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Increase in VA Disability Claims for PTSD

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  68 Comments

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The VA disability claims, and benefits paid out, for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are increasing. In 2009, PTSD was the third most common approved VA disability condition for vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, after tinnitus and neck/back strain.

PTSD a common result of combat

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most common mental health disorder experienced by those in combat. The Disabled American Veterans website put together a good report on this topic. They point out that most all veterans will experience some readjustment issues. It’s important to be aware of what a normal readjustment is, compared to the kind of problems that can benefit from professional help.

For people exposed to traumatic situations, such as military combat, as many as one in five may experience PTSD symptoms. Your symptoms may be immediately visible, or they may simmer under the surface for months or years until they’re triggered by an event.

Filing VA disability claims for PTSD

The first step to getting disability benefits for treatment is to be diagnosed with service-connected PTSD. After filing a claim, and being diagnosed, you will be measured for the level of impairment, from 0% – 100%, depending on how much the condition interferes with normal life functions. VA compensation payments begin at 10% and increase at each rating level.

PTSD symptoms can appear throughout a veteran’s life. They might show up soon after returning from active duty or they could be triggered in vets 15 – 20 years later. They can still appear in Vietnam vets and those aging vets who served in Korea.

In 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs relaxed its claim requirements for veterans seeking PTSD assistance. The old regulations had made it hard and time-consuming to produce all of the required documentation. In 2011, a group of Iraq and Afghanistan vets won a settlement from the VA for a class-action lawsuit regarding disability benefits for PTSD. The tide is turning towards full recognition of the seriousness of PTSD and the need for veterans to receive proper treatment, as they would for a physical disability.

Better not to delay treatment

It’s never too late to file VA disability claims, but if you’re having PTSD symptoms, it’s better to get treatment right away. Serious stress problems can interfere with your relationships at home and work. Left untreated, they can affect your ability to succeed at work or school and ultimately, your ability to make a living.

Treatment can be a combination of counseling sessions and possibly medication, if needed. Types of counseling can include individual therapy, family therapy, or group therapy – depending on your individual needs.

PTSD often creates stress-related problems, such as alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, or eating disorders. Stress can also create co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression. These problems can be treated at the same time.

Some veterans may need a rehabilitation plan that could include vocational training and temporary financial assistance. There are many benefits available that you should look into, including those available through the disability compensation program.

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68 Comments

  1. jorge flores- says:

    hello my name is Jorge flores I am veteran who serve in the army for almost 8 years I got rated to PTSD 50% but my conditions are getting worst. I try to kill my self a few times. my anger have increase even started scare my wife we got into a fight and grab her from her neck and push it to the wall. I don’t know was wrong with me. I having constantly night mare. my ptsd doctor increase my fluoxetine doses again to 40 mg and I got increase my dose for prasozin again. I avowing a lot people from work and its very difficult to adapt once you are out. that only support I have its my family but things are getting worse some time I don’t want to go back and stay at work so I can see them but its difficult for me to even talk with my son . his really afraid he always thinks I am mad him but it not his fault. I my wife its even scare of the things that came from my mouth. i hope i can get some good advice from you guys we all came from the same war and we all are battle through this i just want some advice. my conditions are getting out control and my marriage its falling apart. i don’t know if need to get my rated increase but i just need help to save my marriage and have a normal life again.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jorge,

      I recommend you consider contacting a national non-profit agency that reaches out to help our veterans, such as the National Association of Veterans & Families [NAVF]. See its website at http://www.NAVF.org.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  2. Zachery Joyner says:

    I have never filed a claim or even been to the VA. I am now having trouble with my hand and I feel it’s due to a screw placement in my wrist while I was in the military. I also have some mental stuff that I want to be seen for. I have no clue how to be seen by the VA or even file a claim. What should I do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zachery,

      If you believe you have a claim, you can submit it on your own or engage the services of a non-profit agency to help you. You can also ask for information about how to get VA medical services. For example, check with the American Legion or Disabled American Vets or similar organization for free service.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  3. David says:

