Increase in VA Disability Claims for PTSD |
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Increase in VA Disability Claims for PTSD

By   /  January 14, 2013  /  26 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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26 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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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