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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD
PTSD occurs after someone has been through or witnessed a dangerous or fearful event. The fear felt during danger is natural, but when someone has PTSD, that reaction is changed and the person continues to feel stress, anxiety, or fear long after the actual danger is over. PTSD symptoms can begin appearing soon after the traumatic event, or they can appear years after the event. In either case, the effects of even mild PTSD symptoms can be severe, both on the veteran and the people close to him or her.
PTSD can manifest a variety of symptoms, any of which have the potential to cause the veteran to be totally socially and occupationally impaired. Some of the more common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the event, feeling numb, feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry, losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy, being easily startled, being hyper vigilant, having difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or on edge, or having angry outbursts.
Elements of Service Connection
- A current diagnosis of PTSD
- A nexus, established by medical evidence, between the current diagnosis and an in-service stressor
- Credible evidence that the stressor occurred
Relaxed PTSD Stressor Standard
In 2010, VA relaxed the rules regarding verification of claimed stressors. Now, if a stressor claimed by a veteran is related to the veteran’s fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, and the claimed stressor is sufficient to support a diagnosis of PTSD, the veteran’s lay testimony alone may established the occurrence of the claimed stressor. VA defines “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity” to mean that a veteran experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or injury to the veteran or another person.
The relaxed standard applies to any veteran from any era, and is intended to facilitate the timely processing of PTSD claims by removing the oftentimes impossible task of verifying a stressor via DoD records.
How I Can Help
The VA process for evaluating PTSD or other mental disorders is wholly inadequate with VA C&P examinations often lasting less than 30 minutes. Because it’s impossible to truly evaluate how PTSD impacts all areas of a veteran’s life in such a short appointment, it’s often necessary to obtain an independent medical exam from a private psychologist.
I work on a contingency fee basis which means you pay no up-front fees for my representation. You only pay my fee if I successfully resolve your appeal. My fee is a reasonable percentage of your backpay award, and does not impact your future benefits.
In addition, I advance all costs of your appeal including the cost of obtaining independent medical examinations (when appropriate). You are only responsible for repayment of expenses upon successful resolution of your appeal, or if you terminate my representation before final conclusion of your appeal.
I handle every aspect of your case from initial intake to resolution, and as a disabled veteran myself, I understand what you are going through. I don’t use support staff, so you are always dealing with me and I pride myself on responding to my clients in a timely manner.