Over one million. That is the number of veterans this year being compensated by the VA for PTSD claims (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). The number changes year to year, but the problem remains. PTSD destroys veteran’s mental health.
In short, our team goal at CombatCraig.com is to help you achieve the disability rating you have earned. We are all disabled veterans. Moreover, we all either have PTSD or have close friends with PTSD. Firstly, we write this article because we want you to see how to get help.
Why File PTSD Claims?
the other hand, we know PTSD is a high value claim. It can be very useful to helping your overall rating. So, what is PTSD? Above all, it is not a bullshit claim. Further, it is not something this current generation of troops invented. PTSD is a real disability.
It is a mental health problem, and it manifests as a result of a traumatic incident. Combat is the best known cause of PTSD, but vehicles accidents, sexual assault, and natural disasters are common reasons to develop PTSD. As a result, troops with PTSD claims can expect to experience: nightmares, difficulty sleeping, anxiety attacks, paranoia, etc.
Five Tips For Better PTSD Claims
1) Be Correct
You know it is important to be honest. However, for your claims to be successful- you need to be correct. Not just honest. Unfortunately, this is something many of us struggle with. Our tendency is to “man up” and pretend everything is ok. The evaluating doctors don’t know the severity of your PTSD claim. It is your job to tell them what is wrong.
You need to candidly explain exactly how PTSD affects you. However, you can’t go overboard. You can’t exaggerate your symptoms. Firstly, that is illegal. Secondly, it will also give the doctor cause to doubt or deny your claim. Be brief, be honest, and paint an accurate picture for the doctor.
2) Statement in Support of a PTSD Claim (Buddy Statements)
Our friends, family, and coworkers are in a unique position. They can see things about ourselves that we can’t see. The VA acknowledges this. As a result, they allow for others to write a letter in support of our PTSD claims. This is very valuable. These people are uniquely qualified to know how PTSD has affected you. These statements are not as good as medical evidence. However, they are a great alternative. As a result, several good buddy statements can make a claim possible when medical evidence is lacking.
3) A Personal Statement (VA Form 21-4138) “Stressor Statement”
PTSD claims are not a “normal” claim. Most VA claims rely on facts, tests, and proof. Examiners can look at me and see damage in my spine. However, they can’t look at me as and see if I have PTSD. Hence, the personal statement.
In short, take this time to explain on paper how PTSD has affected your work, social life, family life, and made day to day tasks more difficult. Be specific. Tell the examiner how PTSD has affected your life in specific incidents.
Putting it on paper ensures that you don’t forget key details. As a result, it also ensures the examiner doesn’t forget to document those key details. This statement is now part of your claim, and it will be treated as evidence.
4) Treating PTSD With Drugs? – Don’t Hide It!
Veterans as a group are reluctant to admit to abusing drugs and alcohol. However, a significant percentage of veterans with PTSD claims use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Ironically, the abuse actually strengthens your PTSD claim. I would encourage you to be honest about your substance use.
5) Strong Medical Evidence to Prove PTSD Claims
In theory, you could potentially prove your entire claim during your C&P exam. However, that is not advisable. A successful PTSD claim is extremely valuable. Therefore, it is worth spending time planning an attack plan.
Consequently, seeking appointments with a psychiatrist is a great first step. Firstly, actively seeking counseling is a great way to treat your PTSD. On the other hand, it is also a great way to prove your PTSD claim. Each visit to the psychiatrist is an increase in medical evidence.
Above all, you need to show: proof of a service-connected stressor, proof that your current mental health is related to that stressor, and a current diagnosis of a mental health condition. As a result, you need to be actively getting treatment.
You have a disability. Consequently, your job is to prove it. Unfortunately, the VA’s job is to deny it. Don’t let them win.
How Do I File A PTSD Claim?
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