Proving Entitlement to Service Connection for PTSD under Relaxed Standards

Disability claims filed through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) commonly involve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the VA, over 50% of former servicemembers will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives.

There are many common causes of PTSD recognized by the VA, including combat-related trauma and military sexual trauma (MST). On July 13, 2010, the VA introduced new rules concerning veterans’ PTSD claims. The new regulations are designed to simplify the claims process and increase access to disability compensation for service-connected PTSD.

Details on the Relaxed PTSD Process

There are several elements you must prove to qualify for PTSD-related disability benefits from the VA, including:

  • A PTSD diagnosis from a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or contract equivalent which confirms the stressor supports the diagnosis of PTSD and the symptoms are related to the stressor.
  • Evidence of a traumatic event (often referred to as a stressor) during your active-duty military service. Under the relaxed standards, this evidence could be the veteran’s lay testimony alone to establish the claimed stressor.
  • A medical nexus or connection between the stressor and the development of PTSD

Before the VA introduced the refined claims process, former servicemembers had to prove that their PTSD developed from a trauma-causing event. This often had to be demonstrated through substantial evidence or an investigation.

Under the VA’s new rules, receiving PTSD-related disability compensation may be quicker and easier. Specifically, a medical nexus only needs to prove that a stressor was at least 50% likely to cause PTSD.

In some cases, demonstrating a medical nexus may not be required at all, such as claims involving presumptive service-connected conditions. Similarly, there are some situations in which corroborative evidence may not be necessary.

Contact an Experienced Veteran’s Disability Attorney Today

Managing a PTSD disability claim without legal representation could create additional stress in a veteran’s life. The knowledgeable VA disability benefits lawyers at our firm can examine your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our seasoned VA-accredited lawyers are experienced in advocating for veterans’ rights. To speak to a member of our diligent legal team, contact us today.

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