Veterans Disability Claims for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Over the past decades, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was known by many familiar labels: “shell shock”, “combat fatigue”, “war neurosis”, “Vietnam Stress”, “Vietnam Syndrome”, and “Delayed Stress”. Tragically, a significant number of our Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans currently suffer the debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD often follow a veteran’s direct or indirect exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor. PTSD causes the veteran to experience intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Understandably, these disabling symptoms result in significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning.

In 1980, PTSD became a nationally recognized and diagnosable anxiety- related mental disorder. The VA remained highly suspicious of this disability claim, however, and many legitimate claims were denied. Today, the VA is more receptive to recognizing this claim as a valid disability.

A veteran filing a service-connected disability claim based on PTSD must have a current diagnosis of PTSD from an expert who is competent to diagnose the disorder. While an in-service diagnosis of PTSD simplifies the path to service-connected disability compensation, service connection is still available when PTSD is first diagnosed years after service. All veterans, not just combat veterans, are eligible to be service-connected for PTSD, if they meet certain VA requirements.

The claims process for veterans claiming a service-connected diagnosis of PTSD is complex, and often difficult. If you believe that you have a service-connected disability claim for PTSD, the Law Office of Sonya L. Pence stands ready and prepared to assist you at all stages of your claims process. We understand that no one knows your story better than you.