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 VA Compensation Claim for PTSD

What a veteran has to prove to get his or her VA compensation benefits for PTSD can depend on what the veteranís in service claimed stressor is. There are essentially three different types of post traumatic stress disorder cases. Every PTSD claim must prove a current diagnosis of PTSD, credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor actually occurred; and medical evidence of a casual nexus between the current symptomatology and the claimed in-service stressor. The standard of proof for each of the three steps is ďas least as likely as notĒ, which means if all evidence is equal the benefit of the doubt goes to the veteran. I will now discuss how the type of stressor may affect how you go about proving your service connection for post traumatic stress disorder.

Combat Veteran PTSD

A PTSD claim for a combat veteran (and POWs) can be significantly easier to prove then the next two types of posttraumatic stress disorder claims that I will talk about. The reason these claims are a bit easier to win is that once the veteran shows he has a diagnosis of PTSD and is able to show he was in combat (such as by medal, combat badge, or service records etc.) the VA is required to accept the veterans testimony about the claimed stressor and, therefore, the requirement of corroboration is not needed. This is as long as; there is no clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. So in most cases if the veteran has proof he was in combat, then you will probably only have to show a current diagnosis of PTSD and medical evidence linking his current PTSD to his in-service stressor during combat.

Non-combat veteran PTSD

Another type of PTSD claim involves a stressor that is non-combat related but occurred during service. To win this type of PTSD claim you must show a current diagnosis of PTSD, with credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor actually occurred and medical evidence of a casual nexus between the current symptomatology and the claimed in-service stressor. The important difference between this type of PTSD case and the combat veteran PTSD case is that the non-combat veteran will have to show credible supporting evidence that the in-service stressor occurred. Often times the traumatic event happens many years ago and it can be difficult to find credible supporting evidence of the traumatic event. Some evidence that can be used support the stressor is the veteranís service records, letters home, and buddy letters from other veterans who were aware of what happened.

Personal Assault, Rape and PTSD

The last type of PTSD claim is actually another type of the non-combat related stressor claim and although more common in female veterans, there is a large number of men with these types of claims as well. Many sexual assault cases go un-reported and the rules that were in place made it difficult for women and men to win these types of post traumatic stress disorder cases. PTSD claims for personal assault such as rape are now treated differently. In these cases, evidence from sources other than the veteran service records can corroborate the veteranís account of the traumatic event. In these types of cases different types of lay statements, evidence of behavioral changes, request for duty changes, performance decline, and even drug and alcohol abuse can show corroboration that the event occurred.

If you would like to read more about VA compensation for PTSD click on the link. If you also have a Social Security Disability claim for PTSD then you may also want to read my page on the subject.


Karl Kazmierczak, Esq.


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