Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Elements of a PTSD Claim
VA regulations have liberalized the evidence standard for veterans in a war-zone claiming service-connection for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This regulation will simplify and streamline the processing of PTSD disability claims. According to Veterans Affairs, a veteran can establish the occurrence of an in-service stressor or traumatic event through his/her own lay testimony, if:
1) the veteran is diagnosed with PTSD,
2) a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or a physician VA has contracted, confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis,
3) the veteran’s symptoms are related to the stressor/traumatic event, and
4) the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran’s service and the record provides no clear evidence to the contrary.
Non-Combat Stressor Claims
When a claim for PTSD is based on a non-combat stressor, a veteran’s lay statements alone are not enough proof of a stressor. To support your claim, seek out statements from former military personnel who witnessed the event(s) or at least witnessed your response to the event(s).
Statements from family members about changes in your behavior while in-service or after your discharge are also helpful. Military records demonstrating a change in your performance or showing a decreased function as a result of the non-combat stressor are helpful as well.
Write to the VA and ask them to search for records such as unit morning reports, your personnel records, or military police records if the incident involved a crime or led to court-martial proceedings. Keep in mind that military mental health records are separate from general medical records and must be specifically requested.
If you have already been granted service-connection for your post-traumatic stress disorder claim and you are in disagreement with the rating assigned, you can seek an increased rating. VA regulations provide for varying evaluations of mental disability claims such as PTSD.
Your ability to work and interact with others is central to a proper evaluation of the disabling nature of your condition. If you are employed but can show that your employment is in a sheltered environment (work from home, work alone on a night shift, working for family, etc.) you may still be able to establish the criteria necessary for a higher rating.
VA PTSD Claims | Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC
Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC has experienced professionals on staff who have worked in the mental health and health care industry before. They are familiar with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and are capable of handling complex claims like these.
Our team also has access to psychologists and psychiatrists who are able to provide a medical opinion linking your current post-traumatic stress disorder back to time spent in-service.
Contact Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC online for a Free Claim Evaluation, our team will evaluate your claim and see what additional assistance we can provide you towards gaining a service-connection for your PTSD claim. Or call our office at (800) 693-4800.