What You Should Know About PTSD Claims Before Filing for VA Disability
The VA offers financial and medical support, along with treatment, for those who have PTSD, but you’ll have to submit a valid claim before receiving this assistance
Military members are exposed to all kinds of traumatic events, both in combat and while training, leading to PTSD arising in many veterans after they leave active duty.
In fact, a study by the National Center for PTSD reports that between 11 and 20% of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans have PTSD. In addition, 12% of Desert Storm veterans and 15% of Vietnam War veterans have a PTSD diagnosis.
PTSD is a widespread issue amongst veterans, but there is assistance available. If you feel like you’re suffering from PTSD and it’s limiting your ability to function in society, you can file a PTSD claim through the VA.
Here’s what you should know before filing a VA disability claim for PTSD.
An explanation of PTSD
Filing a claim is next to impossible until you know how the VA defines PTSD.
In basic terms, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that forces you to relive a traumatic experience from your past. Symptoms might include trouble sleeping, finding normal daily activities difficult, or feeling on edge.
Veterans who face violent, frightening or life-threatening situations often develop these symptoms after the end of their active duty. Lengthy periods can pass before these symptoms arise, as well.
Most people will have a stress reaction to trauma, but if it doesn’t go away after a few months, it could be PTSD. If you believe you have PTSD, meeting with a psychologist is an excellent first step toward both receiving treatment and potentially filing a claim.
Do you qualify for PTSD disability compensation?
Before filing a claim for your PTSD, you’ll want to make sure that you qualify.
Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward, as all you’ll require is a PTSD diagnosis from a doctor and report that a stressor occurred during your service. Your PTSD diagnosis can occur after your time in service!
If you’re unable to function at the same level that you could before encountering this stressor and the related PTSD, you should qualify for benefits.
As for the stressor, it generally means that you’ve experienced a traumatic event while serving in the military. These events can include suffering an injury, encountering personal or sexual trauma, or dealing with a sexual violation. Being threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death are also valid stressors. You don’t have to provide evidence of the stressor if you were stationed in a location where the stressor was likely.
If you experienced an in-service stressor and have a current PTSD diagnosis, and your doctor confirms that the stressor could cause PTSD, you should qualify for VA disability.
And even if you don’t have a current PTSD diagnosis, it’s not too late. You can get a diagnosis after your service time expires, and if you can create a link between your disability and your service time, VA benefits are possible.
About your disability rating
The amount of assistance you can receive through your PTSD claim depends on its severity. All disabilities through the VA receive a rating out of 100%.
For PTSD, you can only be rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%, depending on the severity of your symptoms. A 0% VA PTSD rating means you have a PTSD diagnosis, but it isn’t hindering you. A 100% rating means you have complete social and occupational impairment, making it impossible to work.
The VA assigns your disability rating based on evidence from your doctors, so you’ll receive more compensation depending on how difficult PTSD is making your life.
Filing a PTSD disability claim
To file a PTSD claim, you’ll need a Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or a Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Secondary to Personal Assault, depending on your situation. The VA will then put you through a screening process where they will consider your eligibility for benefits.
Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting can support you as you seek PTSD VA benefits. Our team is standing by to assist with your claim, ensuring that you provide the VA with the necessary information to maximize your compensation. Contact us to set up a free consultation with one of our VA claims specialists.