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Veterans PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

About 20 percent of war veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan experience some degree of veterans PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of having been witness to, or directly impacted by, attack, ambush, serious injury or death. PTSD is also referred to as "shell shock" or "combat fatigue". Many post traumatic stress disorder veterans who were denied PTSD veteran disability benefits are now having their claims re-evaluated, in response to a recent VA PTSD class action lawsuit filed by combat veterans.


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About Veterans PTSD

Veterans PTSD occurs when a vet has experienced a stressful event while he or she was in service. Post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers is not limited to combat; PTSD is a result of a traumatic event that occurred in service. According to Veterans Affairs 60,000 US service personnel have been wounded or have struggled with war trauma after their tours in Iraq since 2003, and that up to one-third of all those suffer from PTSD Iraq.

Veterans Post Traumatic Stress DisorderPTSD symptoms include flashbacks, vivid nightmares, intrusive thoughts, exaggerated startle response, emotional numbness and more. PTSD is recognized as debilitating: information for PTSD treatment can be found online at the National Center for PTSD.

In 2008, a study by the Rand Corp. estimated that 300,000 veterans of the current wars were suffering from PTSD or major depression. According to the VA, however, as of Fiscal Year 2009, nearly 390,000 veterans were receiving ptsd veteran disability benefits, making it the fourth-most prevalent service-connected disability.

According to a government report, more than 134,000 veterans of about 1.6 million troops who served in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq were seen at VA health care facilities for "potential PTSD" as of late 2009. It is not known how many veterans received treatment for PTSD. Researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School and Stanford University estimate that the PTSD Iraq War veterans will be about 35 percent.

Do you Qualify for VA PTSD Disability Benefits?

Veterans PTSD Disability BenefitsThe following disability types will help determine whether you qualify for VA disability benefits:

Direct Service Connection means your disability was diagnosed during the time you were serving and continues to negatively affect you today.

Presumptive Service Connection means the VA predetermines that your disability is connected to your "time," "place," and "type" of military service.

Aggravation Service Connection requires evidence that your condition existed prior to your military service and has worsened as a result of service.

Secondary Service Connection requires evidence to the VA that your disability or injury is the result of another service-connected disability or injury. It's possible to obtain this rating by proving that a service-connected condition caused a new disability, or made a pre-existing or non-service connected disability worse.

Injured as a result of VA medical treatment occurs due to poor treatment at a VA hospital. These benefits may also be granted to veterans who have an existing injury that was aggravated due to medical malpractice at a VA hospital.

PTSD and Risperdal Study

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs suggests that Risperdal, prescribed to treat PTSD in veterans, may be no more effective than a placebo. According to the study, after six months of treatment, five percent of participants who were given Risperdal and five percent of patients given a placebo responded fully to their treatment, while between 10 percent and 20 percent in both groups reported some improvement. Furthermore, patients in the Risperdal group reportedly were more likely to suffer side effects, including weight gain and fatigue. Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic medication.

PTSD and Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizure

According to a study published in Neurology (9/6/11), veterans who experience non-epileptic seizures--also referred to as "emotion-related seizures"--may be incorrectly diagnosed with epileptic seizures. The study, conducted by Dr. Martin Salinsky of the Portland VA Medical Center and the Oregon Health & Sciences University, revealed that because the two conditions present themselves similarly, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures may be misdiagnosed as epilepsy.

The study also showed that veterans who were diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures were diagnosed on average five years after the onset of symptoms; for civilians diagnosed with the condition, diagnosis only took an average one year. For roughly 60 percent of the veterans included in the study, their seizures were attributed to traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Of note, according to Dr. Salinsky, many of the veterans in the study who were ultimately diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures were prescribed epilepsy drugs prior to being given their proper diagnosis. This, he states, may cause serious, unwanted side effects and also will not help with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.

VA PTSD Disability Claims Re-Evaluated

In 2008 more than 600,000 American veterans were waiting for decisions from the VA on disability benefit applications, many of them PTSD claims. Of those initial decisions that are appealed, more than 50 percent are reversed. On average, the appeals were taking from four to 10 years to resolve.

