If you suffered a traumatic event during your military services, such as an assault, combat, or another disaster, you could be eligible to receive disability benefits compensation through Veterans Affairs (VA).
Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, affects many military veterans.
PTSD Disability benefits aren’t automatic, which means your condition needs to meet specific criteria.
To learn more about making a claim for PTSD disability benefits, speak with one of our knowledgeable VA disability benefits attorneys at Gerling Law.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that develops following a shocking or disturbing event. Numerous veterans develop PTSD due to situations they experienced or witnessed during their time in the military. Military veterans who served in a war are even more prone to developing PTSD when they return home.
Examples of veteran PTSD symptoms include:
- Repeatedly experiencing the trauma again through nightmares, flashbacks, and other distressing recollections of the event;
- Avoiding people, activities, or places that remind a veteran of the trauma;
- Emotional numbness;
- Getting angered or irritated easily; and
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
PTSD affects people differently, and symptoms will vary from veteran to veteran. The VA designates the incident or event that led to PTSD as the stressor.
How to Get VA Disability Benefits for PTSD?
To receive PTSD VA disability benefits, you need to meet the eligibility requirements. To start, you must have symptoms related to the stressor or your experience with the stressor must relate to your PTSD symptoms.
You need to meet the following requirements:
- The stressor occurred during your time of service;
- You are unable to function as well as you previously did because of your PTSD symptoms; and
- A medical professional, such as a general practitioner, psychiatrist, or therapist, diagnosed you with PTSD.
Proving your PTSD is service-connected is also an essential part of the eligibility process.
To establish a direct-service connection for PTSD, you must demonstrate the following elements:
- Have a current diagnosis of PTSD;
- Prepare a statement about how the stressor happened during your military service; and
- Have a qualified medical professional’s opinion that this stressor was significant enough to cause PTSD.
In order for PTSD to be granted, you need to prove the stressful event that occurred in service. However, if a stressor cannot be proven, it does not mean that your claim will automatically be denied. The VA is required by case law to evaluate your claim for any mental health disability.
Therefore, it is always important to have your claim evaluated, especially with the help of an experienced VA disability claims lawyer.
Determining Your VA Disability Benefits Rating
If you qualify, Veterans Affairs will assign a disability rating to your condition. This rating only increases or decreases in increments of ten. For mental health conditions, the disability ratings are fixed at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%.
Your disability benefits rating determines the benefits you’re entitled to receive from the VA. For example, a rating of 0% means the reviewers thought your condition didn’t really affect your ability to work. Someone assigned a 100% rating is unable to work at all or care for themselves.
Automatic 50 Percent Rating
There is a 50% disability claims rating rule that might apply in some cases. Although the law is referred to as the “Automatic 50 Percent Rating,” it’s not exactly automatic.
38 CFR §4.129 discusses circumstances where a veteran would be given a 50% rating or higher. This section says that the VA should assign an evaluation rating of no less than 50% if PTSD is significant enough to cause someone’s release from active military duty.
The VA also has to schedule an examination within six months following the discharge to determine whether the claim warrants a change in evaluation.
That means you could have a 50% rating for only six months before the new assessment determines your situation warrants a lower VA disability benefits rating.
Contact a VA PTSD Disability Benefits Lawyer
If you suffered a traumatic event during your military service, you could be entitled to receive disability benefits through the VA. Filing a claim for PTSD disability is not as easy as you might think. The VA denies a lot of claim applications initially, which is why you should work with a knowledgeable VA PTSD disability benefits lawyer who has experience with these types of claims. Don’t wait until you receive a denial to contact a VA disability benefits lawyer.
Do you believe you have a valid PTSD disability claim through the VA? If so, speak with one of our experienced lawyers. We have over 50 years of experience helping thousands of injured and disabled people and can increase your chances that your application will be approved.
To learn more about how we can help you file a claim for PTSD disability benefits, contact Gerling Law’s VA disability attorneys online or call (888) 437-5464 today.
Remember, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling ®.