Veterans who have engaged in intense and prolonged combat or experienced another exceptionally stressful event are at risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. This mental health disorder, also known as shell shock and battle fatigue, has probably been around as long as soldiers have fought battles, but only in recent decades has PTSD been recognized as a serious and debilitating condition.

Every attorney at our firm can help you get the benefits you deserve if service-related PTSD has disrupted your life. We are so confident that we can win your PTSD claim that we don’t get paid unless you get the benefits you deserve.

Signs and Symptoms of Service-Related PTSD

Anyone who has gone through combat or an event that causes feelings of intense fear or helplessness can develop PTSD. This includes combat veterans and survivors of terrorist attacks, serious accidents, and physical or sexual assault. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain. The symptoms of PTSD usually start soon after the life-threatening event, but they may occur months or years later and continue for years, making it difficult to continue with daily activities.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), signs that a veteran could be suffering from PTSD include:

  • Reliving a traumatic event (“flashbacks”)
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
  • Feeling numb or withdrawn
  • Feeling on edge, jittery, or constantly on guard
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Trouble holding a job
  • Relationship problems
  • Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair
  • Physical symptoms

PTSD is the most prevalent mental health disorder resulting from combat. PTSD claims have increased sharply. From 1999 to 2007, the number of veterans receiving compensation benefits for PTSD went from 120,000 to nearly 300,000, according to the VA.

While the VA pays disability benefits to former servicemembers who have been diagnosed with service-related PTSD, it is unwise to take on the VA bureaucracy by yourself. It can take months or even years before you get the benefits you are entitled to without the help of a knowledgeable attorney who understands the VA claims system.

Qualifying PTSD Claims

To be eligible for PTSD-related disability benefits, a veteran must present:

  • A clear medical diagnosis of PTSD;
  • Evidence of a stressor event that occurred during military service; and
  • Evidence that the stressor event is a cause of their PTSD.

Once a Veteran establishes to the VA’s satisfaction that his or her PTSD is service-connected, the VA will determine their level of impairment. For service-connected PTSD disabilities, the VA bases the amount of benefits on the degree of disability. There is a graduated scale of disability that begins at 0 percent and goes up to 10 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent, and 100 percent. A 0 percent rating means that you have service-connected PTSD, but you are not impaired by it.

In order to decide the disability percentage, the VA uses a diagnostic test called Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF). This rating looks at how well someone functions in carrying out daily living activities, including social interactions. The scale ranges from 0 to 100. A lower GAF score indicates that someone is more impaired.

Get Help on Your PTSD Claim from Our Attorneys Today

If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits on the basis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other service-related disabilities, contact us today for a free consultation. We can offer guidance regarding your PTSD claim, and we do not charge veterans unless we are successful in obtaining disability benefits.

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