Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on May 02, 2017 in Veterans' Benefits
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common mental health issue experienced by veterans of the United States Armed Forces when they return home from combat.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a service member experiences a traumatic event, also known as a stressor, in which:
In some cases, the service member begins experiencing PTSD soon after the traumatic event. In other cases, PTSD takes months or years to begin affecting a veteran.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
If you are a U.S. veteran who suffers from PTSD due to a traumatic event during your military service, you may be eligible for veteran's disability benefits.
However, you will not qualify for benefits unless you can prove three things, according to 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §3.304(f):
As long as there is no clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and the stressor in question is consistent with the circumstances, conditions or hardships of your service, the only credible evidence you need is your personal testimony.
This applies to most situations, including those where you were engaged in combat with the enemy, you were a prisoner of war or you were fearful of hostile military or terrorist activity.
However, if your claim is based on an assault that occurred during your service, you may need more evidence, which could include:
These pieces of evidence may be used to show behavior changes after the alleged assault. Behavior changes that would be considered credible evidence of a stressor include:
In some cases, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will submit evidence it receives to an appropriate medical or mental health professional for an opinion about whether the alleged assault actually occurred.
Other stressors that require corroboration beyond your testimony include:
You need credible medical evidence that you have PTSD. Your diagnosis must conform to the requirements in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
You also need medical evidence showing that the stressor is connected to your service and is the primary cause of your condition and not a preexisting medical issue or another event that was unrelated to your service.
Evidence could include:
You will need to include:
You may also want to include Form 21-4138 Statement in Support of a Claim, detailing your personal narrative of the events that triggered your PTSD symptoms. Accounts of family and friends who have witnessed the impact of your PTSD may also be included.
If you are a veteran who is suffering from PTSD related to your service, you may be entitled to various forms of disability compensation. The Nye Law Group will see you through the claims process, working to secure all of the benefits you are entitled.