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Ptsd Base On Personal Trauma



17. Developing Claims for Service Connection for PTSD Based on Personal Trauma

Introduction This topic contains information on developing claims for service connection for PTSD based on personal trauma. It includes information on

· general information about personal trauma

· the evidence required to establish service connection

· the process for obtaining information from the veteran

· the letters to use to obtain information from the veteran

· the process for obtaining service records

· the problems associated with development

· alternative sources for information, and

· the process for obtaining police reports.

Change Date December 13, 2005

a. General Information About Personal Trauma Personal trauma is an event of human design that threatens or inflicts harm. Veterans claiming service connection for disability due to in-service personal trauma face unique problems documenting their claims.

These incidents are often violent and may lead to the development of PTSD.

Examples: Rape, physical assault, domestic battering, robbery, mugging, stalking, and harassment.

b. Evidence Required to Establish Service Connection To establish service connection for PTSD, there must be credible evidence to support the veteran’s assertion that the stressful event occurred.

This does not mean that the evidence actually proves that the incident occurred, but that there is at least an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence that the event did occur.

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17. Developing Claims for Service Connection for PTSD Based on Personal Trauma, Continued

c. Obtaining Information From the Veteran Identifying possible sources of evidence to support the claim may require asking the veteran for information concerning the traumatic incident. Make this request as compassionately as possible in order to avoid causing further trauma.

Although personal trauma is most often thought of as involving female veterans, male veterans may also be involved. Be sure requests for evidence/ information reflect the appropriate gender of the veteran.

d. Letters to Use to Obtain Information From the Veteran When writing a letter to obtain information from the veteran regarding a claim based on personal trauma, use MAP-D and select the personal assault option from the PTSD special issues screen. Enclose VA Form 21-0781a, Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Secondary to Personal Trauma, to solicit details of the claim.

Important: Letters used by ROs to solicit details concerning a combat stressful incident are inappropriate for PTSD claims based on personal trauma.

e. Obtaining Service Records Review the claim and all attached documents. Request service medical records (SMRs) and the entire personnel folder from the appropriate records custodian, if necessary.

Note: Veterans Service Representatives (VSRs) must work closely with Rating Veterans Service Representatives (RVSRs) when developing personal trauma cases.

f. Problems Associated With Development Because personal trauma is an extremely personal and sensitive issue

· many incidents of personal trauma are not officially reported, and

· the victims of this type of in-service trauma may find it difficult to produce evidence to support the occurrence of the stressor.

It is often necessary to seek alternative evidence.

Reference: For information on alternative sources for information, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.D.17.g.

Continued on next page

17. Developing Claims for Service Connection for PTSD Based on Personal Trauma, Continued

g. Alternative Sources for Information Service records not normally requested may be needed to develop claims for service connection for PTSD based on personal trauma, including in-service sexual assault. Responses to a request for information may identify alternative sources for information, such as

· rape crisis center or center for domestic abuse

· counseling facility

· health clinic

· family members or roommates

· faculty members

· civilian police reports

· medical reports from civilian physicians or caregivers who may have treated the veteran either

- immediately following the incident, or

- sometime later

· chaplain or clergy

· fellow service persons, or

· personal diaries or journals.

h. Obtaining Police Reports Obtain reports, as appropriate, from

· military police

· shore patrol

· a provost marshal’s office, or

· other military law enforcement offices.

Note: Requests may be submitted via phone, fax, e-mail, or written correspondence, as long as the request is properly documented in the claims folder.


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After reading all of that....I find it very disturbing as it sounds like the VA IS requiring *proof* that a sexual assault or rape took place....i.e. the vet naming their attacker.

I can't believe that this is legal....in fact I'm going to check into it. A VA employee (a person working in mental health) told me that she had recently heard that the VA was looking to reduce the # of PTSD claims for MST.

So wrong.

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  • HadIt.com Elder




This info. is not new; it's from a section of the VA M21-1 Manual. Maybe next time, post a link to that section. Thanks. ~Wings

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yes, i remember you saying that...either i was lucky or i had all of my proverbial ducks in a row. i made sure i didn't leave any holes that the VA could poke at....that took a lot of time and work but it was worth it.


i'd never seen this info before so it was good to be able to read it. it was "new" to me...as the date indicated it was a change made in 2005.

thanks much!

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I just need to add some comments. I just recently filed a claim for PTSD however I also included for any other mental disorder. Now this is very important for any one that is going to file or has filed and lost a claim for PTSD. For those of you who know the VA and the Gov is trying to get rid of the claim of PTSD there fore they do not want to give anyone a rating for it. On the other hand those that have a rating for and have had one. THey are also working hard to have you curred so they can discontinue paying you. They are pushing the cognitive therapy on many people and they are actually working on medication to take away the symptoms of PTSD. Moving on, do if you are going to file a claim include any other mental disorder because you will always have someone say you are depressed or have an adjustment disorder all of which are related to PTSD. I did win my claim on an appeal because of that wording and because they only took it for the PTSD claim and denied it. The other thing any active duty persons on this website get a copy of all your files before you get out. They are your property because as I and several of my friends know they will loose things on purpose and cover things up that will proof cases in the future. Luckly I had a copy of my medical file to show my abuse. It has been lost by the military otherwise. I have suffered for over 20 years not knowing what was wrong with me until recently with an attempted suicide and all so keep your chins up and push them keep appealing because I know the appeals system does work even going through washington DC. Good luck everyone.


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Yes, very true. The VA is trying to get rid of PTSD as a dx. I've had the CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) pushed hard on me....even tried it twice and both times the VA screwed it up and forced me to stop about 4-5 weeks into the program. I was doing the 12-week outpt program. I don't really see myself doing it again.

And getting copies of your records, mental health records and don't forget those dependents....is wayyyyyyyyyyyy important!!!!!

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