Engaging In Va Treatment Before Applying For Service
A substantial proportion of veterans presenting for compensation examinations have not received VA services before. In a review of administrative records from 452 veterans who obtained service-connected compensation for PTSD, only 112 had been using mental health services before initiating their claim . Another study of veterans filing PTSD claims found that those receiving mental health services when they applied were disproportionately younger, married, and dependent on public insurance. Surprisingly, service use was not associated with having more severe self-reported symptoms of PTSD . It is not known whether the studies of service use also apply to OIF/OEF veterans because few OIF/OEF veterans were enrolled in those studies. Large majorities of veterans in those studies were Vietnam-era veterans with chronic PTSD who had accumulated long-term comorbidities .
Evidence exists that OIF/OEF veterans have particular difficulty engaging in mental health treatment. A survey of combat troops returning from OIF/OEF indicated a large gap between veterans perceived needs for mental health treatment and their having received it only 23 to 40 percent of those whose responses suggested a psychiatric disorder had sought mental health care . A corroborating, more recent article found significantly lower rates of session attendance and higher rates of treatment dropout in a cohort of OIF/OEF veterans compared with rates in Vietnam-era veterans .
Am I Eligible For Disability Benefits From Va
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you have symptoms related to a traumatic event or your experience with the stressor is related to the PTSD symptoms, and you meet all of these requirements.
All of these must be true:
- The stressor happened during your service, and
- You cant function as well as you once could because of your symptoms, and
- A doctor has diagnosed you with PTSD
Examples Of Military Ptsd
Some examples of PTSD include a military photographer who photographed gruesome crime scenes during service, a parachuter who landed on a cactus, and several Veteran who were bullied during service by superiors or even fellow soldiers. Weve helped connect several Veterans for depression that arose as a response to physical conditions, such as COPD or cancer. More classic examples include combat-related stress, and claims that arose from sexual assaults during service . Weve handled all of these types of cases and the possibilities are really endless.
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Dealing With Incorrect Ratings
It is not uncommon for the VA to assign inadequate or incorrect ratings when it comes to former servicemembers with PTSD. In some cases, the decisions are rushed or made without proper investigation. It is also worth noting that diagnosing PTSD can be far more challenging than physical injuries. Because of the inability to see PTSD with their own eyes, many evaluators refuse to acknowledge the diagnosis.
Many veterans are also unable to properly advocate for themselves when it comes to obtaining a PTSD diagnosis because they lack the medical background needed to evaluate the condition on their own. These challenges can result in the VA failing to adequately rate a former servicemembers PTSD, misdiagnosing it as another condition entirely, or even refusing to accept that a veteran is dealing with a condition at all.
The good news is that there are options for challenging incorrect rating decisions. There is an appeals process that veterans with PTSD may rely on to challenge decisions made by the VA. An appeal is not only useful when a PTSD claim is denied outright, as former servicemembers could also appeal if they believe they were rated incorrectly or for the wrong condition. An appeal could increase the rating substantially, which would also boost the monthly benefits available to the disabled vet.
Tips To Improve Your Va Ptsd Claim
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
This is the ultimate guide to improve your VA PTSD claim in 2020.
All VA claims for PTSD depend upon the Frequency, Severity,and Duration of your mental health symptoms over time, and more specifically,your current level of Occupational and Social Impairment.
Translation: You MUST be able to explain HOW your PTSD is negativelyaffecting your work, life, relationships, and social functioning.
The VA Rating Official, more commonly known as the RVSR, will eventually make a subjective rating assessment by comparing all your medical evidence and supporting statements along with the C& P examiners notes on the electronic version of the PTSD DBQ, which will be either the Initial PTSD DBQ or the PTSD Review DBQ.
Wondering if you have PTSD for VA compensation purposes? Click HERE to take our FREE VA PTSD Test for Veterans.
According to CFR 38 PTSD the VA Schedule of Ratings, your VA PTSD claim can be rated from 0% to 100%, with interim breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%.
The current VA ratings for PTSD in 2020 are: 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%.
Alright, lets dive-in to the Top 5 Ways to Improve Your VA PTSD Claim, even if youve already filed or been denied.
