VA Disability & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
By nature, soldiers are trained to be tough. Research indicates one in five veterans can experience mental health struggles during and after their service. (Source: RAND Research Brief ) These include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – as well as substance abuse disorders, and even suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. What’s happening isn’t always obvious on the surface.
These conditions affect an individuals thoughts, feelings & actions. They affect the mood, but are usually invisible to those around them (like family, friends, other veterans, co-workers, general population) …unlike physical combat wounds or injuries. PTSD, is something that happens when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic or life threatening event; this includes a perceived to be life threatening event. It can last months or years. It can come and go without warning, and it can impact every facet of your life night & day.
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates more than 30% of all Vietnam Veterans returned from war with PTSD. For some, it took decades to unravel the mystery of what had been happening to them even though their symptoms likely began shortly after the war, and many still remain without a diagnosis or treatment.
Over the years, there have been many complaints about the lack of mental health services available to veterans, the difficulty in accessing the services that are available, and the poor quality of service provided. With so many roadblocks between war and healing, it’s no surprise many vets with PTSD self medicate as a way of treating their symptoms and often end up with substance abuse disorders on top of their PTSD.
Some symptoms of PTSD include sleep disturbances (nightmares, insomnia), emotional issues (irritable, agitated mood, anger outbursts), cognitive deficits (memory issues, problems focusing), and physical symptoms (dizziness, fainting, chest pains, flashbacks, headaches). Mental health professionals make a diagnosis of PTSD based on the criteria in the DSM-5. Full diagnostic criteria can be found here APA, 2013 DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD.
PTSD is the 3rd most compensated disability following hearing loss (2nd) and tinnitus (1st). The VA assigns disability ratings for PTSD at 0, 10, 30, 50, 70 or 100 percent. Sometimes, there are co-occurring disorders, and the veteran can receive a combined rating where they may have a total of 70%, but only 30% of it is attributed to PTSD.
If you have filed for disability with the VA for PTSD and been denied or received a rating lower than you feel you deserve, VanDerGinst Law may be able to help you with your appeal. We have the knowledge and experience to help you get results.
We offer free consultations, which can be done virtually if preferred, and you pay nothing unless we recover compensation from the VA on your claim. Remember, there are time limits for filing appeals, so don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be honored to help.
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