As more and more Armed Forces members return home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they increasingly bring something home with them -- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Most veterans know about PTSD, which is a severe anxiety disorder caused by exposure to traumatic events such as those experienced during battle or in war zones. PTSD is a condition that has been the subject of significant research, research conducted with the hope of understanding this debilitating illness and developing effective treatments.
PTSD Research is Ongoing
Just a few examples can tell the story of the wide range of research efforts undertaken by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations. The University of Wisconsin has been looking into the benefits of yoga for veterans experiencing the symptoms of PTSD. A McGill University study is looking into the possible benefits of beta-blockers for individuals suffering from PTSD.
One of the biggest research efforts is conducted by the VA, which operates the National Center for PTSD, an organization dedicated to advancing the science and promoting understand of traumatic stress. Recent research, described in a 2010 issue of the center's PTSD Research Quarterly, explores a traditional approach to treating PTSD - exposure therapy and discusses the links between PTSD and substance abuse. Another issue, this one in 2011, investigates the VA disability rating process within the context of PTSD.
If you have PTSD, you know that academic research doesn't make your reality any easier. You need help. In order to receive benefits for disability due to PTSD, a veteran needs to fill out, submit and have the application form approved. And this is just the beginning of the process. It can take a long time, but an experienced claims agent can make a big difference in how smoothly the process goes.
At the Rep For Vets®, our claims agents work for disabled veterans to help them obtain benefits. It's that simple. Our firm has a slogan that says it all: "The VA works for the government. Our advocates work for you." Whether you have PTSD or were injured in a bomb blast, our advocates know how to get you the disability benefits you need and deserve. Give our VA-accredited advocates a call to learn how we can navigate the system for you and remove that burden from your shoulders.
Here are some of the steps in the process of obtaining VA benefits for PTSD:
The first step in the treatment of PTSD is diagnosis. In order for veterans to obtain benefits for PTSD symptoms, they must be properly diagnosed. Recently, diagnosis of this ailment has become more refined, but it is still heavily dependent on medical professionals. If an evaluation is not correctly performed by a physician or other provider, a veteran has a limited chance of obtaining proper treatment or VA disability benefits.
Meeting the Criteria for Benefits
A large hurdle for veterans with PTSD is meeting the criteria for benefits. In some instances, soldiers are discharged due to PTSD, but are subsequently told they do not meet the VA requirements for benefits. The disability benefits vets can receive are dependent on the disability ratings they receive. The rating is determined by a diagnostic scoring review based on the symptoms and severity of those symptoms. Benefits are based on the score received: the higher the score, the greater the benefit. The percentage relates to the amount of occupational and social impairment, with 100 percent indicating total impairment and 0 percent indicating that the PTSD symptoms are not severe enough to affect a veteran's ability to find and maintain employment or interact with others.
Another challenge for veterans seeking compensation for PTSD is dealing with bureaucratic red tape. The VA currently uses an older system to receive and process medical benefits claims that often results in long delays and mismanagement of treatment. Unfortunately, the people most affected by these circumstances are often the least prepared to cope with delays.
Over the past few years there has been congressional action to improve the benefits for veterans suffering from PTSD and reduce application processing times, but the fight to improve the system is not yet over. As long as there are brave men and women fighting, the challenge of caring for service members coming home with PTSD will continue. But veterans don't have to do it by themselves; help is available.
The VA-accredited claims agents at The Rep For Vets® are available to help veterans seek the help they need and deserve.