Veterans PTSD Long-Term DisabilityRecent events, however, will streamline this process and secure PTSD veteran disability benefits.

Veterans can now hire attorneys to represent them for benefits before the Veterans Administration. Prior to this recent legislation, attorneys have been prohibited from charging a fee to represent veterans at the administrative level.

In December 2008 a class-action suit, Sabo v. United States, was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by seven veterans who suffer from PTSD but who were denied a required rating to make them eligible for a variety of long-term benefits. The lawsuit claims that between December 2002 and October 2008, the military illegally denied benefits to an entire class of service members who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and were discharged from service.

One year later, a federal judge in Washington accepted a list of about 4,300 veterans who may also have been improperly denied PTSD benefits. Veterans VA Healthcare ChildrenThe court's notice invites veterans to join a class action lawsuit filed in December 2008 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by signing and submitting an "opt-in" form no later than July 24, 2010.

The disability ratings which are the subject of the lawsuit are extremely important to veterans with PTSD. A permanent disability rating of 30 percent or more entitles a veteran to monthly disability benefits for the rest of the veteran's life, to free health care for the veteran and his or her spouse for life, and to free health care for their minor children. (In previous years, a disability rating of 50 percent was required to receive disability benefits.) Because the ratings are increased, class members may be entitled to back pay of disability benefits, reimbursement for health care expenses the military should have covered, and future benefits.

Legislation was recently introduced to streamline the "broken" VA claims process, especially for veterans in traditionally non-combat roles. In the past, the VA required independent proof that a traumatizing event--also known as a "stressor--occurred. Under the proposed changes, a veteran's "lay testimony" about what happened to him is sufficient,<Veterans Disability Legislation as long as it "is related to the veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity" and is "consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran's service."

As of January 2010, the Disability Evaluation System program will expand to thirty-three installations. (Currently, there are twenty-seven military facilities that take part in the program.) The six new installations will include: Fort Benning, GA.; Fort Bragg, NC.; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Lewis, WA.; Fort Riley, KS.; and Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, VA. If a disabled veteran does not use this program at one of the above facilities, their evaluation will be reviewed by the Defense Department physicians, then by the VA—a long and complicated process. The Disability Evaluation Systems program allows veterans to undergo just one medical exam and obtain a single-sourced disability rating—and receive VA disability benefit payments without a long wait.

Other Veteran Psychological Disorders

Under a new regulation, mental conditions other than PTSD, such as an adjustment disorder or depression, are being re-evaluated. A number of veterans may want to check their ratings to determine whether they were properly awarded benefits. The Code of Federal Regulations (38 CFR § 4.129) states that:
    "When a mental disorder that develops in service as the result of a stressful event is severe enough to bring about the veteran's release from active military service, the rating agency shall assign an evaluation of not less than 50% and schedule an examination within a six month period following the veteran's discharge to determine whether a change in evaluation is warranted".
If this regulation was improperly applied to you, contact the VA Department Service Officer or an experienced VA disability attorney, who can determine the best course of action and possibly have your claim re-evaluated.

Veterans PTSD Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this health care case, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Last updated on Oct-24-14


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Posted by
Joseph Brown
Hello I was a service member and left the military back in 1990.I went to JJ e va and was diagnosed with PTSD for an event that occurred while serving in the European theater.I never was in in a combat area. I t has now been about thirty years since my being diagnosed with PTSD.Can you advise me .

