Are you suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that was triggered by events occurring during your military service? Perhaps you are unable to work or enjoy life as before. You may be struggling financially, struggling in your family relationships and struggling emotionally. You owe it to yourself to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable and experienced veterans' disability attorney.
Contact a Veterans' Law Attorney if You Suffer From PTSD
Schwartz Law Firm is a member of Lawyers for Veterans Claims (LVC). LVC is a national veterans' law practice located in Michigan. We are attorneys dedicated to helping those who bravely served our country get the benefits that they are entitled to following military service.
Contact Schwartz Law Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your claim for PTSD-related benefits or appeal of a denied claim. We are prepared to work with you no matter where you are in the United States.
You Are Not Alone in Your VA Disability Challenges
Victims of post-traumatic stress disorder sometimes do not understand or recognize "what is wrong with them" for some time. Rest assured that you are not alone - and do not be surprised if members of your family or community are not well familiar with the disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, was not an official diagnosis until 1984 when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) first used the term.
Definition of PTSD According to the DSM and the VA
In 1996, the VA adopted the diagnostic criteria set out in the fourth volume of the DSM. Otherwise known as the DSM-IV, it provides the following criteria regarding trauma exposure (or stressors):
1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
2. The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror.
Combat Versus Non-Combat Service and PTSD
Both of these elements are required to support a diagnosis of PTSD. When a veteran establishes through military records that he served in combat, the stressor is often conceded. When a veteran was in a non-combat role (such as administration) but was tied to a combat unit, it is necessary to establish through military or historical records that the unit came under attack during the veteran's assignment. This generally is sufficient to establish a traumatic event upon which a diagnosis of PTSD can be established.
Support the PTSD Claim
To support a claim for service connection for PTSD, a claimant must present evidence of (1) a current diagnosis of PTSD (based on the elements discussed above); (2) credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor actually occurred; and (3) medical evidence of a causal nexus (i.e., a medical connection) between the current symptoms and the claimed in-service stressor. If the claimed stressor is non-combat related, its occurrence must be corroborated by credible supporting evidence.
Testimony and Records
When a claim for PTSD is based on a non-combat stressor, a veteran's lay statements alone are insufficient proof of a stressor. To support your claim, seek statements from former military personnel who may have witnessed the event(s) or at least your response to the event(s). Statements from family members about changes in your behavior while you were in the service or after you were discharged are also helpful. Military records demonstrating a change in your duty performance and any information regarding changes in duty assignment may be of assistance as well.
Scope of the Problem
Recent statistics indicate that an estimated 300,000 current or former combat troops have PTSD or depression. Mental health problems in veterans are second only to orthopedic problems and are increasing at a faster rate than in the past. In response to this, the Department of Defense (DoD) has agreed to spend $300 million on the research of PTSD and the medical condition of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, the studies to be funded by the DoD will not be completed for some time. In the meantime, it is important to seek treatment for symptoms associated with PTSD.
Contest Your Disability Rating
If you have already been granted service connection for PTSD and you are in disagreement with the rating assigned, you should seek an increased rating with the assistance of an attorney. VA regulations provide for the varying evaluations for mental disorders, such as PTSD.
Is Your Ability to Work With Others Impeded?
Your ability to work and interact with others is central to a proper evaluation of the disabling nature of your condition. Even if you are employed, an effective advocate may be able to establish that your employment is in a sheltered environment. Examples of sheltered employment considered by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims include: working from home, working alone on a night shift or working for family members.
Learn Your Rights. Contact Us Today Regarding a VA PTSD Claim
For a free initial consultation to discuss a PTSD claim, contact Lawyers for Veterans Claims (LVC) at the Schwartz Law Firm today. We are conveniently located in Oakland County in southeastern Michigan off of I-275 and I-696. We welcome your call or e-mail Regarding VA claims and compensation for PTSD.