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Proposal To Ease Aid For G.i.'s With Stress Disorder



  • HadIt.com Elder

Subject: [VeteranIssues] Proposal to Ease Aid for G.I.'s With Stress Disorder

Date: Aug 29, 2009 11:18 AM

Note: Always be suspicious, when someone says I am from the Govt, & I am

here to help you..Very few VA Drs

Will ever state it appears to be service connected. Look's like old

hard-line VA staffers are putting one over on VA Sec. (s) ColonelDan"

August 26, 2009


Proposal to Ease Aid for G.I.'s With Stress Disorder


Under fire from veterans groups and Congress for its handling of disability

claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing new regulations that

it says will make it easier for veterans to seek compensation for

post-traumatic stress disorder.

The proposal is intended to lower the burden on noncombat veterans who claim

they developed PTSD in the service and to speed processing of those claims,

which represent a significant part of the 82,000 disability claims the

department receives each month.

Current rules require veterans who have received diagnoses of PTSD to

document that they experienced traumatic events during service that

triggered the disorder. For veterans who did not serve in combat units, such

proof can be difficult to find given the unevenness of military record


But veterans' advocates have argued that many noncombat troops, including

truck drivers and supply clerks, have experienced such events, which include

roadside bombs, firefights, mortar attacks or the deaths of friends. Despite

receiving diagnoses of PTSD, many of those troops struggle to receive

disability compensation.

The proposed rule would eliminate the requirement to document triggering

events, provided veterans with PTSD could show that they were in places and

performed duties where such events might have occurred. Their symptoms must

also be consistent with the trauma they claim to have experienced.

By some estimates, 20 percent of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

have PTSD.

In a news release on Monday, the secretary of veterans affairs, Eric K.

Shinseki, said, "The hidden wounds of war are being addressed vigorously and

comprehensively by this administration as we move V.A. forward in its

transformation to the 21st century."

Dennis M. Cullinan, national legislative director for Veterans of Foreign

Wars, called the proposed change "a big plus" for veterans. Mr. Cullinan

cited the example of a truck driver in Iraq who might have experienced

repeated roadside bomb attacks but whose military record would not have

shown combat duty.

Mr. Cullinan also said that changing the policy administratively was faster

than waiting for legislation. A bill in Congress that would make similar

changes, sponsored by Representative John Hall, Democrat of New York, faces

opposition because of the projected cost, nearly $5 billion.

But some veterans' advocates responded skeptically to the proposed

regulation, which now must undergo a 60-day review period.

"Whenever the V.A. touts a proposed compensation rule change that it says

will 'make it easier for a veteran to claim service connection,' red flags

go up all over the place," a veterans' advocate, Larry Scott, wrote on his

Web site, vawatchdog.org.

Critics said the proposed rule would still require veterans to prove a

connection between a traumatizing event and their PTSD, even when that

connection was not clear cut. Strict application of that requirement could

lead to many rejected claims, they say.

Katrina J. Eagle, a veterans' lawyer in California, said the proposed rule

would also require veterans to receive diagnoses from department-employed or

approved psychiatrists and psychologists. Currently, veterans can receive

diagnoses from their own psychiatrists.

"This is their way of being able to control the diagnosis," Ms. Eagle said.

"I don't see how this is going to make it easier."

But other veterans' advocates said the proposed requirement on using

department psychiatrists seemed like a reasonable means to reduce fraud and

standardize diagnoses.

Meaghan Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. Hall, said that he thought the proposed

rule change was "pretty significant" but that he would study it closer to

make sure it was "as inclusive" as his bill.

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:


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