All mental health disorders are rated against the same criteria which is defined in 38 CFR 4.130. The general rating formula for mental disorders is included in the link provided below. When you have your VA claim examination or better known as a C&P Exam, speak to all of the mental health symptoms applicable to you, know what rating category they are in and speak to the ones that you have, particularly the ones in the higher rating category.
As for PTSD stressors, you need to know what event or events occurred in service that caused your condition, and you must speak about it. Than you need to tell the examiner how all this is affecting your life. Be truthful, brutally vulnerable and honest. It is not easy but it is what you must do to get the rating you deserve. You may never have to see or speak to this examiner again. Let it all out. Make the examiner feel your pain!
How does the VA rate Somatic Symptom Disorder?
When filing for SSD or Somatic Symptom Disorder talk about how the pain is affecting you in your everyday life. How is it impacting you socially and occupationally. For example, if you have chronic lower back pain and it is disabling you from doing yard work, let the examiner know that you are unable to hold the weed wacker and rake the yard on your own. State that you feel helpless and angry at yourself because the pain is preventing you from doing the things you used to do. Include sporting activities that you enjoyed participating in, but now you can’t because you can’t bend.
How is your relationship with your loved ones?
If you are having issues with your wife or girlfriend being in the same room explain to the examiner why. Let the C&P examiner know that you are unable to keep a steady relationship because the severe pain in your neck is causing you anxiety and depression. You and your wife can’t do anything together because you have become unsociable. You rather distant yourself from friends and relatives.
Talk about your how you are unable to keep a job because you get frustrated and angry with your co-workers. Explain how you are unable to lift a package or operate a machine because the pain in your knees is preventing you from doing it. Tell the examiner you are feeling depressed because you feel unproductive and can’t keep up with your peers.
Do you suffer from road rage?
Indicate the stress from work causes your road rage. As you were driving home from work one day, you got into a verbal altercation on the highway when you felt that a car had cut you off. Your anger went from 0 to 100 in a split second! You got so angry that you almost ran the poor old lady off the road! For what?
Find a way to get several sessions with a VA psychologist prior to your mental health C&P exam. It will be an advantage to your benefit, if you inform the examiner that you are currently seeking mental health treatment. This will prove continuity of treatment and diagnosis.
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
Hopefully, you will get a compassionate C&P examiner who will listen to you and write down what you say. My C&P for MH (anxiety, depression, mood disorder) was with QTC. I ended up getting the appropriate rating per my conditions. 70%.
Watch VACI videos, if you are an VA Claims Elite member attend C&P preparation sessions. Review DBQ, IMO, and personal statement letter. Talk to your coach, ask questions and read some posts in the FB mastermind group.
38 CFR § 4.130 – Schedule of ratings – Mental disorders