What Should I Do If My VA Claim Was Denied for PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that impacts a great many U.S. veterans. The VA says that about 7% of veterans will suffer from PTSD at some point, and the rate is much higher for female veterans–about 13%. PTSD has also become more common in veterans in recent years. For example, about 10% of Vietnam veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives. But, according to a large-scale study of U.S. veterans, 21% of Desert Storm veterans and 29% of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from PTSD at some point.
50-66% of those veterans–depending on the war–reported having experienced PTSD in they year leading up to the study. Since the study included veterans back to World War II, this illustrates how enduring the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder can be. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be debilitating, and symptoms may vary over time, becoming more severe when the veteran is under stress or triggering events or exposures occur.
Establishing a PTSD Claim
To establish a service-connected disability for post-traumatic stress disorder, the veteran has the same basic requirements as with any other claim–to prove that:
- They suffer from the disabling condition, and
- The condition is service-connected
However, this can be more complicated in post-traumatic stress disorder cases than in some other types of claims. First, PTSD symptoms may not emerge immediately, or may not be identified by the veteran. That can make it more difficult to establish a service connection. Veterans claiming disability due to service-related PTSD must also submit an additional form with information about the specific event or events that caused or aggravated the condition.
In 2010, a new VA rule loosened the burden on a veteran pursuing a PTSD claim somewhat. However, the VA still denies many post-traumatic stress disorder claims.
Next Steps after Denial of a PTSD Claim
If your claim for VA disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder is denied, or if your disability rating is lower than you believe it should be, you have options about how to proceed. You may:
- File a supplemental claim to provide additional evidence
- Request a higher level review
- File a Notice of Disagreement to start the Board Appeal process
The best option for you will depend on the specifics of your claim and the reason your claim was denied. An experienced veterans disability benefits advocate can help assess which approach makes the most sense for you, and help you put together the strongest possible supplemental claim or appeal. To learn more, call (855) 855-8992 right now, or contact us here.
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