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As with other service-related injuries and diseases, the VA will pay eligible veterans monthly compensation for disability resulting from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  For a veteran rated at 10, 30, 50, 70 or 100 percent disabled, compensation payments can range from a few dollars to several thousand dollars a month — depending on the severity of your condition.

 

To receive VA compensation for PTSD there are two items of evidence that must exist.  One without the other is worthless in establishing your claim to VA compensation for PTSD.

 

  • Stressor:  In a recent regulatory revision, the VA will accept as a stressor the fact that a veteran was in "fear of military or terroist activity."  Likewise any event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury could also be considered as a stressor.  That fear or event must be consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran's service.  Moreover, a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or those working under contract to the VA, must confirm that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD.

  • Diagnosis: A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rendered by a psychiatrist.  Counseling reports prepared by Vet Centers may be considered in determining the degree of your impairment; however, there must be a diagnosis of PTSD made by a physician specialized in psychiatry. 

Like Vietnam, Afghanistan and especially Iraq have no “front line.”   Even the most secure places are subject to suicide attacks, mortars, rockets, and sniper fire.  Likewise, the simple movement of supplies and troops present an ever-present danger.  Your presence in a combat zone is crucial in establishing a claim for compensation based on PTSD related to combat.  Similarily, in cases of fratricide or military sexual trauma, such events must be consistent with the circumstances of your service.  Also, detailed information about trauma you have experienced can be invaluable to those who seek to treat or diagnose your condition.

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DOD Photograph

Get help!  PTSD claims are not a do-it-yourself endeavor.  It is important that your claim be prepared as well as possible.  If improperly prepared or documented, your claim is likely to fail.  Depending on why it failed, your claim may damage your ability to successfully appeal a bad decision or to win approval in a subsequent claim.  A claim that has been filed incorrectly is as useless to you and your family as a claim that was never filed.

 

If you have PTSD, your disability may make it unlikely that you can weather the frustration of dealing with the VA and objectively respond to its requests for information.  A claim that has been abandoned by a frustrated veteran is as useless to him and his family as a claim that was never filed.

 

The various veterans organizations provide free claims assistance, as do state governments and local county service officers.  See the Helpful Links section of this website for links to veterans claims service providers.  

 

The quality of the service available out there ranges from terrible to excellent.  Try to find a person to help you who is familiar with PTSD and has handled successful claims for compensation for PTSD.  If he or she doesn’t know, at a minimum, most of the information contained in this website, he or she will be of little help to you.

 

Selecting a representative to help you with your VA claim is the second most important thing you can do after deciding to seek treatment for your PTSD.  However, before doing so, you need to have the details of your case readily available.  Detailed information about the who, what, where, and when of combat-related events is vital to the successful preparation of your compensation claim.

 

To help you, and to help your claims representative, we have provided you with a PTSD worksheet in a separate section of this website.  Print it and complete it honestly and fully to help you, your claims representative, and your VA examining physician assemble and document the best possible claim.

 

Complete the worksheet and file it away even if you do not believe you have PTSD at this time.  Believe me, memories of the people, places, and events so fresh in your mind today will fade.  As the years pass, your mind will instinctively try to erase traumatic events from your consciousness.  For treatment or compensation purposes you may need to have the information on the worksheet available to you in the years to come.

"Every citizen should be a soldier.  This was the case with the Greeks and Romans; and must be that of every free state."

  Jefferson, letter, 1813

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