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Lack Of Ptsd Stressor
A large number of PTSD claims are denied because there isnt a service-connected PTSD stressor. There is a whole section about PTSD stressors later in the article if you dont know what they are. All veterans filing a PTSD VA disability benefits claim need to have a combat or non-combat PTSD stressor. If your PTSD is not service-connected with a stressor, the VA will deny your PTSD VA disability benefits claim.
What Symptoms Of Ptsd Should I Bring Up At My C& p Exam
Nightmares are of the most intense symptoms of PTSD. However, as awful as nightmares can be, they only fall under the 30 percent rating symptom cluster in the VAs rating formula. Therefore, it is important to consider other symptoms like anger and difficulty dealing with authority which may open the door to eligibility for an increased rating for PTSD.
These symptoms, even if they arent as frequent or intense, show the true measure of the severity of the disability. Loved ones, especially those acting as caregivers, usually are better at observing these, so written statements from those individuals may be helpful as well.
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Five Reasons It Is A Challenge To Get The Right Va Ptsd Rating
1) Veterans facing the limitations of PTSD condition are already at their mental limits, meaning it is next to impossible to keep track of the VA red-tape and evidence needed to establish the right VA PTSD rating.
2) PTSD is a latent condition meaning it doesnt always arise on the battlefield. My own grandfather didnt experience this condition it was known as shellshock until years after he fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Because it often arrives later in life after service, it can be hard to convince the VA to service connect PTSD, no less give you the correct VA PTSD rating.
3) The VA regulations governing VA PTSD ratings and PTSD claims are rewritten frequently.
Many of these rewrites are pitched as being Vet Friendly or liberalizing rules to make the process easier. When they are put into practice, it turns out that new VA PTSD rating or service connection rules or regulations make the claims harder and are anti-veteran.
4) The VA has created a bottleneck in VA PTSD claims, by finding PTSD cannot be service-connected until a doctor whose bread is buttered by the VA concludes that there is the requisite nexus.This can dramatically delay the amount of time it takes you to get the appropriate VA PTSD rating.
Prepare For Your Compensation And Pension Exam
When a veteran requests an increased rating for their post-traumatic stress disorder, VA will likely send them to another C& P exam that will focus mainly on the severity of the condition. Veterans should be honest and forthcoming about how PTSD affects their everyday life to ensure they receive an accurate rating.
It is essential to attend all scheduled C& P exams. VA may deny a veterans claim if they fail to attend a scheduled exam. If a veteran is unable to attend an exam, they should inform VA as soon as possible. If a veteran accidentally misses an exam, they should be sure to contact VA to try to reschedule.
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What Extra Help Can I Get With My Claim
- There are many Veterans Service Organizations that offer free benefits claims assistance, such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, and more. Many of these organizations helpful advice about PTSD and how to claim compensation.
- Filling out a worksheet created by the PTSD Help Network will help you massively with Step 1 of the claims procedure
- The PEB Forum is a great online resource.
If your claim is denied outright, or if you feel the disability rating you have been awarded is not correct, you can appeal.
Remember, doing nothing or hoping the symptoms will simply go away will not heal PTSD. Without the right help, it can have a devastating effect on your life.
If you feel you are displaying the symptoms of the condition take control by discussing it with your friends and family, visiting your physician, and seeking the correct benefit options from the VA.
Strong Medical Evidence To Prove Ptsd Claims
In theory, you could potentially prove your entire claim during your C& P exam. However, that is not advisable. A successful PTSD claim is extremely valuable. Therefore, it is worth spending time planning an attack plan.
Consequently, seeking appointments with a psychiatrist is a great first step. Firstly, actively seeking counseling is a great way to treat your PTSD. On the other hand, it is also a great way to prove your PTSD claim. Each visit to the psychiatrist is an increase in medical evidence.
Above all, you need to show: proof of a service-connected stressor, proof that your current mental health is related to that stressor, and a current diagnosis of a mental health condition. As a result, you need to be actively getting treatment.
You have a disability. Consequently, your job is to prove it. Unfortunately, the VAs job is to deny it. Dont let them win.
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Your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Disability Case
If you are disabled because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income .
You can learn more by filling out a quick and free evaluation form regarding your case.
Working closely with medical professionals and a qualified Social Security disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the appropriate documentation to support your disability claim in front of the Disability Determination Services can help to ensure that your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder disability case will have the highest possible chance of success.