Posted by
Our story is written in several articles on ABC News 20/20 Copy and Past this link and watch a video to see just some of the abuse we live with, due only, to the intolerance, hatred and false fears of our "Christian" neighbors. We lived in Orlando for 16 years, working from home in our artisan studio/home. In 2003 we moved to Deland, 45 miles away; on the corner sat a little unassuming house of worship. We totally renovated a historical home, pouring all the money we saved over the past 20 years, and selling 2 rental properties in order to live simply, and pay off our home. One day we were visited by the church pastors and we were asked if they could pray for our concerns and fears. This is when our nightmare began after we explained we desired prayer for out Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Suddenly, the prayer turned scary as they cupped our ears with force, and "prayed for the demons that controlled our minds to hear the voices of children as joyous noise." They The church had a daycare that turned into a school with over 300 students pre-K through 12th, overnight. Two schools were moved to the site from other "fake churches" the LLC owned. The children were sent to within 15' of our home on two side, after clearing a buffer of trees, screaming was heard endlessly, rocks thrown, taunts, and lies spread about how violent we were. Any attempts to reach the staff by phone or in person were ignored. False police reports ensued stating preposterous allegations. Soon, my husband lost a 2o yr. sobriety and we were both put on medications to numb ourselves. The group placed NRA signs in our backyard and frequently entered our yard, and even posted signs to Keep away. I am a survivor of violent rape and my husband survived a shooting as an innocent victim of mistaken identity by a policeman. Our every fiber suffered the involuntary reactions to forced fear associated with PTSD to include vomiting, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, cortisol levels rose to cause diabetes and heart issues. Finally, we hired an attorney but after 3 years of pleading for a resolution, and several visits to the county council due to the school operating in our subdivision on residential property without authority, we have had to continue our case pro se. There never was a church in the building and now we are surrounded with a school, receiving State Funding under School Choice, county assistance. We are still fighting to gain the privacy of our backyard, so that we can live in our home which we have had to mortgage to put up a 10' tall fence. Every day is lived in fear that we will be forced from our home as we have been asked to MOVE away from a school, because we are not fit to live near children.

Posted by
My father is 70% PTSD military connected and is housebound as a result of his PTSD Anxiety and physical disablity. We have applied for aid and attendance and was denied. We submitted additional documentation and now the process has taken more that 3 years to resolve. Meanwhile, my father is suffering with the stress of needing someone with him 24 hours a day.

Posted by
1) I have been fired from my state job because of my service connected disabilities. 2) My family has spent my retirement savings and tens of thousands of dollars in medical care. 3) Providers at the VA told me if I had private insurance to keep it, because the wait for specialty care is several months long - mental health care! 4) In addition, I would have to travel 90 miles to Temple TX to get specialty care in orthopedics and pain management. 5) Several meds I have been prescribed by civilian doctors are not in the VA formulary and are not available to me. 6) My wife and I are having to claim personal bankruptcy because of this. HELP PLEASE!!

Posted by
It took two years for my daughter's case to come to the board. Now that she has been declared disabled she still cannot get timely care and equipment she needs to be able to walk.

Posted by
I've had 10 hospitalizations and 6 major surgeries since 1990. The VAMC elected NOT to treat me, made excuses, threats and claimed they were not able to treat me because I am a female veteran. The PTSD team at the VA is restricted to only male veterans. The VA hospital in Muskogee has placed a "do not pay" order on my file for all private claims. From 2003 to 2005, I had 5 surgeries done privately via admission to private ER/ICU due to ACUTE kidney failure and severe blood clots leaving me bedridden for months. My medical bills have totaled over $100,000. The VA business office refused all claims except for a partial payment to the local hospital after 4 appeals. The VA claims that my total kidney failure, blood clots and increased PTSD are/were all non-urgent. I've been on Coumadin for the past 4 years and the VA has not done any lab work for the past 15 months. Meanwhile, I've been forced to get a 2nd mortgage for $50,000 on my home to re-pay private hospital expenses. My two mortgages and mounting medical/prescription cost me 75% of my disability income. This forces me to live on credit cards for my food and weekly psychotherapy sessions. The VA's severe neglect of my healthcare has led to my poor health and the permanent loss of my right kidney. The chief of psychiatry has threatened to personally sue me if I expose this neglectful treatment. I need some sort of help with my diminishing health before I end up on dialysis.

Posted by
I have PTSD, among many many health problems. I have been going to the local VA and have yet to receive any real help.
They know I have PTSD real bad, and have not prescribed me any medicine! Please call and we can go over the whole medical file- I have copies of all. I am not collecting disability either. I have applied many times,


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