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Can alcohol or substance abuse link to a veteran’s PTSD claim?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2022 | VA Benefits

If you are a veteran, you probably are no stranger to traumatic events. After all, serving in combat often requires participating in or witnessing events that can destroy your mental well-being. Fortunately, if you have post-traumatic stress disorder from your service, you may qualify for a 100% temporary disability rating.

According to the Veterans Administration, those who suffer from anxiety, depression, stress and other mental health issues often use alcohol or drugs to cope. If there is a direct link between your alcohol or substance abuse and your service-related PTSD, you may be able to use it to your advantage.

Qualifying for 100% disability because of your PTSD

Federal regulation from 1996 provides the framework for qualifying for a 100% disability rating due to PTSD. Pursuant to this regulation, your PTSD must give you total occupational or social impairment. Generally, this requires proving one or more of the following:

  • A decline in your ability to process thoughts or to communicate
  • Hallucinations, delusions or loss of memory
  • Behaviors that are blatantly inappropriate
  • A danger of harming yourself or someone else
  • An inability to perform basic living functions

It is important to note these PTSD-related symptoms typically must be severe. That is, if your symptoms are manageable or infrequent, you may not meet the eligibility requirements for a 100% disability rating.

Moving forward with your life

You have sacrificed a great deal in service to your country. If you are struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism because of your PTSD, pursuing a 100% temporary disability rating may help you move forward with your life. It may also allow you to obtain treatment for your alcohol or substance abuse.

Ultimately, you should not let any shame you feel about abusing drugs or alcohol dissuade you from pursuing the disability benefits you deserve as a veteran.