PTSD Claims Based on Aggression by a Fellow Military Member

When a veteran’s claim of PTSD is based on a stressor incident in which he suffered from fear of hostile military or terrorist activity — and a VA examiner confirms that the claimed stressor incident is adequate to support a PTSD diagnosis — the veteran’s own testimony that the stressor incident is enough to prove that the stressor incident happened. In other words, the veteran does not have to gather documentation to prove that the stressor incident actually happened.

However, after a new case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, it is now clear that this rule is narrow and does not apply unless the aggressor is an enemy military force. Hall v. Shinseki addressed PTSD claims based on aggression by a fellow military member. The Federal Circuit determined that the above evidentiary rule does not apply where the claimed stressor incident involves aggression by a member of the U.S. military against another member of the U.S. military. Only aggression by an enemy force is sufficient. Thus, the rule does not apply in military sexual trauma cases. Of course, there is another special rule in place for military sexual trauma cases that makes it somewhat less onerous on the victim to prove that the sexual assault occurred.

More Information: Veterans Disability Benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

More Articles

Federal Court Addresses PTSD Stressors

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirms that VA must apply a generous standard when evaluating the lay testimony of veterans suffering from PTSD concerning their combat experiences and PTSD stressors. Sanchez-Navarro v....

Permanent and Total VA Disability Ratings for PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the...

Depression And Your VA Claim

Depression can negatively affect every aspect of your life: how you feel, think, sleep, function, and interact with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 14% of veterans suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common...

Four Tips On How To Get The Highest PTSD Rating

If you have been fortunate enough to have been granted service connection for PTSD, then you have probably been given a disappointingly low rating.  This is a very common situation so you are not alone. The VA regularly underrates PTSD claims.  In the...


  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.