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Understanding How the VA Evaluates PTSD Claims

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Disability Compensation

Any traumatic event can produce long-term effects for the participants, but those in the military often encounter repeated, high-level traumatic incidents on a regular basis, particularly if they are deployed in a combat zone. The human psyche is not equipped, nor is there any effective way, to process traumatic events for many individuals. Classified as a mental disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) emerges for anyone who experiences extreme circumstances that conflict with their understanding of what constitutes right and wrong. While it is supposed to be somewhat easier for veterans to secure disability compensation based upon PTSD, the reality is much more complicated. Proving service connection, i.e., that the PTSD is attributable to events witnessed in the military, can be more difficult than proving a physical condition, such as a back or hip injury. In addition, the gap in time between the traumatic event and the manifestation of PTSD symptoms also creates unique challenges when seeking VA disability compensation. Considering how debilitating this condition can be, and how the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East since the 1990s have increased the prevalence of this disorder, a discussion on how the VA views claims of PTSD, and some tips to increase one’s chances of getting disability benefits approved, will follow below.


Proving PTSD

As noted above, the biggest issue with most PTSD disability claims is proving the connection to service; because any traumatic event can trigger PTSD, military service is not presumed to be the cause of the development of this condition. In general, though, three criteria must be established to prove the existence of PTSD for purposes of a VA disability claim, which are:


VA Disability Rating for PTSD

Establishing the criteria discussed above is not the end of the discussion. The next step involves receiving a disability rating from a VA adjudicator. As an example, a rating of 100 percent means total disability, and by contrast, a zero percent rating means the PTSD is not severe enough to qualify for any benefits. Thus, the closer a veteran can get to 100 percent, the higher the compensation awarded. The more the PTSD affects earning capacity, the better the chance a higher rating will be assigned. Thus, working with an experienced VA disability benefits attorney to develop a record focused on showing impairment with employment is key to winning the correct rating.


Get Legal Advice

PTSD can be all-encompassing and truly take over a person’s life. If you are struggling with PTSD and want to learn about the possibility of collecting VA disability compensation, talk to Gregory M. Rada, Attorney at Law today. I have extensive experience representing veterans in front of the VA, and I am available to evaluate the strength of your claim. Working with veterans nationwide, call me at (844) 385-5665 for a free phone consultation.