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Who Will Be Providing My Gaf Score Next

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Guest Jim S.

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The first GAF score I received was from an intake psychologist when I asked for treatment for my problems I am still dealing with today. The second time that I know of a GAF score being given to me, was from a studen psychologist doing a one on one talk theropy with me. As far as I know, I haven't received a score since then and should be due.

I see a Psychiatrist/Dr. every three months to check and see how my medication is working and how I am doing. She asks the same question each and every time.

My answers have always been about the same, I have my up days and my down, but nothing seemingly in the extremes.

I am afraid that if they were to score me now for a GAF, because I appear to be stable, that my score would be higher than it should be. If I were to stop taking my medications, I know for a fact that my score would drop into the toilet and they would probably have to admit me on a suicide watch.

I also worry that since I have a working claim in progress, that an error of scoring me higher than I ott to be, would hurt my claim or if I win, the percentage of my disability would be lower than it should be too.

I am also becoming a bit ancious and a bit more depressed, because I am considering telling my shrink about problems I have had in the past, but was to scared of the consiquences had I mentioned them. Since I am now alone and have no one else to worry about and am already considered 100% disabled for SSDI, the pressure of any consequences aren't so great, as in the past.

Anyway, would it be my shrink who gives the GAF score or is it my Primary Dr. who gives me the score? B)

Jim S. B)

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Can be either, but most likely your psychiatrist...in fact, I would ask to see your records as I'm sure your psychiatrists has given you GAFs in notes without you knowing.

P.S. - You'll find that, with the va, a low GAF means almost nothing, but a high GAF almost certainly means a low-balled rating....they only use GAFs when it seems to help "their" cause. Best thing you can do is get some civilian opinions to help get a feel for where they think your GAF is, 'cause whatever a VA doctor gives you is final....also, it's always good to get more then one opinion.

P.P.S. - In your particular case I wouldn't worry much about the GAF...I wouldn't put it past a bad RO to pull some stupid stuff, but, in the end, you'll keep your money as long as you haven't been able to work...IMO, you're fairly safe.

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not to upset you but to explain how it works, or at least worked in my case, I have been under constant treatment since Jan 2003 for PTSD, my GAF scores have averaged from 45 to lows of 30, mostly 30&35's for the past 2 1/2 years I even had a letter from my treating psychiatrist stating that I was permanently and totally disabled by my PTSD and that since I had lived with it for 31 years he did not think I would improve anytime in the future and I was unemployable. The C&P exam was done by a pyschologist who gave me a GAF of 52 and then had to get an MD to co-sign it to give it validity, and the VARO dismissed almost 3 years of treatment and awarded me a 50% SC, yes I am appealing it to the BVA, this was an obvious lowball and I feel it was done because they were mad at me for writing the White House and my Senator and Congressman. The appeals go on, just don't quit.

100% SC P&T PTSD 100% CAD 10% Hypertension and A&A = SMC L, SSD
a disabled American veteran certified lol
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

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I'm in a similar situation. Supposedly I'm to be re-evaluated this month (4 1/2 years since they upped my rating from 30% to 100%) and in the last two years I've gone from GAF of 45's to 60's. But, there is reason for that. I have changed my lifestyle - not working and have reduced the stress levels tremendously, and I'm on various meds. I also tried going back to college but it ended up being too much for me and I relapsed with alot of symptoms.

I'm not expert - but here is what I know or have been told: Your Doc probably does GAF ratings about every 3 months or so. But, I've been told, when they are re-evaluating you - they are supposed to look at the whole picture not just your current status - and how you would deal with being put back in a work environment rather than the environment you are currently in now.

OK, that sounds a bit naive. But, when you are up for re-evaluation, you might want to write a letter explaining how you deal with life now and how difficult it would be for you if things changed. Have you had any setbacks? If so write about them. Talk to your psychiatrist about them.

Hope this helps some?

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not to upset you but to explain how it works, or at least worked in my case, I have been under constant treatment since Jan 2003 for PTSD, my GAF scores have averaged from 45 to lows of 30, mostly 30&35's for the past 2 1/2 years I even had a letter from my treating psychiatrist stating that I was permanently and totally disabled by my PTSD and that since I had lived with it for 31 years he did not think I would improve anytime in the future and I was unemployable. The C&P exam was done by a pyschologist who gave me a GAF of 52 and then had to get an MD to co-sign it to give it validity, and the VARO dismissed almost 3 years of treatment and awarded me a 50% SC, yes I am appealing it to the BVA, this was an obvious lowball and I feel it was done because they were mad at me for writing the White House and my Senator and Congressman.  The appeals go on, just don't quit.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is another reason why these *&^* SOs need to do their job! The BVA and federal courts have made it quite clear that a rater is not allowed to make a "medical" opinion. They are only there to interpret the evidence. If a doctor(s) says a vet is unable to work and is totally disabled and a rater gives a 50% rating they are asserting THEIR medical opinion over a qualified doctor. This is a blatant misuse of power and a crime based on the regulations...yet, they keep doing it and the DAV/AMvets/etc sit by and do NOTHING.

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a GAF is a floating number that only a psycho doc, is qualified to give !!! it can vary day to day, depending on how you are presenting yourself !!! getting a low GAF, say a 35 is no guarantee that t will correspond to a high percentage, as the doc's narrative that goes with the GAF, is just as important, and maybe even more important, so if you have a low GAF, then the narrative from the doc also has to exoress, his concern for your mental health, if not , you will probably get somewhere around a 50% !!!

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a GAF is a floating number that only a psycho doc, is qualified to give !!! it can vary day to day, depending on how you are presenting yourself !!! getting a low GAF, say a 35 is no guarantee that t will correspond to a high percentage, as the doc's narrative that goes with the GAF, is just as important, and maybe even more important, so if you have a low GAF, then the narrative from the doc also has to exoress, his concern for your mental health, if not , you will probably get somewhere around a 50% !!!

Which is complete nonsense.....The VA people cry all the time over having a "standard" by which to evaluate PTSD, but, despite the GAF being the recognized standard for measuring mental health throughout the world, the VA refuses to use it as it was intended. Also, the argument that one's GAF can fluctuate is equally nonsense, as the VA is supposed to find a veteran's lowest point and determaine how often they reach that "low point".

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