Can I receive disability benefits for PTSD? Yes, you can receive a disability rating and compensation for PTSD. The VA provides compensation for veterans who are service-connected for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Generally, a veteran must meet 3 criteria:
The key is that the veteran be prepared to show that he has a current disability, that there was a stressor, and that there is a link or a nexus between the disability and the in-service stressor. In order to receive a sufficient rating, the disorder must have a disruptive impact in a veteran’s day-to-day life. This includes nightmares that keep you from sleeping, flashbacks that prevent you from working, or anxiety that impedes your ability to interact with other people. Occasional disturbing memories alone that stem from your service will most likely not be enough for you to qualify for disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans need to provide medical evidence of a current disability to obtain compensation for PTSD. In some instances the VA will provide a veteran with a compensation and pension examination (commonly known as a “C&P exam”). During the C&P exam, a VA medical professional will determine whether a veteran’s symptoms qualify for a PTSD diagnosis. The VA medical professional will also address the frequency and severity of your symptoms related to PTSD. The VA will use the medical professional’s report to determine the severity of the veteran’s PTSD and assign a rating from 0-100%. Disability payment is based on the rating. The higher the rating, the higher the disability payment.
If the VA medical professional determines that a veteran does not suffer from PTSD or refuses to provide a C&P examination, the veteran has the right to submit an Independent Medical Examination (commonly referred to as an “IME” to the VA. This means the veteran can have a private doctor such as your treating physician or other medical specialist provide an opinion about whether the veteran suffers from PTSD and whether the PTSD is related to military service.
The private doctor’s statement carries more weight with the VA when the private doctor indicates he has reviewed the veteran’s service medical records and other medical information and documentation an believes that it is as likely as not that the veteran’s PTSD was a result of military service
Some veterans ask their doctors fill out an RFC Form, which is a Residual Functional Capacity Form (also referred to as a Medical Source Statement). The purpose of this is for a medical care provider to not only to assess current health, but to elaborate on why specifically the veteran should qualify for disability benefits in more detail than a simple doctor’s note.
Furthermore, a veteran can send the VA statements and observations from non-medical professionals who have witnessed the stressful event that caused the of post-traumatic stress disorder. This can be observations of horrific training injuries, combat experiences, and sexual assaults or military sexual trauma. The VA commonly refers to these statements as “lay statements” or “buddy statements.” These are statements from people who have first-hand knowledge of the event causing the PTSD or the veteran’s current PTSD symptoms. While a “lay statement” cannot replace a medical diagnosis, a “lay statement” can verify that a veteran suffers from specific symptoms related to PTSD and explain how those symptoms affect a veteran’s ability to obtain and maintain employment and socially interact with others.
Some veterans who are also applying for Social Security benefits look to the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book listing for PTSD to get an idea of what criteria they need for a disability claim. Some of the examples include:
These symptoms are similar to those listed in the Code of Federal Regulations that lists symptoms and assigns disability ratings to those symptoms.
Since helplessness is often felt by veterans suffering from PTSD, many veterans do not actively seek out compensation for it, or representation in obtaining that compensation. Individuals who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress caused by military service are entitled to compensation from the VA for that disability.
Are you a veteran who’s wondering, “Can I receive disability benefits for PTSD?” you may be entitled to compensation. Are you receiving the veterans’ disability compensation you are entitled to receive by law? If you need assistance appealing VA Rating Decisions for mental health conditions or physical disabilities that occurred in service, please contact Berry Law
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