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Advice On Ptsd Claim



Just want to start out by saying that I am really glad this board is here and appreciate all the good info. and advice on here. I will try and make this as short as possible.

I served in the Army from 1991 until 1994. I had several fello soldiers that were killed in combat and a few killed during training, I only knew three of them very well. I personally did not serve in combat due to a foot injury from a parachute jump that I am currently 10% service connected. I recently filed for an increase, the injury has gotten much worse.

To give you a little history, as stated above I was injured approx. 1 year into my Army career. Before my injury I was hazed, belittled, and humiliated beyond words by two NCO's in my platoon, in todays army it would be considered torture, I am not exagerating. Needless to say this did not help me advance too far in the Army.

My unit deployed to combat in 1993, I was not able to deploy due to my ongoing issue with my foot injury, I was on profile for the remainder of my time in the Army.

When I got out of the Army I went to school off and on and worked partime jobs, never graduated. I then got a job at the US Postal Service. Big mistake, I could tell pretty quick that I was not fitting in too well there. I am sure some on this board may work there now or have in the past and know what I am talking about, if you have any type of backbone or don't put up with BS you are in for a rought time there. I was eventually fired in Feb. 2003 for getting into an argument with a fellow employee. My girlfiend at the time suggested I see I psychiatrist, I went for a while but did not really like the guy too much. He did diagnose me with PTSD and depression. In Nov. 2003 the Union ended up getting me my job back at the post office, I was then fired again about 10 days later due to a confrontation with another employee. I did not pursure getting re-enstated at this point.

Needless to say my relatinship with my girlfiend and family were strained.

I did apply for disability retirement from the post office but it was denied, during that process I was required to file for SSD benefits. Then about one year later I recieved a letter from SSD saying my claim was approved, I had actually forgotten I had filed it.

I was also recieving a VA pension at the time because I had no income, it was then taken away because you can not recieve both at the same time.

So anyways, I filed a claim for PTSD and depression sometime in 2004, I do not have all the paperwork here with me. In July 2005 the VA denied the claim for both. I never pursued it any further. Then my case was remanded in Dec. 2009. I am currently not recieving SSD benefits due to my income.

I am currently working as a contractor now in Aghanistan and happend to be home in Dec. 2010 and the VA called and said I was scheduled for a Comp. and Pension hearing the following week. I did not even know what it was or what it was about. I just figured it was for a routine appointment. That morning I was a little nervous about going for some reason and wished I had looked into it more but it was too late now. For some reason that morning my dad offered to drive me there, was out of character but I said sure. I was glad he did, I was completly exhausted when I got out of there after 2 hours of questioning.

Anyways, when we got to Gainesville and the doctor came out and took me into her office, she told me she was a Forensic Psychiatrist, now I was really nervous. She was very friendly though. After a couple of minutes of chit chat she started asking me questions, it did not take me long to figure out that these were wll scripted questions and she was just not shooting from the hip. Needless to say I was very uncomfortable and about one hour and 50 minutes and we were done. As I was leaving she said to call anytime I needed anything and that she thought I would be pleased with her opinion.

In May 2011 I recieved a letter saying that my claim was denied, I then filed an appeal.

I then recieved a letter from BVA dated 11 Agust, 2011 saying that my appeal was remanded again and I need to have another comp. and pension interview. Apparently the doctor wrote in her report that I did meet the criteria for PTSD from learning of the deaths of my fellow soldiers, and she said also from witnessing the accidental shooting of another soldier, but I did not witness this happen. The RO then sent a letter back to the doctor saying that I did not witness this shooting. The doctor then replied to the BVA that "it would be with resort to mere speculation to establish a link between PTSD and the alleged stressor"

The board then replied they cannot give weight to a statement that the examoner is unable to provide an opinion without resorting to mere speculation when the examiner does not state why speculation would be necessary.

The BVA goes on to state that the prior remand referenced a July 2004 private opinion from another doctor that he had diagnosed PTSD, depression, and panic attacks and stated that my depression and anxiety began subsequent to my claimed PTSD stressors.

The Ro says in this letter that I should be scheduled for another exan to see if the criteria for PTSD are met. It says the examiner should have a copy of this remand, claim file. It also states that studies or tests, to include psychological tests and evaluations, such as the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory, and the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD should be accomplished.

It also states that the three fellow soldiers I mentioned were verified to have been killed.

The VA called me home last week and had scheduled an appointment for Sept. 12. I called them and told them I would not be in the country, the guy on the phone was really pleaseant and said it would not have a negative effect on my claim and to call him about 30 days before I come home and they will schedule another Comp. and Pension hearing for me.

My questions are:

1. Should I hire an attorney to help me with this claim? I have done all of it myelf to date, I now know this was not the best way to proceed, but too late now.

2. When I go to the Comp. and Pension interview will I have to take the personality tests listed above?

3. If the claim is approved will the VA go back to when the inital claim was filed in 2004?

4. Does anyone out there in the Gainesville, FL area know or recommend someone to help me with this claim. I did meet with a Veterans service officer back in December but he did not seem too interested in helping me.

Thanks for reading this, I look forward to reading your comments and advice.

Best regards,


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2 answers to this question

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"learning of the deaths of my fellow soldiers,"

That is not considered a stressor for VA purposes.

Where you present when any one of them died?

Did they die due to any actions you feel you had had taken ? (what I mean is friend of mine commanded his men during a firefight in Vietnam and many of them died or got wounded.He blamed himself for the actions he took as causing their deaths and injuries as it was his worse day in command. Of course he was doing his job and probably nothing would have changed the outcome.Vietnam vets often saw death every day but this vet had PTSD due to the overwhelming guilt he felt and constant flashbacks he had over this event .

If you can prove that you were present when these soldiers died or helped retrieve their bodies or attempted to administer medical care ( with a buddy statement or two) then that would be considered a stressor.

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First off, welcome and Airborne, all the way!!! You don't mention what your parachute injury is or what caused it. That could be the cause of your PTSD. I don't have much time to offer you, right now. You will probably have to take the exams. They are basically used to weed out phonies. They will probably go back to the original date and you should pursue that date. I never worked for the PO but I understand and many have and they do, also. Again, welcome!


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