Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you are here because you have been denied veterans’ benefits for PTSD, you are not alone. In 2012, the VA claimed its own claims error rate was 14%. However, the VA’s own inspector general found a claims error rate of 38%.That means by even the VA’s own estimates they make mistakes in almost 4 out of 10 benefits claims cases! Additionally, appeals represent a third of the VA’s pending disability claims which means 1 in 3 cases the VA is processing are veterans appealing a denial.
The following information is provided to help you improve your chances of getting your VA benefits claim approved. If you would like to talk to me, Eric Gang, an experienced VA disability attorney at no charge to you, call my office at (888) 878-9350 today.
How Do I Get Veterans’ Benefits for PTSD?
To get veterans’ benefits for PTSD, you need to establish a service connection between your PTSD disability and your time in service. PTSD is unique among veteran disability types because of the importance placed on stressors in diagnosing PTSD. So, in order to get VA disability benefits for PTSD you will need to get a service connection by establishing a stressor or stressors that qualify you for a diagnosis of PTSD.
There are essentially 3 different approaches to proving stressors.
- The first type of stressor involves a situation where a combat veteran describes a stressor that is consistent with his or her combat exposure.
- The second type of stressor involves a situation where the veteran describes a stressor that is not associated with his verified combat exposure.
- The third type off stressor involves cases where the veteran’s PTSD stressor is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity while stationed in a combat theater of operations.
Credible supporting evidence is important in getting approved for PTSD VA benefits. But in practice, the “credible supporting evidence” requirement has been a major impediment to many Veterans receiving compensation for their PTSD diagnosis. Frankly, many things that happen in the service are never properly documented or recorded. As a result, it can be very difficult to prove that the stressor took place. Fortunately, in July 2010 the VA issued a new rule making it somewhat easier to prove that a stressor event happened during service. Under the new regulation, if a Veteran’s claimed stressors are related to the Veteran’s fear of hostile or military or terrorist activity then he could qualify for PTSD based on this as a stressor.
Additionally, in order to get VA benefits for PTSD, you might also need to get a private medical opinion to establish a connection between your service and your diagnosis. Once you have established the stressors that qualify you for a PTSD diagnosis and you receive a service connection, the VA will determine your level of disability and award benefits accordingly. To learn more about how to get veterans benefits for PTSD, read the articles listed at the bottom of this page.
What Are PTSD Veterans Benefits?
Veterans benefits for PTSD are granted based on graduated disability ratings of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%. Veterans who receive a disability rating of 0% do not receive disability benefits because there is little or no impairment. Disability benefit payments begin at 10% and increase at each rating level.
Veterans have a wide range of benefits available to them. They range from VA pension benefits (non-service connected) and VA compensation benefits – to vocational rehabilitation and grants for adapted vehicles, housing and equipment.
Why Did the VA Deny My Veteran’s Benefit Claim for PTSD?
The most common reasons why the VA denies benefits for PTSD are:
- The VA denies the benefits claim on the grounds that the stressor is not verified and that the veteran did not provide enough information to verify the stressor.
- The VA fails to submit the stressor information to the JSRRC, which is part of the government that is assigned the task of researching. The VA cannot simply do its own research and then deny the claim.
- The VA also likes to deny PTSD claims on the grounds that you don’t have a diagnosis of PTSD. In many cases, however, if you are not diagnosed with PTSD you may be diagnosed with depression or generalized anxiety. It would be error for the VA to reject your PTSD claim on the grounds that you have depression instead. The VA would have to investigate whether service-connection is appropriate for depression or some other mental disability.
- Another reason why the VA denies PTSD benefits claims is because many veterans make the mistake of re-filing PTSD benefits claims without any new evidence or they submit evidence that is not really material to their PTSD.
In order to ensure the greatest degree of success in re-opened disability claims, we recommend that you look very carefully at the reason why the VA denied your claim the last time. For instance, if the VA denied your claim for PTSD disability benefits because there was no evidence linking your disability to service, then submitting more treatment records showing the severity of your PTSD disability is not going to help. In other words, if the issue is the lack of “linking” evidence, you should submit a medical report from a doctor stating that your disability is linked to service. On the other hand, if the reason they denied you before was because there was no evidence of a present disability, then submitting a new medical record showing a diagnosed condition could potentially aid in getting your claim reopened. The new evidence you submit should address one of the reasons why VA denied your benefits before.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Get PTSD Veterans’ Benefits?
Up until now, you made your disability claim inside the Veteran Affairs system. You’ve sent your claim to your regional office. They denied it. You’ve sent your claim to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. They also denied it. Now you’re appealing your claim at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Fortunately, the CAVC is outside of the Veteran Affairs system. In other words, you are no longer dealing with people in Veteran Affairs. What’s the difference? The people in Veteran Affairs are bureaucrats – people who sit behind desks and do paperwork. The people at the CAVC level are professional lawyers and judges hired by the government to look at your claim.
If you need to appeal to the CAVC, you are going up against highly skilled government lawyers who will argue that you don’t deserve benefits for your PTSD. The U.S. government hires professional lawyers, many with 10 or 15 years of experience. These lawyers know the VA system backwards and forwards. They argue CAVC cases every day. What’s more, they are excellent attorneys – and they’re working as hard as they can to make sure you don’t get VA benefits. This is why, for you to have any chance of winning, you must have a skilled, experienced veterans benefits lawyer on your side.
When you hire a veterans benefits lawyer to help with your disability claim, your lawyer will help you...
- Discover weaknesses and holes in the Board’s decision,
- Review the mountains of paperwork and prepare the best arguments, and
- “Fight fire with fire”, since they have professional lawyers working against you.
How can Gang & Associates help?
If we decide to work together, we promise that we will never hand your claim to a secretary or legal assistant, as many law firms do. Now isn’t the time to play those games. We will work together to build the strongest case possible. So when we come up against the government’s lawyers, we’ll be ready to shoot down whatever evidence and objections they raise. You can depend on it!
My No-Risk, No-Cost, No-Questions-Asked, Take-Your-File Commitment.
We commit that if you are not delighted with our services during the first 30 days, we will gladly give you your file – at no cost – containing all the work we’ve done to date – so you can hire another lawyer or law firm. It’s that simple.
(Read our full Veterans Disability Commitment here.)
Call our office toll free at (888) 878-9350 because you no longer have to “go it alone.”