Boost Your VA Ratings for Depression: Tips and Strategies

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or clinical depression, is one of the most common psychiatric disorders that affects many veterans. Depression is the constant feeling of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness that affects a person’s behavior, including how they feel and behave, and in the most severe cases, it often results in self-harm or suicide. 

It is a common ailment that affects everybody, so as a veteran, can you get a VA disability for depression? The answer is YES. 

The VA considered people with military backgrounds who may have acquired the symptoms of depression during their line of service, hence approving VA compensation for depression. The VA rating for depression has the same veteran’s disability rating formula as other mental disorders, such as the PTSD rating, but just like other disability claims, it can be frustrating. 

You can get VA disability claims assistance for a smoother process that will help you acquire your VA benefits for depression and understand ways to increase your VA ratings with this mental health disorder. 

To understand the process of increasing your VA disability rating for depression, we must first understand the VA depression rating scale and its criteria. 

Disability ratings and criteria for depression 

The VA rates depression in six categories based on its severity. Here are its criteria: 

0% VA Rating 

The symptoms of a mental illness have been formally identified, but they are not severe enough to impair social and occupational functioning or necessitate ongoing medication. The diagnosis of depression is confirmed, but since it lacks any subjective symptoms, it is rated at 0%, meaning there is no occupational or social impairment. 

30% VA Rating

Rating is determined by an occupational and social impairment that is the direct result of having a somber mood, frequent anxiety and panic attacks that occur weekly or less, chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss such as forgetting names, and/or recent events. Intermittent decrease in work efficiency and seldom being unable to perform occupational tasks. Has relatively minor symptoms but subjective symptoms that affect work and social skills. 

50% VA Rating 

Symptoms include panic attacks occurring more than once a week. A sudden loss of interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed urges isolation, making it extremely difficult to maintain meaningful work and social relationships. Most of the symptoms in this rating also involve impaired judgment, abstract thinking, and difficulty comprehending complex commands with short-term and long-term memory loss. 

70% VA rating

Veterans that have this rating have deficiencies in all aspects of work, school, life, judgment, critical thinking, and even mood. Anxiety and panic attacks are happening more than once a week. Other evident symptoms are the constant neglect of personal hygiene and the constant thought of suicide. 

100% VA rating

Extreme impairment in thought processes, with persistent delusions and hallucinations coupled with inappropriate behaviors. Persistence in harming yourself, intermittent inability to perform daily activities such as personal hygiene, and constant dependence on other people to perform simple tasks. 

Tips to get a higher rating for depression 

In the list provided above, it is confirmed that the VA assigns a list of possible symptoms to determine the veteran’s rating. However, it is impossible for the VA to review the list and confirm if you have the symptoms of the dedicated rating. 

A court appeal for Veterans Claims No. 01-468 of Albert F. Mauerhan found that to qualify for a particular rating, veterans do not necessarily need to exhibit every symptom specified in the VA’s General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders. Even if you don’t experience hallucinations or delusions now, depression can nonetheless significantly impair you. Confirming that you can still get a higher rating and higher VA benefits as long as the veteran is confirmed to suffer the effects of depression. 

But what are the documents or evidence that you will need to qualify? 

Supporting documentations are needed

Establishing a service connection for depression requires evidence for confirmation. These are some of them. 


Proving a diagnosis of depression requires medical records, and it is critical for them to be as current as possible to qualify for VA disability benefits

Service Treatment Records

It documents any injury or illness that you sustained during active duty. This includes your military disability for depression. However, not every veteran has this type of record available, which is why buddy statements or lay statements from the veteran’s loved ones are advised to increase effectiveness. 

Healthcare Professional Statement

It is the medical nexus of a healthcare professional that declares the service connection of your clinical depression. 

The VA process is difficult but not entirely hopeless. We at Just4Veterans understand the hardship of having clinical depression, which is why we ensure to provide the best veterans coaching assistance for your disability claims. You may check out our website to learn more:, or schedule a strategy call with our veteran coaches here

DISCLAIMER : Just4Veterans LLC is NOT an accredited agent, attorney, entity or VSO recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is not affiliated with the VA in any way. Veterans shall prepare and file their own claim with an accredited representative, who may offer their services for FREE. Veterans may search for and appoint an accredited VSO.