The transition from military life back to civilian life isn’t always easy. It is particularly difficult when a service member has been through a traumatic event such as combat, a terrorist attack or a physical assault.
While it’s normal for stress-related reactions to trauma to persist for a while, when symptoms don’t go away or get worse and they end up disrupting your life, you might have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is the third most common service-connected disability among veterans who are receiving disability benefits. Claims for VA disability compensation for PTSD began to rise dramatically with the start of the global war on terror. Nearly 600,000 veterans now receive PTSD disability.
The VA eased the requirements for receiving PTSD disability in 2010. However, some of the very effects of PTSD – lack of focus, confusion, an inability to complete tasks – commonly lead to missed deadlines and inaccuracies which in turn contribute to claim denials and appeals.
The South Carolina veterans’ disability attorneys at Joye Law Firm want to help you secure the benefits you deserve for your military service. Our team, which includes an attorney who is accredited by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as a disability representative, is prepared to deal with the frustrations of the claims process so that you can focus on making a full recovery.
Call Joye Law Firm or contact us online today for a free case review.
Symptoms of PTSD
In order to qualify for disability compensation – a monthly tax-free benefit paid to disabled veterans – based on PTSD you must first be diagnosed with the condition. The VA describes four types of PTSD symptoms:
- Re-living or re-experiencing the event. You may have nightmares and flashbacks and see, hear or smell things that trigger powerful memories of the traumatic event.
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. PTSD sufferers might avoid crowds out of a sense of danger, avoid driving if their Humvee was bombed or avoid talking or even thinking about the event.
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings. People with PTSD often suffer in their personal relationships out of a sense that the world is dangerous and nobody can be trusted.
- Hyper-arousal. If you have PTSD you might feel “keyed up” all the time: jittery, on alert and keeping an eye out for danger. You may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating and startle easily at loud noises or surprises.
The VA Disability Claims Process
To file a claim for VA benefits, you must establish a relationship between your PTSD and a traumatic experience (known as a “stressor”) that occurred during the course of your service.
In the past, a veteran-claimant’s testimony alone was not sufficient to establish the relationship between a stressor and PTSD. This is no longer the case.
Before, you had to document events such as firefights or bomb explosions that caused your PTSD. Now, you need to show only that the occurrence of the stressor is consistent with the circumstances of your service. For example, if the stressor is related to your combat service, as long as there is no strong evidence that the stressor didn’t occur, your testimony should hold up.
You may still need a medical opinion from a psychologist or psychiatrist employed by or contracted with the VA saying that the stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD.
Contact Our Veterans’ Disability Lawyers Today
Complex VA regulations make it difficult and time-consuming for veterans to navigate the claims process. It’s well known that the claims processing time is lengthy, and any mistakes can make it even longer before you receive your benefits.
Count on the attorneys at Joye Law Firm to compassionately and respectful provide the assistance you need to receive the benefits you deserve. Call Joye Law Firm or fill out our online case evaluation form to schedule a free case review.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
- National Center For Policy Analysis – The Veterans Disability System: Problems and Solutions
- More information about PTSD – Weighted Blanket Guide