How Do You Prove Your PTSD Is Service Related In Houston?

The VA recognizes that PTSD is an issue that many veterans face but maybe too afraid to discuss or seek treatment for. Unfortunately, the VA doesn’t make it easy for veterans.

How Do You Prove Your PTSD Is Service Related In Houston?

PTSD is one of the most common VA disability claims, but it’s the one with the least amount of treatment. Some veterans seek out treatment outside of the military to avoid discharge or other retribution, but many don’t seek any treatment. About 50% of veterans with PTSD actually seek treatment, and of those, about 50% receive adequate treatment.

PTSD And The Service Connection

One of the biggest hurdles is actually proving to the VA that the condition is a direct result of your military service. Since it’s not visible like a physical injury, it’s more difficult to quantify. So it’s up to you as a veteran to prove to the VA that your PTSD is positively service-connected.

The first step is to have a current medical diagnosis of PTSD from a competent expert who is qualified to offer a diagnosis. This must be a psychologist or other physician who has doctorate level training in diagnostic methods, psychopathology, and clinical interview methods along with a working knowledge of the DSM-V. Many veterans may seek help from licensed counselors and social workers, but the VA won’t accept a diagnosis from these providers.

Second, credible supporting evidence is required to show that the stressor (the event that triggered PTSD) actually occurred. This can take the form of service records (including service medical records), buddy statements from individuals who were present at the time of the stressor event, and records from programs where help may have been rendered, such as a veterans service group. A disability lawyer experienced in VA claims can make suggestions of additional forms of evidence to submit.

The third requirement is documented medical evidence of a nexus between the in-service stressor and current symptoms. This can be a statement from your treating physician along with supporting documentation.

Presumptive Service Connection

For veterans who were in specific circumstances and later file a claim, the VA is required to presume a service relationship for PTSD. In other words, if a veteran had certain experiences that could be considered a stressor, the VA presumes that there is a service connection. This can include:

  • Exposure to combat—if the stressor is obviously from the veteran’s time in combat, it’s presumed to be service-connected
  • Prisoner of war—generally, a lay statement is enough to prove the in-service stressor, and the VA will presume a service connection.
  • Military sexual trauma (MST)—because MST is under-reported in the military, the VA has a lower threshold for proof and corroboration. Acceptable evidence includes pregnancy and/or pregnancy testing, STD testing and/or diagnosis, mental health treatment, and rape crisis center reports. Other evidence can be submitted, such as requests for transfers and behavioral reports.
  • Fear of terrorist or military activity—while a lay statement can be helpful to describe the circumstances surrounding the veteran’s fears, a diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional will also be required to substantiate the claim that the PTSD is the result of this fear.

In these cases, a medical nexus isn’t necessary to prove a service connection to PTSD.

Houston VA Disability Attorney For PTSD

This is just a brief overview of proving PTSD to the VA. Whether you’re suffering from PTSD or something else that’s service-related, we can help you apply, appeal, and make your case to get you the benefits you deserve.

When you’re ready to start your application, need help with an appeal, call The Herren Law Firm at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.