A high percentage of veterans who have been in combat situations end up with some form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). PTSD claims are the most common type of mental health claim made to the VA. But how do you know if you or your loved one should file a PTSD claim with the VA, and what is that process like? As John Berry, a veteran’s mental disability attorney explains, many veterans with PTSD either don’t file a claim or have their claim denied, which can cause them to not get the help they need. Getting the proper treatment for PTSD is essential, as untreated, it can lead to destroyed lives and even suicide.
So how do you know you should file a PTSD claim with the VA? There are a few requirements to look for.
- You need to have an official diagnosis.
To file a claim with the VA, you need to have an official diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist. If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms after your time in the service, you should seek out an expert psychiatrist right away and explain your symptoms. He or she can create a treatment plan and give you an official diagnosis.
- You need to prove that your diagnosis is connected to your time in the service.
The next thing you will need to file a PTSD claim with the VA is a provable connection between your PTSD diagnosis and your time in the service. Your psychiatrist can help you prove this by making notes about your triggers and where they came from. As NC personal injury lawyer David Teddy explains, this is also a reason that it is important to seek treatment right away, because the sooner you seek treatment, the easier it is to make the connection between your condition and your experiences during your deployments.
- You need to show how your diagnosis is impacting your life.
Lastly, you need to show how your diagnosis is impacting your life, which will show how compensation will help you. You need to keep track of things like medical bills, lost wages, emotional turmoil, and other losses caused by your PTSD. All of these things should be explained when you go to file your claim. As the Myrtle Beach injury attorneys at the Jebaily Law firm explain, no matter what type of personal injury claim you are filing, you need to be able to prove that the injury you suffered is impacting your quality of life, earnings, etc. This is no different when you are filing a PTSD claim.
So, what does the process of filing a claim with the VA look like? According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the process of filing a claim has 8 steps, which are:
- Claim Received.
This is the step that occurs once you’ve submitted your claim, which you can submit online or through the mail. Once your claim has been received, you will find a receipt in your list of open claims.
- Under Review.
During this stage of the process, your claim will be given to a Veterans Service Representative. This representative will review your claim and see if you need to submit additional evidence. If no additional evidence is needed, the claim will go directly to the Preparation for Decision phase. If the claim does need additional documentation, you will go to step three of the process.
- Gathering of Evidence.
The representative processing your claim will request any additional documentation or evidence needed. You may be asked to submit medical documents, documents from a government agency, or other evidence during this phase of the process.
- Review of Evidence.
Once you submit the requested additional documentation, the new evidence will be reviewed by your representative. If more evidence is needed, the claim will go back to the gathering of evidence part of the process. If enough evidence has been provided, the representative will move your claim to step 5.
- Preparation for a Decision.
During this phase, the representative handling your claim will recommend a decision and prepare any required documents that detail the decision.
- Pending Decision Approval.
Once the decision has been recommended, it will be reviewed. At this point, a final award approval will be made. If any additional evidence is needed, the claim will be sent back to step 3 of the process.
- Preparation for Notification.
At this stage of the process, a claim decision packet will be prepared for you.
At this point, the VA will have sent you a decision packet by US mail. This package will arrive within standard mailing times.
If you receive your package and your claim is denied, all hope is not lost. You can decide to file an appeal to the decision. If you do decide to do this, it is a good idea to get some legal help. As Athens AL personal injury attorney Harvey Morris explains, a good lawyer will know the ins-and-outs of filing a successful appeal and will be able to advise you on how best to proceed with appealing your claim decision.