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Some Veterans with Alcoholism Can Get VA Disability Benefits

If you receive a willful misconduct finding, you may not be eligible for VA disability benefits. The VA does not award service connection directly for alcoholism, despite evidence that substance abuse is connected to mental illness. To receive a service connection for alcoholism, it must be related to another disability.

  • An independent medical exam can often be utilized if aVA C&P examinerdecides that the veteran’s substance use disorder precipitates their mental health disorder.
  • This number is predicted to increase to 7.8 million people in the near future.
  • However, suppose a client can prove that PTSD or other mental health problems connected with their military service is the on-setting cause of their addiction.
  • In this case, the veteran may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability , compensating the veteran at the 100% disability benefit level.
  • This typically involves a number of lifestyle modifications, as well as the use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and antidepressant medications.
  • For instance, alcohol withdrawal might exacerbate PTSD arousal symptoms.

If the Veteran dies from the drug or alcohol abuse, the survivor will be eligible for DIC, Accrued Benefits, Dependant’s Educactional Assistance , loan guaranty benefits, and CHAMPVA medical care. Although the VA makes the final decision about ceasing benefits, it is important for veterans to realize that they do have rights. First, they must receive advance notice that the VA is proposing to sever a service connection. Second, they must be given a chance to argue against the proposal to sever the service connection. New research provides some interesting insight into the relationship between alcohol use and PTSD. The research shows that 52% of men and 28% of women with PTSD also abuse alcohol. Over the years I have come across many cases where veterans have used alcohol as a way of “self-medicating.” This basically means they use alcohol as a way of coping with PTSD symptoms.

Get help for alcoholism today.

Contrary to popular myth, PTSD is not a “processing disorder” that occurs because the victim “can’t take it.” Instead, PTSD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Exposure to extreme stress, such as combat stress, enlarges the amygdala.

disability rating

Additionally, if the veteran had a history of AUD prior to service and can prove that his condition was “aggravated” by another service-connected health issue, he may also qualify. You may believe alcohol can provide a long-term solution for PTSD symptoms, but using alcohol makes it harder to cope with trauma and stress. It can also disrupt restful sleep, which is also a symptom of PTSD. If you are concerned about your relationship with alcohol or drugs, the VA offers a free self-screening tool.

How to Determine if Substance Abuse is Secondary to Mental Health

In the case of indirect ptsd alcohol blackout connection, the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes that an individual’s post-service drinking may be related to their military experience. Veterans should pursue additional compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs through vocational rehabilitation or Social Security benefits. Many veterans don’t know how to receive disability benefits from the VA or how to qualify for these benefits. If you have recently been diagnosed with alcohol addiction, you should know that alcoholism could impact your eligibility for disability benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs .

What rating do you get for PTSD?

PTSD disability ratings can be 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. Transparency about your worst symptoms is vital for your rating. VA often rates veterans by the average of their symptoms. So, if a veteran has such symptoms that fall in the 30, 50, and 70% PTSD rating ranges, they will often get a 50% PTSD rating.

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