Veterans Disability Benefits for PTSD
We fight for those who have fought for us
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly suffered mental health issue experienced by soldiers returning home from combat, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and if you suffer from PTSD because of your military service, you might be eligible to receive veterans disability benefits. A Milwaukee veterans disability attorney from Tabak Law, LLC can help you pursue your claim.
What is PTSD?
PTSD develops after a traumatic event. The symptoms form after an individual has suffered personal exposure to the actual possibility or the threatened possibility of suffering serious injury or being killed. It can also result after witnessing a life-changing event that involves the injury or death of someone else, such as another soldier, or learning about the serious injury or death of a relative or acquaintance.
The individual who suffers from PTSD has episodes of intense fear that are often debilitating. These are accompanied by episodes of horror and helplessness. The individual might even relive this particular traumatic event over and over. The affected individual might try to avoid any stimuli that are associated with the specific trauma. The individual with PTSD might experience episodes where they feel or act numb or have persistent symptoms indicating increased stimulation.
PTSD symptoms occur for a duration of more than a month and result in a serious disruption in work-related or social functioning. Things that trigger PTSD episodes are called stressors in the VA regulations. Stressors might include accidents, deliberate events made by men such as war, or natural disasters.
Which Veterans are Eligible for Veterans Disability Benefits?
For an individual to be eligible to receive any kind of veterans disability benefits, there must be specific criteria met. The veteran must have a disability of disease that has received a medical diagnosis. This diagnosis might include a mental disorder or disease, such as PTSD. Second, a triggering incident during active military, air, or naval service must have occurred. And third, the military veteran must be able to provide evidence of a causal link between their active military duty and the disease or injury suffered presently. This means that they have to show the disease is “service-connected.” Your VA disability attorney from Tabak Law, LLC, can help prove this connection by gathering the evidence.
How to Get Disability Benefits from the Veterans Administration
To get disability benefits, any veterans suffering from PTSD must have a mental evaluation at a VA medical facility. The VA medical center psychiatrist will provide a diagnosis. To obtain disability benefits based on a diagnosis of PTSD, the VA psychiatrist must diagnose PTSD.
At that point, the veteran must apply for disability benefits. You can apply for VA disability benefits online at the Veterans Online Application website (VONAPP) at www.ebenefits.va.gov. If preferred, the veteran can complete VA Form 21-526. A Tabak Law veterans disability lawyer can help you with this process.
The veteran must supply specific documentation, including DD214 Certificate of Release and Discharge from Active Duty or other separation papers showing all periods of service. Copies of all medical records including the VA medical facility’s mental health evaluation must be provided as well. The VA will accept Form 21-4138 Statement in Support of a Claim. This might include a letter written by the veteran explaining the events that caused the PTSD or all of the symptoms that are suffered because of it. Letters from family and friends can also describe how the condition impacts the veteran in the letters they write.
PTSD Regulations That Are Streamlined
The process for military veterans suffering from PTSD to obtain VA disability benefits was streamlined. This went into effect as of July 13, 2010. These regulations made it easier for military veterans who did not serve in combat to prove their PTSD has been caused by a stressor that relates to “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity.” If the presented evidence shows that the stressor coincides with the different places, circumstances, and kinds of service that the applicant experienced while in the military, the regulations indicate that:
• A PTSD diagnosis exist.
• A psychologist or psychiatrist at the VA confirms the stressor encountered by the veteran was sufficient to cause the PTSD.
• The veteran’s symptoms result from or are relate to the specified stressor; and
• The indicated stressor coincides with the kinds of places and circumstances of the veteran’s military service and the record does not contain any evidence that is clear and convincing to the contrary.
Before this new regulation went into effect, veterans must provide supporting documentation and evidence that verified the stressor’s occurrence, a time-consuming and challenging requirement that was either difficult or almost impossible to fulfill.
How Does the Veterans Administration Come Up the PTSD Disability Rating for Veterans?
A rating system is used for the different disabilities suffered by veterans. This rating determines the coinciding compensation amount for the disability. The severity of a disability is measured in increments of 10%. A veteran can range from 10% to 100% disabled. If you are given a disability rating of 0%, it is not compensable but the VA is acknowledging that you do have a disability related to your military service and that rating might increase in the future. The higher percentage rating that you receive for your disability, the higher level of compensation you will receive for VA disability benefits. Your Milwaukee veterans disability lawyer can help you understand more about VA disability ratings.
To determine the percentage rating for disability to assign to a veteran suffering from PTSD, the rating agency must consider several things, including the duration of, the frequency of, and severity of any psychiatric symptoms resulting from the condition. The length of periods of remission, and how the veteran’s capacity for adjustment during remission periods comes into play. The agency doing the rating also considers the occupational and social impairments suffered by the veteran, but the rating might not be based solely on the veteran’s social impairments.
The statute that governs disability benefits for veterans clearly identifies any specific symptoms and effects resulting from mental disorders, including PTSD specifically. This statute assigns a disability rating based on the specific symptoms. As an example, a veteran who is experiencing complete social and occupational impairment and has gross impairment of the thought processes and communication, suffers from delusions or hallucinations of a persistent nature and is persistently in danger of harming himself or others, has intermittent inability to perform daily living activities, suffers from memory loss, or is disoriented about the place and time would receive a disability rating of 100%.
However, a veteran who is suffering from mild or transient symptoms along with a decreased efficiency when it comes to work and is impacted in his ability to perform work-related tasks when encountering a period of significant stress, or if his symptoms are controllable by continuous medication, a disability rating of 10% might be awarded. If an event of a highly stressful nature requires the military enlistee to be released early from his service, the VA is required to assign a rating of at least 50% disabled. Another evaluation is required within the six-month time period after the veteran’s discharge to determine if that disability rating should be changed. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers an anonymous, free PTSD screening on its website, www.myhealth.va.gov/.
If you are ready to apply for VA disability benefits because of PTSD, you should not face this challenge alone. You can improve your odds of a much more successful claim with the help of an experienced VA disability lawyer. The Milwaukee disability attorneys at Tabak Law, LLC, are experienced in helping veterans with PTSD get the benefits they need and deserve. Call today to talk with one of our PTSD disability lawyers about your case. We offer a free initial case consultation.