Veterans, particularly those who have seen combat, face a variety of challenges when reintegrating into civilian life. These difficulties include finding suitable employment, adjusting to a different, less structured routine, and re-establishing relationships with friends and family. These challenges are exacerbated for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, frequently referred to as “PTSD.”
What is PTSD?
Hardly a day goes by where PTSD isn't the subject of or at least mentioned in a news story. It’s a disorder that many veterans have experienced, or know someone who has. But what exactly is PTSD?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by a traumatic event involving actual or threatened physical harm. The disorder causes the sufferer to remain in an ongoing state of heightened anxiety or arousal as though they were still facing danger, even when that danger has long since passed. It is a disorder whose negative physical and emotional effects can be all-consuming.
The National Institute of Health categorizes the signs and symptoms into three categories: hyper-arousal symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and re-experiencing symptoms. The symptoms of PTSD are often different in different individuals and can be difficult to spot.
Veterans Disability Claims for PTSD
Like the symptoms, the severity of PTSD varies from one individual to the next. For some, the disorder can be managed effectively through medical treatments and counseling and they can largely maintain a normal life. For others, the disease is like a cancer, difficult to get rid of and debilitating. Individuals in this latter category can become so impacted that they are unable to work or carry on normal daily activities. These individuals are effectively disabled, some partially, and others fully, and filing a claim for veterans disability is a wise choice in order to secure compensation to help make things easier.
Recognizing the need to support veterans suffering from PTSD, regulations were passed in 2010 which sought to make it easier to veterans to receive disability for the disorder. To show eligibility for veterans disability benefits based on PTSD, the sufferer must show: a PTSD diagnosis; an in-service “stressor”; and a link between the two. These requirements parallel those for all veterans disability claims. Once a veteran proves that they have a service-related PTSD disability, the disability will be analyzed and a percentage rating assigned. The higher the percentage, the higher the potential disability payment.
Recent Criticism of PTSD Disability Claims
A recent LA Times story alleges that the looser regulations for filing PTSD disability claims have led to a higher level of false or exaggerated claims being filed. The story highlights the problem with PTSD claims, both false and legitimate, as they are difficult to prove or disprove. This does not mean that they are not real, but simply that great care must be taken when filing a claim to ensure that your legitimate claim is not passed over for fear that it is false.
The attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky PC or its sister firm, the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group, can help you with your veterans disability claim throughout each stage in the process. Please call (303) 534-1958 or complete the contact form on the website.