    Hello, I have been approved for a service connected disability rated at 30% and 10% tinnitus for a total of 40%. My condition has only continued to get worse even through the treatments and medications. I experience panic attacks, depression, anxiety, lose of interest in doing anything, a lack of emotions. It stresses me out to the point were I break down and can’t fully function at times. There are also blanks in my memory and I struggle to figure out what has happened or what I did hours or days ago. I also struggle trying to remember task that I was supposed to be do. I can’t work in my condition and it is also causing me to lose my family due to not being able to support them. Soon we will have burned through everything we saved and if I can’t get back to working soon then I fear I will lose everything. Is it possible to have my rating increased? How long would it take if even possible? Are there other benefits that could help my situation? I really hope you can assist me.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      You would need to file a new claim and submit medical proof that your disability is substantially increased. A claim can take years to process. You may want to seek the assistance of a professional third party organization to help you file the claim. For example, the DAV or American Legion can assist you.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  4. YoungVeteran says:

    Hi, I am currently rated %70 for PTSD. Today I received a call from my VA asking to set an appointment to do an evaluation in order to increase my rating…it seems so random. Is this normal? Are they trying to retire me? Why?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Young Veteran,

      When a veteran is a recipient of VA benefits, the benefit is subject to ongoing audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Claims can be audited randomly or a given claim may be the subject of a circumstantial audit. So it is your duty to comply with the VA’s request or your benefits are subject to being discontinued.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  5. Kathy says:

    I am currently service connected at 30% for depression. I feel like my condition is worsening due to stressful events that are happening in my life. Alot of it is personal issues in my marriage as well as uncertainity about where my life is going and an unplanned pregnancy I’m currently under the care of a Psychologist. I would like to get a rating an increase for my depression. Will I be successful in my request for an increase or are my problems not considered military related

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kathy,

      Based on the background you state in your question, the question asked answers itself. You state life events including the dynamics of marriage and pregnancy have resulted in an increase in your depression. These events or life circumstances do not relate to an in-service medical event. So it would be difficult to link conditions in your private, non-military life, to a service-related event. Unfortunately on its face it does not appear there is any plausible claim. The criteria of “plausibility” is what is needed to make a VA claim or contention of disability.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  6. Kimberly says:

    Hello,
    I am currently receiving 70% for PTSD and alcoholism in partial remission and torn ligaments in my ankle. My drug of choice changed over the years and now I am in an inpatient drug rehab for meth and am dealing with legal issues because of it. I’m in Colorado and was Told there is no inpatient rehab for women and am stuck in a state funded one which is not helping. I’m worried I’m going to use immediately once released since they won’t put me on meds. I’m suicidal for a number of reasons including being unemployable and for being raped in Iraq. I want to apply for an increase but I am worried they will reduce my pay especially since I am addicted to meth because it numbs my pain. I’m fighting to get my 2 babies back but if I lose my pay there is no way that will happen. My head is a mess and I’m constantly in pain. I guess Im wondering what’s the chance of my rating decreasing due to drugs? Is it risky to apply for 100%?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      The Disability Advisor cannot offer advice as to the merits or lack of merits about you filing a new claim. When any new claim for VA compensation benefits is filed, there are potential unintended consequences. One of the events triggered by the filing of a claim is that the VA will conduct a de novo review. This means the VA will look at the current disabilities of the veteran and determine if the rating should be increased or remain the same, or it can consider an elimination or reduction in the current rating.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  7. Mary Ann Capitan says:

    My husband has a S/C 50% disability for PTSD and 10% for tinnitus. We tried to file a SMC claim for erectile dysfunction due to the medication he is taking for his PTSD which leaves him pretty much unable to have any feelings for too much of anything. His erectile dysfunction started with the first medication he was put on and then everything went downhill with the new medication and an increase in it after about a year. They denied his SMC claim for the erectile dysfunction stating it was not part of his PTSD. The doctor who saw him ( a female) never even examined him. She just asked questions and that was it. She asked him if he ever had trauma “down there” and since he said no she said she wasn’t going to do any exam. Should we appeal this or file for a reconsideration or just drop the whole issue now? My husband is not happy about the situation he is in because he needs the meds to function.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      The Disability Advisor does not render any opinions as to whether or not a veteran should file a claim. That decision is for the veteran to make. Keep in mind that a veteran must be able to file a plausible claim. This means that the claim should be of merit and supportable by medical evidence as to the dysfunction and what it arises from. The claim documentation should include a medical opinion as to the nature and scope of the disability.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  8. Fred Garza says:

