PTSD Claim – Common Questions About Filing
One of the most difficult topics a Military Veteran can express is their experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this post, we want to address some of the most frequently asked questions we get in regards to filing a PTSD claim.
Many military personnel witness traumatic events while serving. Due to the stigma around counseling, many service members simply avoid PTSD treatment while in uniform. If your PTSD was a result of your military service, you may still be eligible for VA disability benefits.
The Department of Veteran Affairs defines PTSD as a “mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event. For example, combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault may qualify as stressor events for PTSD.” If symptoms persist for more than a few months, it might be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Without a treatment plan, PTSD can affect personal and professional relationships, as well as daily routines. This can essentially rob people of their quality of life. Additionally, symptoms of PTSD can show up years after their traumatic event occurs. Common symptoms include nightmares, anxiety attacks, or flashbacks about the event.
What Evidence Does The VA Require for PTSD Claims?
For your claim to PTSD benefits to be successful, your PTSD Claim must have three things:
- A Current PTSD Diagnosis (which can be established after your time in service)
- Evidence of a stressor in-service
- A medical nexus opinion linking the current diagnosis to the in-service stressor
Often, Veterans avoid discussing their more traumatic experiences because of the social stigma attached to mental health conditions. In reality, no Veteran should suffer in silence.
I’ve never seen a Psychologist for my PTSD. Am I still eligible for VA Benefits?
A lack of treatment records doesn’t mean VA benefits are unattainable. If your PTSD was a result of your military service, you may still be eligible for VA disability benefits.
Can I submit a PTSD Claim if I was never combat deployed?
The military is a unique work environment that exposes service members to a variety of dangerous work conditions. Therefore, the battlefield isn’t the only triggering event for PTSD. Due to the nature of the job, Veterans face more stressor events that can provoke PTSD than does the average American.
Exposes to direct or indirect fire can also create stressors many feel do not count towards PTSD. Furthermore, it can also include Military Sexual Trauma (MST). These are scenarios where the Veteran experiences a severe workplace-related sexual assault. These, along with other training injuries within non-combat zones have lasting impacts upon PTSD.
Why would I live through my trauma again, just to have my claim denied?
If you experience a traumatic event and can provide a verifiable account of the incident, you will have an easier time building a case. However, the key is being able to verify that a stressor (the event) took place while you were in service and that you suffer directly or indirectly by the stressor. You must also have a PTSD diagnosis.
Our team can work with you to help you understand whether or not you have enough evidence to pursue a PTSD claim.
People judge others for having PTSD.
Many Veterans who have PTSD suffer in silence and do not seek help. Furthermore, they don’t always seek the compensation they deserve because they feel uncomfortable sharing their stories. For this reason, symptoms can be invisible to their friends and close relatives.
You are not alone. The number of PTSD cases out there will surprise you. According to the VA, the number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:
- Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): Up to 20% of military personnel in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
- Gulf War (Desert Storm): Up to 12% of military personnel have PTSD in a given year.
- Vietnam War: Up to 30% of Vietnam Veterans have PTSD in a given year.
If you have PTSD, seek help and keep up with your appointments. If you are in crisis, please call the VA Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to talk to someone today. A professional will answer your call, text, or chat and can help you decide how much of your story you want to share. This service is 100% free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I don’t want to risk being rated for PTSD because of work restrictions.
Actually, having PTSD does not automatically result in workplace restrictions. As per SF 86, mental health treatment and counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny eligibility for access to classified information. This also includes holding a sensitive position. In fact, seeking or receiving mental health care for personal wellness and recovery may contribute favorably to decisions about your eligibility.