, or another medical condition.
There is no cure for schizophrenia. However, antipsychotic medications and therapy offer successful treatment options for the condition.
Many Veterans with schizophrenia recover and go on to live full lives when their condition is correctly diagnosed and treated.
How Does the VA Rate Service-Connected Disabilities?
The VA determines a disability rating based on your medical history, the results of your compensation and pension (C&P) exam, and your employment status.
All mental health conditions are evaluated under the same rating criteria according to 38 CFR § 4.130.
The criteria address the following factors:
- ability to work
- ability to care for yourself
- ability to maintain social relationships
Based on your level of impairment among these factors, the VA assigns a disability rating percentage of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100.
The higher the percentage, the more compensation you will receive.
VA Rating Percentages for Schizophrenia
Below are the details regarding the different rating percentages for schizophrenia:
0% – You are diagnosed with a mental condition, but symptoms are not severe enough to interfere with work or social activities. You do not require continuous medication.
10% – You have mild symptoms that decrease your work efficiency and impair your social functioning. Significant stress affects your ability to perform duties at work. Your symptoms are controlled by continuous medication.
30% – You experience an occasional decrease in work efficiency and periods of inability to perform work tasks. Your symptoms include depression, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, and mild memory loss. Generally, you function satisfactorily with routine behavior and self-care.
50% – You are increasingly unreliable and unproductive at work. Your symptoms include impaired judgment, impaired abstract thinking, panic attacks more than once per week, difficulty understanding complex commands, impairment of short- and long-term memory, and difficulty in creating and keeping work and social relationships.
70% – You experience one or most of the following symptoms: near-continuous panic or depression affecting your ability to function on your own, impaired impulse control, spatial disorientation, and difficulty adapting to stressful situations. These symptoms might result in thoughts of suicide, obsessive rituals that interfere with daily activities, and a breakdown of work, family, and social relationships.
100% – You are totally impaired in work and social settings. You experience symptoms such as persistent delusions or hallucinations, grossly inappropriate behavior, inability to perform daily activities, disorientation to time or place, and memory loss. Ultimately, you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.
Not all of the above symptoms are necessary to receive each rating percentage. You might even have some symptoms that aren’t listed and still qualify for VA disability benefits for paranoid schizophrenia.
VA Disability for Paranoid Schizophrenia: Reach out to an Experienced Attorney
Although the symptoms of schizophrenia can be serious, veterans are sometimes denied the help they need and deserve.
If you have been denied VA disability for paranoid schizophrenia or your rating is lower than you think it should be, you might still have a path to compensation.
A VA disability lawyer will make sure to collect the appropriate evidence for a compelling appeal.
VanDerGinst Law has certified VA disability attorneys on staff to explore your case. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay attorney fees unless your VA disability claim is successful.
Contact us today to start your VA disability case.
We would be honored to help.