What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Although feelings of anxiety can manifest in many different ways depending on the person, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is commonly characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge
  • Persistent feelings of worry or impending doom
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased heart rate/heart palpitations
  • Rapid breathing, increased sweating, trembling

GAD is a condition that many veterans struggle with because of the stressful situations they often encounter while in the military. Due to its common occurrence among veterans, the VA evaluates GAD under a schedular disability rating system to determine if veterans with GAD are entitled to VA disability compensation.

Getting Service Connected for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The first step any veteran should take when trying to get a condition service connected is to supply the VA with supporting evidence. This could include information such as service medical records diagnosing the condition, private medical records showing a history of treatment for GAD during or within the first year after military service, and military service records showing proof of an incident that led to the development of GAD. 

When the VA decides what schedular disability rating to assign, the VA will evaluate the veteran’s level of social and occupational impairment. For this reason, it can be helpful to submit written statements from family members, friends, or fellow service members who are familiar with the veteran’s condition. This form of evidence provides the VA with a more holistic picture of the individual and how his or her anxiety affects his or her daily life.

How the VA Assigns Ratings for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Under the VA’s system, anxiety is evaluated for service connection under the same schedular disability rating formula that is used for PTSD and other mental health conditions. Using this rating schedule, the General Rating Formula For Mental Disorders, the VA assigns a rating of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100 for generalized anxiety disorder. These ratings are assigned based on the severity of symptoms the veteran exhibits:

  • Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name: 100%
  • Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships: 70%
  • Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships: 50%
  • Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events): 30%
  • Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication: 10%
  • A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication: 0%

In order to be assigned the highest possible schedular disability rating for GAD, a veteran would have to exhibit total social and occupational impairment.  

Help With Your Claim for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Here at The Veterans Law Office, our attorneys are experienced in helping veterans get service connected for generalized anxiety disorder. We know what evidence makes for a successful case and can help you develop an effective strategy for winning your claim. If you are looking for assistance getting the compensation you deserve, please contact us at the phone number above or via our free claim evaluation form.