Magazine article VFW Magazine

Filing PTSD Claims Now Simpler

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Filing PTSD Claims Now Simpler

Article excerpt

VA has made it easier for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to receive compensation benefits, according to a new regulation announced in July. VA reduced the amount of evidence needed for PTSD -afflicted veterans who served with non-combat units to prove their condition was caused by legitimate factors.

Then-VFW Commander-in-Chief Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr., called the announcement a "sea-change" in VA's mindset.

"This new decision recognizes that wartime service is extremely stressful and dangerous, regardless of military occupational specialty, and that each person internalizes their wartime experiences differently," he said.

"VA is acknowledging that mental injuries can be just as debilitating as any physical wound and to no longer require veterans to relive their nightmares in great detail is a very positive step forward for veterans of all generations."

The new rule was published in the Federal Register July 13 and went into effect the same day. It states that VA no longer requires "corroboration of a Stressor" related to "fear of hostile military or terrorist activity" if a VA doctor confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed Stressor.

Previously, VA claims adjudicators were required to undertake often extensive record development to corroborate if a veteran actually experienced a stressful event related to hostile military activity.

The new regulation will eliminate the requirement for VA to search for records and verify a veteran's testimony, which is often a very involved and protracted process. …

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