Veterans Disability Info Blog

4 Key Facts About PTSD Claims for MST

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, develops as a result of encountering a shocking, tragic, or otherwise markedly outside the norm experience. Combat veterans and veterans who suffered from military sexual assault (MST) are especially likely to suffer from PTSD. If you are diagnosed, you are rated on a percentage scale ranging from 0 to 100 by the VA. Your MST VA rating determines whether you are eligible for just mental health and medical coverage through a current diagnosis with a VA disability rating of 0 percent, or if you are at 10 percent or higher, and thereby eligible to receive tax-free monthly VA disability payments. 

If you have service-related PTSD for MST, you and your family could be entitled to substantial benefits, and a VA disability attorney can help with your appeal. To collect VA disability benefits you need to prove that you have a current diagnosis for a condition, and have a medical opinion that confirms your current diagnosis is related to your qualifying active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or qualifying organization. You must have served on active duty, been discharged in a way other than dishonorable, and meet other requirements. If your application did not have sufficient evidence and it was denied, our team of experienced VA disability benefits attorneys can help support the success of your appeal. 

PTSD: Signs and Symptoms 

PTSD develops as a result of a traumatic experience, and results in symptoms that are more pronounced  than they might otherwise present under normal circumstances . Sufferers of PTSD do not experience a recovery from the symptoms after their trauma, but instead experience long-term symptoms. Individuals with PTSD may suffer from stress and fear in situations where there is no actual or real danger. This sense of being on edge can interfere with concentration, and negatively impact both personal relationships and professional performance. 

The symptoms of PTSD generally emerge within the first three months after a traumatic event, although can emerge at a later time. While some individuals may recover from PTSD within six months, other individuals experience symptoms that can persist for one year and beyond. 

Fact 1: To Receive a Diagnosis for PTSD, You Must Exhibit Certain Symptoms

To receive a diagnosis for PTSD, an adult must exhibit the following symptoms for a minimum period of 1 month: 

  • A minimum of 1 avoidance symptom
  • A minimum of 1 re-experiencing symptom
  • At minimum 2 arousal and reactivity symptoms 
  • At least 2 cognition and mood symptoms 

Fact 2: To Receive a Diagnosis for PTSD, You Must Exhibit Re-Experiencing Symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms include: 

  • Flashbacks, or experiencing reliving the traumatic experience, often with physical manifestations such as a racing heartbeat or sweating
  • Distressing or troublesome thoughts that cannot be avoided 
  • Recurring dreams or memories linked to the traumatic event
  • Physical manifestations of stress like racing heartbeat, sweating, and other symptoms 

Fact 3: To Receive a Diagnosis for PTSD, You Must Exhibit Avoidance Symptoms

Avoidance symptoms include: 

  • Staying away from particular events, objects, or locations that are reminders of the traumatic experience 
  • Attempting to avoid thoughts or feelings that are linked to the traumatic experience 

Fact 4: To Receive a Diagnosis for PTSD, You Must Exhibit Arousal and Reactivity, and Cognition and Mood Symptoms

Arousal and reactivity and cognition and mood symptoms include:

  • Feelings of being on edge, tense, or on guard from a non-present impending danger
  • Experiencing difficulty concentrating which can impact social and professional situations
  • Feeling irritable or experiencing undue anger or aggressive outbursts 
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep 
  • Engaging in risky, reckless, or destructive behavior 
  • Experiencing ongoing negative emotions, including shame, guilt, fear, or anger
  • Having difficulty remembering key aspects of the traumatic experience 
  • A decrease in interest in activities that were regularly enjoyed and engaged in prior to the traumatic experience 
  • Negative thought patterns about oneself and the world around you 
  • Difficulty feeling positivity and related emotions like happiness and satisfaction 

PTSD can markedly affect your ability to enjoy life given its impact on social situations, and also your capacity to maintain steady gainful employment given the impact on your cognitive functioning. 

PTSD Causes 

The cause of PTSD varies from individual to individual, although some of the common experiences that result in PTSD for veterans include: 

  • Experiencing or being the witness to a violent assault 
  • Physical or sexual abuse 
  • Experiencing an accident or disaster
  • Going through a terrorist attack or other serious event 

Not all instances of PTSD develop as a direct result of exposure to a traumatic event, but can also sometimes develop simply due to the knowledge that a friend or family member went through trauma. 

According to the National Center for PTSD operated through the VA, approximately 6 out of  100 people develop PTSD at some point in their lives. In general, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and it is important to note that both biological and environmental factors can influence the risk of developing PTSD as a result of exposure to traumatic events. Whether or not the VA rates your PTSD due to military sexual assault depends upon the quality of your application, appeal, or supplemental claim. 

Discuss Your MST VA Rating and Appeal with an Attorney

Free assistance is available from the VA to help you prepare your initial application, and it is important to know that VA-accredited representatives and attorneys are prohibited from charging for such services. If you are being marketed to by a company offering assistance to prepare your initial VA disability application for a fee or a percentage of your benefits, they are likely a scam. Reach out to your local VA for help preparing your initial application, or for references to VA-accredited parties and other organizations who can. 

If your VA disability claim for PTSD for MST has been denied, or if you already have a VA disability rating for another condition and need to add PTSD, an experienced VA disability benefits lawyer from our firm can help. To learn more, give us a call at 888-878-9350, or visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation

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If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.