    I applied for an increase on my ptsd and my evaluation was done .how long does it take to get an answer from the v.a ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Fred,

      There are currently more than four million claims. Thus, there is a huge backlog. It literally can take years before your claim may be processed.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Brandon veders says:

        I filed a claim for ptsd and went to a local Va office to get checked and was diagnosed with ptsd by the doctor at the Va . Will They add it on with my file that i originally claimed?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Brandon,

          If the claim to the local VA Regional Office or Evidence Center.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  9. Jason B. says:

    When I was active duty I underwent extensive treatment for PTSD. As I departed active duty the VA rated me at 10% for my PTSD and said that it doesn’t warrant a higher rating because I live a normal life. I’m confused as to what they consider a normal life? I take medication every night before bed to help me sleep, I have nightmares, I have to keep a bottle of Xanax in my desk at work for when I get slammed with a panic attack, I can’t sit in meetings too long before having to excuse myself, I can’t concentrate on reading or studying, and my sex life is now non existent. I’m 29 years old and I should be able to get through a full day of work or class without having to leave the room or taking a pill. I see my VA provider every two months for follow up, yet when the VA re-examined my claim they did not find it just to increate it from 10%. To be honest with you, it isn’t about the money… I have friends that didn’t go through the same experiences as me and they were rated higher. I’m just frustrated and think I deserve more than 10%.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      You need to have some benchmarks as to what constitutes a rating of 10% versus an increased rating of let us say 20%. In other words, what conditions justify a doubling of a rating or more.

      When you state your rating was only 10% because “I live a normal life,” that phrase is not technically accurate. Probably someone told you that phrase but it really does not relate to how the VA determines a rating. A rating is based on the activities of your daily living and how a prior medical condition is currently aggravated related to your employability. Since you are employed and function in society, the VA will determine to what extent your in-service medical condition currently impacts your life. It looks at your activities in your daily life and makes a judgment about the quality of your life. You will need to obtain medical opinions of specifically how your current life activities are impacted and obtain specific testing to prove a claim for increased rating.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Ignacio says:

        Good afternoon,

        I currently have a PTSD rating of 30 percent. I reached out for help to the VA and after being diagnosed with PTSD my life went into a downward spiral. I lost my marriage, weight and am now in debt due to financial debt. Iam currently in the rebuilding process and trying to get my life together. Should I file for an increase in rating. If so is my divorce documents considered supporting evidence. Thank you

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Ignacio,

          Only you as the veteran can decide if you should file for an increase. Perhaps you may want to seek a legal opinion. Your divorce has nothing to do with a VA compensation claim. What has to do with your claim is your medical condition not your personal affairs.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames

  10. Cedric Arthur Stennis says:

    I currently have a PTSD rating of 70%. I was just recently treated for my PTSD because of a massive breakdown and I requested in increase via eBenefits. I’ve also been treated for an empinged nerve in my shoulder and lower lumber injury in which I’ve also requested an increase on. My question is, since these were pre existing service connected claims in which I was awarded my total rating of 90%, in the event that my increase is awarded to 100% will my retro pay date back to date of original claim, treatment, or date of request for increase?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cedric,

      Whenever a veteran files a claim for an increase in rating, it is considered a new claim. A new claim is not retroactive. Benefits are dated as of the date the new application is received by the VA.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  11. Brad R says:

    Hello,

    I am currently 40% disabled due to injuries and have 100% for PTSD as of 2 years ago. I am not rated as permanent. I just contacted the VA to do another examination as I feel I should get permanent. I have completed all treatment programs the last 2 years to include inpatient treatment for 2 months, counseling, psychiatrist, and outside VA doctor that does Neuro Feedback. All of this has not helped. So my question is will the VA issue a permanent rating after only 2 years of therapy?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brad,

