Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is one of the most common mental health issues affecting veterans. It can be debilitating and affects the quality of life for veterans and their families. Let Vet Resource Group procure the necessary medical evidence to help you be successful with your VA disability claim.

If you witnessed or experienced a traumatic event during your military service, you may be at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A traumatic event is something that induces fear for your life and/or physical harm. The traumatic event can be experienced, witnessed, or even heard about. Traumatic events include combat, imminent danger, hostile environment exposure, physical abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, and even serious accidents such as vehicle wrecks.

PTSD was previously misunderstood, but today post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder recognized by the VA. In the past, PTSD was often referred to as shellshock, combat exhaustion, stress response syndrome, hysteria, and other forms of traumatic induced conditions.

What are some of the symptoms associated with PTSD?

Some of the most common PTSD symptoms:

  • Avoiding large crowds, people, and other forms of entertainment to avoid situations that remind you of your traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks, unpleasant memories, or nightmares
  • Experiencing negative thoughts
  • Losing interest in people, things, or activities that were once enjoyed prior to the traumatic event
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, or on edge

PTSD often leads to other problems. Some of these problems include, but are not limited to, social and occupational impairment and withdrawal, anxiety, depression, and problems sustaining positive relationships

What do you need to obtain service-connection for PTSD?

PTSD is considered by many professionals to be the VA’s most complex condition to file for disability compensation and requires specific documentation to be included in the evidentiary record. In 2010, the VA reduced evidentiary standards for veterans seeking VA disability compensation. The new standards were implemented to help streamline the disability compensation process. While this was a positive change, the PTSD application process is still confusing, intimidating, and complex.

In order to be awarded VA benefits for PTSD, you must demonstrate three things: (1) a diagnosis of PTSD, (2) evidence of an in-service stressor (traumatic event while on active duty), and (3) medical evidence supporting a nexus (causation/link) between your current symptoms and the in-service stressor. 

Vet Resource Group can help you obtain the needed nexus (causation/link) between your condition and your in-service stressor.  We can also help to obtain any needed examinations and respective DBQs.  Contact us today to for a free, no-obligation consultation

The diagnosis must be current and be from a VA psychologist, a private psychologist with a Ph.D. in psychology or a related field, or a licensed psychiatrist.

*The VA mandates that the initial PTSD evaluation or DBQ be performed by the VA.  However, if you are service-connected and looking to increase your rating or want to provide an opinion from a licensed Psychologist to support the evidence in your claim, Vet Resource Group can help.  Having another Psychologist’s perspective, opinion, and reasoning may help the VA medical provider rationalize their own medical opinion.  Also, in many circumstances, doctors often tend to support the opinions of other doctors.

A veteran’s DD214 should show if the veteran “engaged in combat with the enemy”. This will be one of the first things that the VA looks for and it qualifies as an in-service stressor. The DD214 should also show any combat medals and badges that the veteran was awarded while in service. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the VA will presume the veteran was engaged in combat with the enemy when many of these decorations are awarded. Some decorations require more evidentiary development than others.

Engaging in combat is not the only way to show proof of an in-service stressor. Other traumatic events experienced or witnessed on active duty can also qualify for establishing a diagnosis of PTSD. Some common examples include serious accidents, physical and sexual abuse, instances of military sexual trauma (MST), and natural disasters.

It is essential to the success of a disability claim that this nexus, or causation/link, be present in the evidence supporting the veteran’s disability claim. A nexus letter from a licensed mental health expert is used to satisfy this requirement and is the most appropriate evidence accepted by the VA, if done properly.

Vet Resource Group can help you obtain the needed nexus (link) between your condition and your in-service stressor.  We can also help to obtain any needed examinations and respective DBQs.  Contact us today to for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Mental Disorders 38 CFR (§§ 4.125 – 4.130)

38 CFR § 4.130 Schedule of ratings – Mental disorders