While post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, gets a lot of attention when it comes to veterans, it it is only the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes, a veteran’s symptoms do not match the requirements for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, but will match another diagnosis. Just because you don’t have PTSD, doesn’t mean you can’t get VA disability benefits and treatment for your mental health condition.
The first way to establish service connection for your mental health problem is to show that you started having symptoms while you were still in service. If you sought counseling, or even spoke with a chaplain, it’s a good idea to find those records. Buddy statements from friends and family members who noticed that you were struggling will also help. If your performance and evaluations took a turn for the worse, that can also help show that you were struggling with a mental health condition.
Service connection may also be granted if your mental health condition manifests within a year of getting out of service, and is considered at least 10 percent disabling. What that means is that if you are diagnosed with something like bipolar disorder or depression within a year of being discharged, even mild symptoms may be enough for service connection. If you’ve just recently left service and you’re struggling, it’s very important to seek professional help. And if more than a year has passed, buddy statements can again be very important to establish that you had a mental health condition, as well as the severity of the symptoms.
Finally, you can get service connection for a mental health condition that is secondary to your service-connected disabilities. For example, people who are in constant pain often experience depression. People who have a potentially life-threatening injury with its residuals may experience anxiety or panic attacks. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition due to your service-connected disabilities, consider seeking service-connection for your mental health condition as well.
If you have any questions about applying for benefits, or think that you are entitled to benefits you’re not receiving, please contact us at (888) 883-2483.
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