Department of Veterans Affairs officials says that they will update its disability rating criteria for mental health, tinnitus, and sleep apnea. This update is part of a significant review process to ensure that Veterans receive the proper medical care and needs.
The VA plans to update its guide for determining how it evaluates and provides benefits for service-connected disabilities.
Updates On Disability Rating Criteria
According to a notice published in the Federal Register, mental health evaluations will take a step further and consider its impact on veterans’ lives. Furthermore, the VA plans to rescind the “0%” disability rating for any service-connected mental health diagnosis, making the minimum a “10%” disability rating.
For tinnitus, the VA will abolish the stand-alone rating and consider it a symptom of whatever may be the underlying disease that is causing it.
For sleep apnea, evaluations will change to be based on the condition’s impact on “earning impairment” and the effectiveness of treatment.
VA officials said lost wages or productivity needs to be considered to assure Veterans have been compensated appropriately.
Whereas, currently, most disability conditions have been rated solely based on the number and severity of symptoms.
The VA announced that the changes would result in higher disability ratings for Veterans enduring mental health conditions. However, fewer Veterans will likely qualify for disability compensation for tinnitus and sleep apnea.
“Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition in these body systems will not have their disability rating impacted when the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is updated,” acting VA undersecretary for benefits, Thomas Murphy said.
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