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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a new term for an old problem. Military personnel have always suffered from the horrors they experienced during combat. PTSD is a term that originated around 1980 to describe the emotional impact of those incidents on human beings, especially veterans returning home from the Vietnam War and in particular those veterans who were subjected to heavy combat.
Unfortunately, it is not an easily detected problem because there are no external signs a person is suffering from PTSD. It’s not like being shot or wounded by a mine. It is a much more subtle problem to detect, but very disabling for many veterans.
It’s very easy! All you have to do is simply contact your local Department of Veterans Affairs Office. There is at least one office in every state, most likely in the state capital, but it varies from state to state.
When contacting the VA, just tell them you want to make a claim. The VA will send you a form. If your disability prevents you from making a claim, your local congressman or senator can send a letter to the VA on your behalf and they will open a claim based on that letter.
You’re eligibility for veterans’ disability compensation depends on the relationship between your physical or emotional disability and your time in-service. Typically for physical things, it will be an injury while serving. Sometimes an injury doesn’t seem serious at the time, but the injury develops more seriously as you age. Or, it can be a mental or emotional problem that becomes more severe after leaving the military.
The very first thing you should do if your veterans’ disability claim is denied is contact the VA immediately and tell them you disagree with the decision by putting it in writing. The VA calls it a “Notice of Disagreement” or NOD. You only have to send a short note or letter saying you disagree with the decision and that you want to appeal. You must say you want to appeal.
You can also hire legal representation to help you with appealing your denial.
The VA determines the level of disability and compensation by what they call ratings exams. The VA will send you to an evaluation by a physician (or psychologist or psychiatrist for mental health issues) who will give the VA a report on various criteria about the severity of your condition. Depending on the nature of your condition, your rating can be anywhere from as low as 0 percent up to 100 percent. Typically, many claims are rated in the 10 to 30 percent range, but more severe claims may be rated anywhere from 60 to 100 percent.
If you have a condition caused by service in a war that later results in another limiting condition, that secondary condition can be claimed as a secondary service connection just as if it were caused by service.
The answer is somewhat complicated. It depends on two things: whether or not you’re receiving non-service connected pension or service-connected compensation.
If you’re receiving service-connected compensation, it depends on the percentage rating of disability you have been assigned by the VA. If you have a rating of 10%, you can receive up to $123 per month or up to $2,673 a month if your rating is 100 percent. It varies depending on your rating from the VA.
If you’re receiving a pension, the maximum amount you can receive per year is up to $11,830 per year, or with a spouse, up to $15,493 per year.