VA Benefits: Providing Evidence of a link between your PTSD and an in-service stressor.By Chris Attig | Permalink
November 21st in VA Benefits.
THE VA HAS PROPOSED NEW PTSD REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE JULY 13, 2010. THE SUMMARY PROVIDED IN THIS BLOG ENTRY MAY BE AFFECTED BY THOSE REGULATIONS!!!
CONTACT A VETERANS’ BENEFITS ATTORNEY WHO HAS HANDLED CLAIMS FOR DISABILITY COMPENSATION FOR VETERANS WITH PTSD IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS HOW THESE NEW REGULATIONS WILL AFFECT YOUR CLAIM.
This is the fourth installment in our series titled: “VA Benefits: How to Prove your Claim for Veterans Disability due to Service-Connected PTSD”. You can read the first installment, which generally discusses the elements of a PTSD claim to the VA, by clicking here. The second installment, determining what medical evidence is necessary to secure disability benefits for PTSD can be read by clicking here. The third installment, discussing how to prove the existence of an “in-service stressor”, can be read by clicking here.
This installment will discuss how to prove the final element of a PTSD claim to the VA: medical evidence of a link between the current PTSD and the In-Service Stressor.
Generally speaking, if you can prove the first element – a current diagnosis of PTSD – you can prove this element. Why? Because your psychiatrist or treating physician’s report to the VA should include not only a discussion of the diagnosis of PTSD as discussed earlier, but also should include some information about the event which caused the PTSD. While this evidence will not be helpful to prove that the in-service stressor occurred, it will help establish the link between that stressor and the PTSD.
How much evidence of a link do you need? The legal standard is that the evidence must be in “equipoise”. Evidence is in equipoise if there is an equal amount of evidence on either side of a particular argument. All you need to provide is enough evidence to show that the in-service event that caused your PTSD was a “contributing factor” to the PTSD. As long as your medical report properly describes the symptomatology of your PTSD, adequately describes the stressor event, conforms to the DSM-IV, and acknowledges and reconciles reports that support a mental disorder other than PTSD, then you probably have enough evidence to show the third element of your claim.
A special note – if you have been treated (or diagnosed) for an anxiety disorder or PTSD while in the service, you should include these records in your claim for disability to the VA – the VA has a duty to assist you in finding these records or any records that can help prove your claim. Why should you include them? If you were treated for PTSD while in-service, then it is hard to imagine circumstances where the treatment wasn’t for the in-service stressor event, or an in-service event which aggravated or contributed to a prior or current diagnosis of PTSD.
If you have any questions about whether your medical evidence adequately proves a linkage between your current diagnosis of PTSD and in-service stressor, you should consult with a VA Benefits Attorney.
The Attig Law Firm represents U.S. Veterans who have been denied disability benefits for injuries that resulted from their military service. The Firm currently represents peace-time and war-time veterans of all branches of the military, at all levels of the claim process (VA Regional Office, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims). Contact the Attig Law Firm if you would like to discuss your claim for disability benefits before the VA.
No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the Veteran, some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Veterans. The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case. Likewise, their may be information that is applicable to your case that is not provided on this Veterans Disability Compensation Blog.
It is very important that we note that each and every Veteran’s claim is different. Just because we were able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Veteran does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you. In some cases, we may not be able to secure you any financial compensation due to the facts of your particular case.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with VA Disability claims and benefits or a Veterans Service Organization to examine your particular case. If you would like to discuss your VA claim with a lawyer who handles VA Benefits and Disability Appeals, contact the Attig Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation with a VA Benefits attorney.