SERVICE RELATED PTSD: What Is It, Do I Suffer From It, Is It Service Related and Where Do I Go From Here?
We get a lot of questions here a VA Claims Insider about specific diagnosis’ and what to do with this information. I’d like to “zero in” on PTSD; this is a big one, and sadly, a lot of secondary problems can stem from this condition.
PTSD is defined as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; A disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Most people have a touch of this condition if we have survived into adulthood we have seen and experienced unpleasant things.
The pertinent questions are: Is mine service related, to what degree do I suffer, and can I prove it?
In this post, I am going to outline these questions and hopefully help you in your decision to proceed with a claim.
Symptoms of PTSD
There are a lot of situations that we don’t want to face as adults. This is not PTSD. PTSD is a severe condition that can be described by some or all these symptoms:
- Fight or flight response to situations that make you anxious or fearful
- Self-harm or thoughts of harming others
- Very scattered thoughts
- Inability to concentrate
- Quick to anger and frustration
- Nightmares and insomnia due to thoughts of the traumatic event
- Social anxiety
- Anxiety in general that leads to isolation
- Engrossing yourself into work to block bad memories
- Losing interest in things you once enjoyed
- Problems with self-medication
- Feeling on edge in your daily life
Of course, there is no cookie cutter symptoms list, everyone processes trauma differently, but this is a starting point for evaluation.
Is mine service related?
To successfully file and prove your condition as service connected, you must have the answer to specific questions. When did my symptoms start and was it due to one particular incident or overtime exposure?
In 2010 it was determined that you do not need to link this to a specific event. Additionally, it does not have to be combat related. It did, however, have to occur during service.
This next list is the breakdown of what you need to have a successful claim to submit:
- A diagnosis, it can be while in service, after, or recent.
- A personal statement of the specific conditions that caused PTSD, i.e., work duties, traumatic event, etc. and how it affects your everyday quality of life.
- Buddy letters are helpful (if you can get them) of the incident, work duties, people who knew you then and now. Example: your spouse can write a letter witnessing your daily struggles.
- Any medical documentation during, after, and current of your syndrome. VA and civilian counts gather it all.
- Obtaining a Nexus letter from a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist linking your diagnosis to your time-in-service
How much of a monetary amount could I receive per month?
The amount of pay you will receive upon claim approval is determined by the severity and degree of the diagnosed disability. With that being said, you must be rated with a 10% disability to qualify for disability pay. The rating scale will range from 10% – 100% and the pay will reflect that. At 30% benefits will pay for dependents, and that will apply up to 100%.
Sleep Apnea, GIRD, or erectile dysfunction can all be problems that stem from a PTSD diagnosis and can qualify as an additional claim if they are diagnosed as service related. Check out the VA Compensation Benefits Table to see the full breakdown.
As we have discussed, these steps can be challenging. It is best to get advice and help from a knowledgeable and reliable source. The process is time-consuming and can get frustrating, but with help, it will streamline the process and take the undeserved pressure off of you.
Connecting with doctors who specialize in Nexus letters and have a good understanding of this condition is crucial. Remember your time is valuable and you could be missing out on benefits which are rightfully yours.
Do your homework and be persistent with research until you find the best fit to start this process. Good luck and God bless!
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About the Author
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements (Medical Nexus Letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.