      Probably not. You need to obtain a medical opinion from a private/non-VA physician for submission to the VA.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  12. Nick says:

    I have a 30% disabled rating for PTSD. Recently, I had to step down from a supervisor position at work due to my horrible anxiety. Can I resubmit a claim for an increase in rating for anxiety or is that included in my PTSD rating? Can I just ask my va medical provider to help with the claim? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nick,

      You can proceed on the basis you suggest. But, it probably will not result in an increase in your PTSD ratings. The information needed to prove an increase is both a medical and a legal decision. You should seek the assistance of a professional who can evaluate the merits of your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  13. I am currently receiving 30% disability for PTSD. I have filed for an increase. I was given a form to download 21-0960-3. What am I suppose to do? Do I bring this form to my counselor to fill out? I’m confused and hope I can do everything I need to in order to not lose what benefits I already have.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Manuel,

      When a veteran files a new claim such as you have done for a benefit increase, the VA conducts a de novo review. This means you are applying for a benefit increase, but you need to understand that benefits can remain the same or the VA can determine your condition has improved and the VA can eliminate or reduce the benefit. A claim is open-ended.

      I cannot determine what the purpose of someone instructing you to download a VA form. The VA has the burden to evaluate and develop claim evidence unless you have filed for an expedited claim. Typically a veteran has no affirmative duty to prove a claim. Despite this, unless you comply with the request, it is more likely than not that your claim will be denied for lack of cooperation.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  14. Jeremy says:

    I am an OEF combat medic with a 10% PTSD claim as of April 2009. Many of us have a hard time accepting that we are having difficulties doing things all on our own. My PTSD was so bad when I left active duty that I couldn’t leave the house during the day. I went to all my appointments and met regularly one on one with a therapist. I have a lot of pride and eventually stopped scheduling appointments. I went to the VA as things got worse in 2012 and was referred to a local Vet Center. I have put all the suggestions into practice that were given to me by the medical providers, but things are not improving. I was called by the VA to reevaluate my claim recently but was unsure how to proceed. I am now married with a child, but I am having extreme difficulties keeping a decent job. I am tired of lying to myself that I don’t need help? I even managed to get a 4 year college degree recently but missed a lot of school because of stress and paranoia. I graduated but my GPA suffered terribly. It’s time we were honest with ourselves about our issues. I will not lie to myself anymore. I am going back to the clinic to get help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeremy,

      If you have a question, please post it and I will forward it to an accredited VA attorney for response.

      Aincerely,
      Kay

      • will spause says:

        can i apply for ptsd . my mom died holding me in her arms
        when she found me overdosed on herion.this happened after my discharge in 1970

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Will,

          VA compensation benefits are paid to veterans to compensate than for what happened to their bodies or minds from an in-service medical event. You may have PTSD now, but if it does not relate back to medical event that occurred while you are in the military, you would not be eligible for compensation. In other words, you must prove you had a documented medical injury or illness while servicing in the armed forces and that you currently have a medical disability and diagnosis that relates back to the military service.

          Some disabled veterans are eligible for VA pension benefits, which is a needs based program for disabled and aged veterans. You can read about this program at http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/vetpen.asp.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

      • Daniel Carman says:

        Hi, so I’m literally in a downward spiral! I draw 80% from va for ptsd, chronic depression, anxiety,panic attacks, and hearing loss. Ibe always had attendence problems at work, I’ve been suspended, personal leave for a week in a psych ward at the va, was just off for a month due to a breakdown at work, I was crying uncontrollable, dizzy and I pretty much just gave up on life at that point. My fiance has been great to me but like all my relationships my ptsd causes alot of problems, including sex life, anger issues, break ups, kicking and hitting in my sleep from bad nightmares and we’ll I’m just tired of being scared everyday because everyday I don’t know what is gonna happen! At work I’m always on edge, scared, feeling trapped like if I panic or have an anxiety attack what do I do? They have been very kind about working with me but I can’t live like this forever and I really need 100% disability. I’ve tried working for 10 years since I’ve been out of the service and I just can’t do it anymore, I’m ready to give up! I have an appointment Monday with a lady that helps veterans fill out there paper work for compensation and now I’m freaking out and scared because if they don’t award me 100% then I don’t know what will happen to me. I’ve already had a drug problem, plus I can’t keep money and I gamble all the time and I just wanna get better and I don’t feel I can do that while working, adds way more stress. Do you think they will award me 100% I really hope so

