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Veterans Mental Health

Supporting and recommending changes to Department of Veterans Affairs disability ratings for mental disorders

APA and Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) commented on a proposed rule from the Department of Veterans Affairs that proposes changes to the current disability ratings system.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2022, April 26). Supporting and recommending changes to Department of Veterans Affairs disability ratings for mental disorders. https://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/veterans-affairs-disability-ratings

Military veteran speaking with a psychologists

On April 18, APA filed a comment on a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding changes to amend the portion of the disability rating schedule dealing with mental disorders. The proposed rule makes changes to the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders, and combines the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders with the General Rating Formula for Eating Disorders in the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD or rating schedule). These formulas work to determine the level of social and occupational impairment caused by service-connected mental health conditions and are rated on a scale of percentages from 0 to 100. The proposed changes in this rule reflect recent updates to the guidelines presented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) and recommendations from the VA’s mental disorders work group.

The APA comment, filed in partnership with APA’s Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service), is broadly supportive of the proposed changes, which take steps to incorporate the latest scientific developments around mental health. The comment also suggests making changes to the proposed schedule for reevaluation to ensure that assessments are continually updated to accurately reflect the status of the patient over time. APA commented on the evaluation’s consideration of psychotropic medicines to ensure that changes to the regulations do not discourage veterans from taking their prescriptions as directed. Finally, the comment addresses some issues related to the feasibility study conducted prior to the development of this rule and asks the VA to consider the impacts of psychotherapy on the patient’s disability determination.

APA’s full comment is available on Regulations.gov.

For more information, contact Corbin Evans.