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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Berta

Defining A Stressor

Question

bumping this up for local vet to read:

it was a post I made here in 2009:

Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:56 AM

Definition of a Stressor:

"The VA defines a stressor based on the DMS –IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) thus:

“the person experienced,witnessed,or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threathened death or serious injury,or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and the person’s response involved intense fear,helplessness, or horror.”

A stressor also involves having persistent traumatic re- occurences of the event- such as flashbacks, external reminders of the stressor, distressing dreams of the stressor etc.

Many avoidance efforts as to avoidance of thoughts, people, places that remind of the stressor , and often a feeling of detachment.

The full gamut of PTSD symptoms is found within the DSM IV Manual and VA uses this manual as a guideline to diagnose PTSD.

When I worked with the PTSD group at a Vet Center, the vets always would say ‘before,during, and after’-to define how tremendously they changed due to the Vietnam War.(as well as the whole country-these vets came back to a much different America then they left.)

The changes in their behavior and reactions, sleep patterns and interactions with family and friends were symptomatic of PTSD.

Also the VA considers some events as part of the nature of warfare and not stressors.I have seen statements like that in BVA decisions.

If a combat vet say ‘I saw dead people during the war ’, this does not raise to stressor level as it is part of the nature of warfare.

If the vet however says ‘my buddy blew up in a land mine explosion’, that is a stressor and the VA can verify , with the Unit reports and deceased veteran’s name, that the veteran has a confirmed stressor.

“We took incoming’ – a usual nature of warfare-not a stressor

“Our unit lost 3 men during incoming at Danang in 1966 and one man was Sgt ---- who I knew ----.and I had to help them put these men into body bags. A stressor which can be confirmed.

‘Hanoi Hannah said we would be overcome by the weekend.’ Not a stressor.She lied all the time.

The enemy overtook our camp by the weekend and I had my first kill. A stressor- which unit reports could prove.

‘There was a horrific accident on the runway and they say 20 men were lost ‘. not a stressor

“I participated in recovery ops after there had been a terrible plane accident at the airport in Danang.20 men had died and no one survived.” A stressor that could be proven by the veteran’s MOS and unit reports.

Sometimes a veteran will not give the VA enough details as to the stressor and how it affected them.

This is just a pretty generic description of stressors but the VA holds to the DSM as to how they describe them.

Although the most difficult thing a PTSD can do is to recall in detail stressful events-whether stateside or in combat- as there are MANY reasons a veteran can have stressors and PTSD that have nothing to do with combat-

it is often the details that VA needs in order to confirm what the veteran described was consistent with the circumstances .

An example of what I mean is Swann V. Brown. The veteran was working at a USAF refueling air base in Vietnam and the air base was attacked by mortars.

He claimed this as a combat stressor.

The CAVC found that this did not constitute " engaging in combat" as the veteran could not rpove he was close to the mortars attacks and there had been no casualties.

Buddy statements have to be detailed too.One buddy statement I read that a vet I know got told the VA the exact detailed circumstances of the stressor, and how the buddy could verify that the claimant veteran was at this same stressor with him and the buddy even gave VA his C file number and told the VA they could check his C file if needed because he received PTSD comp for this same stressor event. The vet I knew had 6 buddys to contact- mainly to tell them they had received awards from the Vietnamese that they didnt know they got (long story -my daughter translated an Official Vietnamese document and they all got awards, one got the DFC) and ironically one buddy was able to confirm this stressor for one of them (actually the Vietnamese document citations would sure have awarded PTSD too to them all.)

Of 6 buddys =one had died and I think maybe they couldnt find one of them- it took this vet many months but he did reach 4 or 5 of them. This can be done.Buddys can be found.Simply googling their name as well as checking reunion rosters and going to unit web sites has made finding a buddy much easier than it used to be prior to the internet.

A Wall tracing too can be used to verify you lost a buddy in Vietnam. You have to search the Wall via buddy's hometown, unit , approx date of death and name.

Even at the moving Wall -with this information-they can find the exact panel where the Buddy's name is and you can provide a tracing of it as evidence for VA claims."

Also please refer to the new PTSD criteria posted here for additional info as to how VA defines stressors.

If the stressor does not meet the new criteria as to "hostile" activity etc,then with enough details, the JSRRC will attempt to verify the stressor event.

I have seen cases whereby JSRRC was unable to verify the alleged stressor (so said the VA) and in those cases (we had one here a year ago- I told the vet to write to JSRRC himself and he did and they verified his stressor.

I don't think the VA even asked them to.

Many Vietnam vets never got their proper awards on their DD214s. Often a combat related award was missing and the CAR, CIB, or the PH denotes battle and stressors.

If one files a DD 149 (available here under search)and sends to proper address on the back of the form just put "not applicable" under the Injustice part and ask for correction of the DD 214 if that is needed.

---------------

Also One of our faithful listerners me reminded me to tell you that ALL General Court Martial Records ,if needed to prove PTSD due a personal assault, can be requested

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Yes Berta Thank you.

Mind freshening should never get old.

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