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Daniel,

          To prove a 100% VA compensation benefit claim is difficult. There are complex medical-legal issues. You should consider having an accredited VA attorney review the merits of your situation for an evaluation regarding whether filing an appeal or filing a new claim has merits.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  15. Bryan says:

    I need to file a PTSD claim and I am hearing about a lot of horror stories on the process of filing a claim and don’t want to waste my time and be humiliated in the process. Who can help me get it right the first time. Louisville Kentucky.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bryan,

      I suggest that you contact the American Legion or Disabled Veterans for assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  16. John Roderick says:

    I am currently receiving 30% for PTSD I havent been going to my counseling appointments do to anxiety within the last year I have lost my mother and my infant daughter has passed away from sids this has triggered other issues from the past. My question is am I able to try for an increase even though I have not been going to my appointments

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      No, you need to prove a current diagnosis with an ongoing active illness which is being treated by a physician over an extended time period–a minimum 6 months continuous care. I suggest that you try to have a friend or relative go to and from the appointments with you until you can go on your own.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  17. Michaela Bennett says:

    Hello, My husband got out in 2007 with 0% rated disability for ptsd , he recently went back to file for a raise in his percentage because his ptsd has just gotten worse, is there a positivity he will receive back pay from 07 ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michaela,

      No, your husband will not receive retroactive pay if he is successful in obtaining an increase in rating. The benefit date is retroactive only to the date the VA received the latest new claim application. If you filed a claim today, and the VA postmarked receipt of the application today, then the claim date of today would be the benefit date, if such was awarded.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  18. Naomi knight says:

    I’m a 62yo vet with 100% permanent temporary disability for ptsd, awarded in 2013. At my age why wouldn’t the VA give me permanent and total wouldn’t this seem more reasonable. My Va doctor doesn’t want me to do anything along. Yet I can’t get a caretaker, does this seen right to you?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      The VA writes its decision letters in terms of a disability rating, which is in a percentage. I am not aware of VA decisions stating that a disability is “permanent temporary.” The co-mingling of “permanent” with the word “temporary” appears to be a contradiction. Either a disability is permanent or, on the other hand, it is temporary. As a result, I am uncertain if you are accurately quoting from a VA decisional letter. I suggest you reread your reference source to determine if, in fact, the VA made a finding of “100% permanent temporary disability”

      Additionally, your post does not make clear from what agency you are trying to get a caretaker or whether you have been formally denied one and if so when and whether you have appealed. If you clarify these things and still have a question, feel free to post again.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  19. david camou says:

    I am 54 yrs old I have been diagnosed with PSTD and TBL along with maniers and a sleep disorder which I am being treated for at the VA recently my company called me and stated that I was placed on medical layoff and if I want to try to reapply in six months I could if there was any openings which I qualified for in other words there will be no openings for me to qualify I am a disable Vet. Is there any way to sue the company for wrongful termination they never even tried to accommodate any positions within the company I work for 4 and a half years for they claim i was was disabled under FMLA but in fact under the ADA I was wrongfully fired I was collecting SDI two different disabilities I also have a claim with VA benefits still pending in the mean time I have no income I need a good lawyer to fight back do you have a lawyer I can contact

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Der David,

      The Disability Advisor cannot provide you any legal advice as to a potential federal or state employment-related discrimination case. We suggest you contact your state Bar Association for a referral to a private attorney in your vicinity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  20. Bruce M. says:

