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Ptsd Message From Ebenefits Site


Vync

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Hi everyone,

I logged onto ebenefits this morning to check the status of my claims. When I logged out, a message appeared saying I had unread messages in my inbox. I checked the inbox and what I found is below. It more closely matches what is printed in the federal register.

Relaxing the Rules on PTSD Claims

News received Jul 26, 2010 04:40 PM VA has an important message for you if you served in a combat zone but weren't actually engaged in combat when the traumatic incident happened. VA has made it easier to prove a compensation claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For more information, please go to this site:

Related Link: http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/ptsd.asp

(follow the link to this:)

Questions and Answers on the New Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Regulations

Q. How has VA changed the rules for PTSD?

A. We changed our rules on the evidence you might need if you apply for disability compensation for PTSD.

For years, we’ve made decisions on PTSD applications based on several kinds of situations. The rules have changed for ONE of these situations—the one that’s perhaps been the hardest to prove.

These are the cases where a veteran’s stress came from a fear of hostile military or terrorist actions—but where the veteran wasn’t actually engaged in combat. You might simply have been “near the action,” driving truck or working on a base, for instance, when something very frightening occurred.

For these situations, we’ve made it much easier to “make your case.” We no longer have to come up with records proving that the stressful event occurred.

However, we might have to look for records if the stressful event you describe doesn’t seem to fit with

  • The places you served,
  • The kind of service you were involved in, and
  • The circumstances of your service.

    Q. I wonder if PTSD is what I have. Can you tell me how to recognize PTSD?

    A. PTSD is an emotional illness. Doctors typically call it an “anxiety disorder.” You might think of it as a kind of chronic psychological stress.

    PTSD can occur after you’ve been through a traumatic event. Generally, the traumatic event is something frightening that you see or that happens to you. You may think that your life or others' lives are in danger. Besides feeling afraid, you may think you have no control over what’s happening. If the event occurs in war and other people die, you may have “survivor guilt.”

    After the event, you might feel scared, confused, or angry. If these feelings don't go away or they get worse, then you could have PTSD. Symptoms can include

    • Recurring memories or dreams of the traumatic event
    • Reduced involvement in work or outside interests
    • Emotional numbness
    • Jumpiness
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety

      Q. Is it true that the new rules don’t apply to every kind of situation?

      A. Right. The rules have changed only for one category of case. For the following situations, the rules have not changed:

      • Cases where PTSD was already diagnosed in service
      • Cases where the veteran was actually engaged in combat
      • Cases where a veteran was a prisoner of war
      • Cases involving personal assault (including sexual assault) that were not related to enemy actions

      Q. How do the new rules work? What kind of proof DO I need?

      A. If the “stressor” you describe is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity rather than actual combat, we need four things:

      [*]We have to see that the events you describe are consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of your service.[*]You must be diagnosed with PTSD, and VA must agree with this diagnosis.[*]A psychiatrist or psychologist working for VA has to agree that the events you describe were serious enough to cause PTSD.[*]Your symptoms need to be related to the events you describe.

      Q. Which veterans are covered by these rules—Is it just Iraq and Afghanistan veterans?

      A. No, this rule applies to veterans no matter when they served.

      Q. When does the new regulation take effect?

      A. It became effective July 13, 2010. It applies to all PTSD claims, including appeals, that are received on or after July 13, 2010.

      It also applies to claims that were

      [*]Pending before VA on July 13, 2010[*]Pending before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) on July 13, 2010[*]Pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because they were overturned by BVA (in cases where the claim was filed before July 13, 2010).

      But in these last three situations, we must be reviewing the pending case based “on the merits.” That means that the decision must be about the “meat” of the case and not about a mere technicality.

      Q. Why is VA writing this new rule now?

      A. First, we needed to make the process easier and quicker for veterans. Second, medical science is always evolving, and we needed to catch up to recent developments.

      Q. How will VA handle all the new cases it gets?

      A. The Veterans Health Administration is budgeting for more examining physicians to handle the increased volume.

      Q. I have a claim (or an appeal) for PTSD pending right now. Is there something I should be doing about the new rule?

      A. You don’t have to do anything. We’ve already started using the new regulation.

      Q. I applied for PTSD years ago and was denied. Can I reapply now under the new rule?

      A. Yes. And you don’t have to fill out another long form. You just need to send us a letter saying you want to reopen your PTSD claim under the revised rule. A couple of sentences will do it. Make sure you add your social security number to the letter.

      But keep in mind that the revised rules apply only if your stressful event had to do with hostile or terrorist action and you were not actually engaged in combat. If your denial didn’t have to do with this kind of issue, the new rules may not affect you.

      Q. If I do re-open my application, will any payments be retroactive to the date of my first claim?

      A. Sorry, no. The earliest the effective date can be is July 13, 2010. And, in order to get this effective date, you need to apply before July 13, 2011.

      <b><br style="page-break-before: always;" clear="all"></b>

      Q. I believe I have PTSD, but I’ve never applied to VA. How do I start?

      A. You can apply at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp. Or you can download the form at http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-526-ARE.pdf. The form tells you everything you need to know.

      Q. My own doctor has already diagnosed me with PTSD. Do I have to report for a VA exam?

      A. Yes, a VA doctor will have to examine you. But you should submit all the information your doctor is willing to provide.

      We can make the request for you, if you prefer. In that case, you’ll need to download a release of information (VA form 21-4142), sign it, and return it to us.

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