Definition of PTSD:
According to VA M21, PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric condition that can affect individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, also known as a “stressor.”
Understanding Stressors:VA M21 further defines “stressors” as traumatic events that involve direct or indirect exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Symptoms can manifest in various ways, such as reliving the event, avoiding reminders, experiencing negative emotions, or feeling on edge.
Challenges in Tracking PTSD:
PTSD symptoms may not surface immediately, often emerging years after active duty. Proving these claims can be complex, requiring substantial evidence.
Supporting Your Claim:
The most critical aspect of improving a PTSD claim is providing evidence that illustrates how the condition affects you. Clearly outline what triggers your specified stressor and how it has altered your life, whether through fear of death or loss of physical integrity.
Addressing Poor C&P Examinations:
If you receive an unsatisfactory C&P examination, it’s crucial to report it promptly. There are steps to request a new examination if needed.
Avoid Minimizing the Impact:
It’s essential not to downplay how profoundly the incident has affected you. Doing so could jeopardize your claim approval or the level of compensation you will receive.
Symptoms, Severity, and Chronicity:
The VA looks for chronic and recurring symptoms when evaluating your claim. It’s crucial to convey the presence and severity of these symptoms in your letters.
Establishing a Service Connection:
It’s essential to connect your PTSD to your military service to secure the approval of your claim. You can do this through a NEXUS letter that confirms that your PTSD was either caused or worsened during your service.
Congress mandates veterans to provide evidence of the traumatic event. The requirements depend on the stressor category and the level of information needed. Generally, this involves obtaining medical records from a healthcare professional who has assessed your condition. If the stressor occurred during active duty, you will need records confirming its existence. Additionally, having a “buddy letter” as supporting evidence can strengthen your claim.
Diagnosed During Service:
If you were diagnosed with PTSD during your service, you’ll need a statement supporting your claim along with active and civilian medical records. Military records might not contain comprehensive information, making these additional documents crucial.
Your statement can establish the occurrence, provided it’s related to combat, consistent with your service, and not contradicted by other evidence. Linking your PTSD to your active duty is essential for receiving veteran benefits.
Fear of Terrorist Activity:
A letter from a VA psychologist or psychiatrist confirming that your stressor is related to a fear of terrorist activity is crucial. It should also support a PTSD diagnosis, and obtaining your healthcare provider’s comments can be helpful. Your statement can further support your claim.
Seeking Professional Help:
If you lack a healthcare provider experienced in PTSD diagnosis or the completion of DBQ/IMO forms, consider seeking help from a network of independent medical providers dedicated to addressing your case.
In-Service Assault or Trauma:
If no medical records are available, you can obtain the evidence through law enforcement, counseling centers, or a buddy statement.
If you believe you’re not receiving the compensation you deserve, compare your symptoms to the Impairment Rating Table for Mental Health conditions. Remember that there’s no “average claim” for PTSD, and you should seek the compensation you rightfully deserve. If you require guidance, consider enlisting the help of VDC coaches to navigate the process effectively. Fill out the easy intake process, and they will schedule a phone meeting to discuss your claim.