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Increase in VA Disability Claims for PTSD

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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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8 Comments

  1. 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, but because it may be difficult to reach you, I suggest that you call Disability Advisor at this toll-free number 1-888-393-1010 and say that you are looking for an attorney to help you file a VA compensation claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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