    I am currently being treated for PTSD at the VA. I have not applied for PTSD disability. I am concerned that I will have difficulty obtaining / keeping employment if I am ‘rated’. How will a VA rating affect my ability to obtain a job, get a clearance, etc.?
    I retired from the military three years ago and taught public school for a year. The HR department interviewed me and one of the first statements made was “We have a Vietnam veteran here that has caused us problems. I hope you don’t have similar issues”
    I worked under a hostile environment for this school system for one year and retired from it. Haven’t worked since.
    Please advise…
    Thanks much.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bruce,

      Federal law has a number of statutes dealing with discrimination claims. Your question does not directly deal with the VA law. In fact, federal VA law actively encourages hiring of veterans. When you interview, you are not required to disclose any disability and the employer cannot inquire other than to ask if you are fit to work in a specific capacity or in the alternative have you take a medical exam related to fitness for a specific position.

      The real problem you are having in the context of the employer’s questioning you is to prove that the person interviewing you actually made the statement to you. If you could prove that assertion you might have a claim against the employer. I am not suggesting you file a complaint but you do have rights under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Bruce M. says:

        Thank you very much…
        When I was interviewed the school board had the director of HR and the administrator in charge of certification in the room. Unfortunately I did not have representation so it would be my word against theirs.
        I was too trusting.

        v/r

  21. Mari says:

    My husband applied for P.T.S.D. compensation over a year ago. In the past year V.A. has said he missed 2 appts but he was never notified he had any not a phone call or a e-benefits notification. So they kept closing his case and kept reopening it. Now he received a notice that his case is under review and only going back to Sept. That is when he had his evaluation. What about the fact that it should go all the way back to March 2013 when he first was told by V.A. doctor to apply?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mari,

      The date of benefit eligibility is the date the latest claim was received by the VA or the date of disability,if found to be later. You will need to inquire why the date of disability was established as of the date of his evaluation. VA may take the position that the disability was not substantiated at an earlier date.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  22. Jen says:

    I have a SC rating for PTSD @ 30% since 1996. I have only tried treatment 3-4 times since then. I spent the first 10 years at home and I have never been able to hold a full-time job. I have been trying to push my comfort zone & I have been able to work seasonally the last 3 years, which helps because when my symptoms flare up, I can lay my self off, giving me time to try and get my head together. I primarily stay home because going out causes me a great deal of anxiety. I have been told years ago that I should apply for an increase in the VA claim, but just the thought of doing that causes me a great deal of anxiety. I had a recent flare up of my symptoms and I’m no longer able to lay myself off from work to help myself. I went to the VA, I was given FMLA paper work to give me some time off, but they are pushing treatment on me. I can not push treatment and try to push working at the same time. Its overwhelming. My question is, would I be able to get an increase in my compensation temporary, so that I could take a leave of absence from work and try this treatment. What would I need to do to ask for this? Would I have to go face to face with someone to be evaluated or could they just use the records from my recent VA visits? How hard do you think it would be to be successful at getting an increase?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jen,

      Based on the context of your question, it appears you are not actively receiving medical treatment. As such, you have no way to prove to the VA that you have an increase in your disability, whether your condition is permanent or temporary. Also, short-term compensation is not provided for under the VA disability rating system. So you will need to seek a medical evaluation and medical opinion of your current disabilities.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  23. Sharon says:

    My husband has a S/C for ptsd and is at 50%. He has been treating with 2 doctors for mental health.
    Things started getting worse for him with MED and a mood disorder. Since he had to give up his job because of his ptsd we were forced to move to live with family for a while.
    My husband attempted suicide luckily he failed at it. We decided since he couldnt work anymore we would put in for an increase. He had his C&P this past Dec. He has been seeing two doctors as well in our new location and both doctors are really trying to help my husband. But the doctor who did my husbands C&P said that he believes my husband is lying all my husbands othet doctors were shocked to have heard this because they know my husband is very depressed. So after

    my husband read his C&P this past week he flipped out because he couldn’t believe that the doctor said he was lying this man doesnt even know my husband. So he took pills and tried to kill himself and now the v.a. has put him in a mental health hospital. I cant understand with 3 years of being awarded for ptsd years of treatment this one doctor almost took my husbands life. So people be very careful when you go for an increase. I would imagine that at this time i didnt even think the rater is even going to listen to that jerk of a doctor. And funny thing is is when his attorney saw who the doctor was she knew he was going to get an outcome like this because this doctor does it to all the veterans. Its really a shame that these doctors are giving be reviews to tbe people who really need it.

