Common VA Mistakes In PTSD Claims

Military Service requirements

Even the advocates change in 2010 eliminating the requirement that veterans prove exposure to stressful events in most combat situations, the VA still frequently requires veterans to produce evidence of being in a combat zone, etc. It also still unfairly places the burden on veterans to prove the stressful events in non-combats situations. This is absurdly unfair because veterans frequently are unable to produce this evidence. The VA also fails to understand the signs and symptoms of these conditions demonstrated in service. We may be able to help.

VA Examinations

As part of the evaluation of PTSD claims, the VA will send you for a VA Examination, typically with a VA psychologist. This person is an employee or a contractor of the VA. It has been our experience that these examiners regularly misdiagnose cases of PTSD as being a different and non-service related condition resulting in denial of the claim.

The examiners also regularly fail to consider non-VA and non-medical evidence showing the severity of the symptoms. This results in the VA examiners concluding that the even if there is a diagnosis of PTSD, the condition is mild at best, resulting in a low rating.

Ratings

VA disability ratings for PTSD range from 0, 10, 30, 50, 70 and 100%. It’s not surprising that the initial ratings the VA assigns for PTSD claims are almost never above 30%. It’s is our experience that many times these ratings are unfairly low with the VA minimizing the severity of the veteran’s social and occupational problems.

Unemployability

The VA constantly fails to inform veterans who are unable to work due to their PTSD (or any combination of PTSD and other service-connected conditions) that they may qualify for Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) commonly referred to as unemployability. Unemployability entitles the veteran to a 100% rating.

Personality Disorders — The Military & VA’s Dirty Little Secret

Under current VA regulations, a veteran is not entitled to receive service-connected disability benefits for a personality disorder because the condition exists prior to military service — typically showing up during childhood. However, it’s not surprising that the military has a long history of misdiagnosing these conditions and/or using a “personality disorder” diagnosis as a basis for separating a service member without having to provide any benefits. The military also used (or abused) the “personality disorder” diagnosis to allow service members to leave the service, all the while unknowingly losing potential benefits. In many of these cases the service members were actually suffering from other mental disorders including PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia, etc., that entitle them to service-connected disability benefits.

If you have been denied because you were diagnosed with a personality disorder you should contact us to discuss your case. The best guarantee to protect yourself from the above mistakes is to have a VA disability advocate who is familiar with all types of mental impairments to accompany you and represent you each step of the way.

Veterans Help Group has championed this specific area in veterans’ rights and disability benefits. Work with our firm to make sure you receive an appropriate disability rating.

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