Va Rating Criteria For Ptsd
With the exception of eating disorders, VA rates all mental health conditions under the same criteria. VA uses 38 CFR § 4.130, the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders, to rate mental health conditions at 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100 percent.
The criteria for each rating are as follows:
- 100 percent Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as:
- Gross impairment in thought processes or communication persistent delusions or hallucinations grossly inappropriate behavior persistent danger of hurting self or others intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living disorientation to time or place memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.
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What Evidence Does The Va Require To Grant Disability Benefits For Ptsd Due To Mst
It is a common myth that documation of “markers” of an MST occurring in service or official reports of an MST are absolutely necessary to support a claim for PTSD caused by an MST. While “marker” evidence, such as military records showing a change in a Veteran’s behavior after an MST, can certainly be helpful, it is no longer required.
The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has held that a mental health provider’s opinion that a Veteran’s current diagnosis of PTSD is related to an MST that occurred in service can support a claim for PTSD due to MST, even without corroborating marker evidence.
In many cases where a Veteran is claiming PTSD due to MST, the VA will schedule the Veteran for a VA exam. However, the VA examiner may not connect your PTSD to the incident of MST in service, because many examiners still believe that marker evidence is required for claims of PTSD due to MST.
This mistake in a VA exam can be difficult to spot for Veterans who are unfamiliar with VA claims for PTSD due to MST. Involving an attorney in your appeal who is familiar with these types of claims can be helpful if the VA has denied your PTSD due to MST claim in reliance on a VA exam.
You Can Also File A Disability Claim:
File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits .
Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help filing a claim for disability compensation.Get help filing your claim
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Who Is Eligible To Receive A Disability Rating For Ptsd
There is a VA policy for Mental Disorders Due to Traumatic Stress, that states:
- If a service member develops a mental disorder as a result of a highly stressful event, and that disorder is severe enough to lead to the veteran being released from active duty, the service member will receive at least a 50 percent disability rating
Additionally, there are other specific criteria that must be met in order to receive at least a 50 percent disability rating for PTSD. These include:
- Social and occupational impairment
- Panic attacks more than once a week
- Impaired short-term and long-term memory
- Forgetting to complete tasks and difficulty understanding commands
- Impaired abstract thinking and impaired judgement
- Negative changes in mood
- Difficulty maintaining and establishing personal and professional relationships
In order for a veterans PTSD claim to be recognized by the VA as service-connected, the diagnosis must be given by a physician or other medical professional who is qualified to perform a PTSD-specific Compensation and Pension examination. In order to be able to meet the VAs criteria for diagnosing PTSD, medical professionals must:
- Have doctoral-level training in psychopathology, clinical interviewing methods, and diagnostic methods
- Have a great deal of experience in a clinical setting with diagnosing and treating veterans who have PTSD
Filing For Social Security Disability With A Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis
Post traumatic stress disorder cases are approved by SSA either by satisfying the criteria under Section 12.06 of the Blue Book, or by medical vocational allowance.
Most PTSD claims are approved as a medical vocational allowance. If SSA finds that your PTSD symptoms are not severe enough to meet the listing, it will award a medical allowance if the condition is severe enough to prevent you from working in a former job and severe enough to prevent you from working at another job that would pay you a substantial and gainful income.
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How To Win Your Ptsd Va Disability Benefits Claim
Published on by Neil Woods Last Updated on
This article gives tips on how to win your PTSD VA disability benefits claim. Well cover applying, appealing, evidence, stressors, and all kinds of information youll need when filing a PTSD VA disability benefits claim.
If you need help with your PTSD VA disability benefits claim, you can always give Woods & Woods a call. We always offer free legal consultations to veterans filing PTSD VA disability benefits claims. For help, just fill out the contact form.
Request A Va Decision Review
It is important to do this within one year of the date of the Notice of Action letter that advises that your original claim was denied. If you miss that deadline, the decision becomes final and you would have to reopen your VA claim to pursue benefits. Filing an appeal on time also preserves the effective date of your original claim, which will become the start date for VA benefits that you may eventually receive, including retroactive payments.
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Appeal The Decision Or File A New Claim
The most straightforward approach is to appeal VAs decision on the original claim. You have up to one year after the first rating has been assigned to do so. If its been past one year, you can simply file a new claim. In either case, its strongly recommended that you present more evidence to bolster your claim and improve your chances of a more favorable decision.