  24. Dawn says:

    During my QTC evaluation for depression the doctor brought up that I had signs of PTSD. Once I received the copy of the evaluation, I noticed that he also mentioned in there. Is there something I can do to file for PTSD? Would I be able to get a higher % for PTSD instead of MDD for is there anyway to claim one as a primary & the other as secondary?

    Also, I am being treating for a sleep disorder due to my depression/PTSD. Can I claim that as a primary or secondary to my depression?

    Thanks
    Dawn

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dawn,

      You need to have a plausible claim to file an application for benefits. Your situation describes plausibility. There are four basic things you must prove. (1) You have a current diagnosis of a medical illness or condition. (2) You incurred an in-service medical condition or illness. (3) There is linkage of your current medical condition to your in-service medical event and (4) that you are a veteran.

      It appears your problem will be to prove you had an in-service medical condition or event which links to a current medical condition. You state that there are signs of a medical condition but there is no diagnosis of PTSD. So you will need to show the VA a medical report stating you have a definitive diagnosis and how it links back to your PTSD which was incurred in-service. You will need to provide the VA with a copy of your in-service medical records showing treatment for this issue while on active duty. In the alternative, you will need to obtain a written medical expert opinion, at your own cost, that your current medical condition links back to an in-service event.

      Finally, it is not a requirement that you prove if any medical condition is primary or secondary. Your doctor can document the diagnosis of depression and sleep disorders and the relationship between them and your pre-existing medical condition.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Dawn says:

        The QTC doctor diagnosed me with MDD w/ Anxiety and I currently receive SC of 30% for this. As I stated previously, he told me I showed signs of PTSD but said he could not evaluate me for that because the VA sent me there for depression. He did put it in his report that he recommended I be evaluated for PTSD. Well since then, I have been seeing a LCSW at the VA and opened up to her about being raped while on active duty. I have never told anyone about this before. Can a LCSW diagnose me (for VA claim purposes) as having PTSD? Also, once I am diagnosed with PTSD, what should I file for? PTSD claimed as MST or should I file to increase my MDD w/ Anxiety. Thank you for your assistance. Dawn

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dawn,

          You will first need to obtain a medical doctor’s opinion of a current diagnosis. Then you should check to see if you have any military records which support your contention as to military sexual trauma (MST). In any event, you must show in-service records of reporting MST events or medical records supporting the event. If you can locate these records, then you can either file a new claim on either basis of PTSD or MDD with anxiety.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  25. Chris still says:

    I’ve ben a emt/fighter for 15 years iwas in solima 92-93 seen lot thefe dead body’s as far an see I just a hurting Nadia can’t do it anymore. Please point me inthe right directions d
    I know I can’t make it to christmas

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      You need to see a psychologist at the VA (or elsewhere, if you can’t get an appointment soon). Tell them all your problems; then apply for disability.

      Best regards,
      James Mitchell Brown
      Attorney at Law

  26. Charles says:

    Hello I’m suffering from ptsd everyday. I put off getting help til my family all kept telling me that I needed help. Ive attempted suicide on one occasion. I finally went to the VA for help then they only prescribed me meds. The meds help a little but it isn’t enough I was suppose to go to work for the sheriff’s department in a couple months but I failed the psychiatric portion of the requirements. The VA is aware of that situation. On top of that I have 3 kids and its tough to make ends meet so when I got a bill in the mail for the meds it really bothered me since the army is the reason for me to take the meds but I still have to pay. They’ve never mentioned anything about compensation so I have no idea what to do.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Charles,

      Has the VA recognized your PTSD as service connected and have you applied for disability? A claim for disability compensation has to be filed separately from an application for medical or psychiatric care; so if you have not filed a claim or have not appealed a denied claim, that would be your next step. It could be a good idea to get a copy of the psych test that you failed so you can submit a copy with your claim.

      Sincerely,
      James Mitchell Brown
      Attorney at Law

  27. Prassedes Williams says:

    Hello i’m veteran who was told they had ptsd and i’m taken pills for it. I’m ready received a of 30% before i was told of my ptsd. can i get more rate because of my Pstd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Passedes,

      You have to file an application to claim your PTSD as service connected. If it is, you can get an increase in compensation. If you are not working because of your condition, ask for unable-to-work compensation.

      Sincerely,
      James Mitchell Brown
      Attorney at Law

  28. Linda M Rothrock says:

    My name is Linda Rothrock. I am the spouse of a disabled veteran who served our country for more than 26 years. He is now retired. He was a first responder to the WTC, served his tours in Iraq and responded to Hurricane Katrina. He is now an inpatient at a VA Hospital for PTSD & TBI, among other things. I am having a serious issue with payment from the VA for multiple reasons. He received a service rating in May 2011. In June 2013 we received the first check paid as a single serviceman. He has three dependents and those three dependants are not new. He has had them for more than 16 years, and me 20. We are all in the DEERS system. I filed dependency claims in July 2013 I filed dependency claims, for myself and my 2 children. Still waiting. No updates. No responses. We have faxed hardship letters, paperwork and bills to them daily since January of 2014. No response. Ebenefits has no updates. No one has answers. Now that he is admitted for treatment, his temporary disability increase paperwork has been done but we were just told that it can’t be submitted until he is discharged from the program – so what good does temporarily increasing his benefit to assist his family while in treatment, if it doesn’t take effect until after he come homes. And even then, we will be lucky #1 to see it within a reasonable time frame and #2 it won’t include dependents either. He will get a new rating, I’m sure, after re-review after discharge, and that won’t even include dependents. We are in a financial hardship here, and have been working with and receiving some assistance from veterans organizations for food, utility bills and mortgage payments, not to mention travel expenses like gas. But I can not continue to get their help every month until he comes home. I work two jobs and can not sustain my bills. We need some financial assistance now and the VA is tying up everything between the dependent claims which were started 10 months ago, paying his disability correctly (with 3 dependents) and increasing his benefits temporarily to help us. I don’t know where else to turn and I don’t know who to go to for help. I am getting no where with the compensation and pension department, nor at the VA hospital. My next step is the adjunct general. Any advice?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Linda,

      I suggest that your spouse go to the VA and ask what other paperwork must be filed to get this moving. Do you have a power of attorney to do things on his behalf? If not it may be a good idea to get one. Is your husband getting Social Security Disability? If not he should sign up. If he has a good attorney helping you have a better chance of winning on the initial application with a much smaller fee.

      Sincerely,

      James Mitchell Brown
      Attorney at Law

  29. Ron David Groh says:

    I need help appling for ptsd and agent orange. I have been homeless for a while thank god this nice lady is helping me some can you help me get my records and honor back. I was a door gunner in vietnam 2 years jan 1970-through dec 1971 then the reserves Army . door gunner go in and air lift our troops to safty. i was in when their was active fighting. I shake and has some heart problems. im proud to have served my country. i have an 8th grade education but am smart.i need an income have not held steady employment for i wig out in large places like walmart or where their are closed in places can not go to movie theater. or malls setting. please call me at 303-279-3039. I could have a little of what life has to offer if i could get benefits. God Bless America Ronald David Groh US Army 101 Airborne….if you would like to write me send to Ron Groh In Care of Kimberly Wineland RN 99 Abalone Rd Venice Fl. she cant hear good so sometime she misses the phone rings so keep trying …Thank-you…. I gave to my country willingly..Have 2 Purple Hearts..my heart seem like its purple now please help!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ron,

      I am forwarding your request for attorney assistance to Disability Advisor’s attorney response department.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

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