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PTSD Exacerbation

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Wordsmyth

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A bit of a convoluted question:  If a veteran's PTSD was not initially caused by combat, but rather, for example, decades of mental and emotional abuse beginning in childhood, and that veteran also lived with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the stresses of military service made this PTSD much worse, would that veteran be able to claim his PTSD as secondarily Service Connected?

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Well, no.  The VA calls it "aggravation".  If you were diagnosed with a condition prior to service, but military service worsened the symptoms, then its aggravation.  Its not a secondary service connection.  You file for it the same as everything else.  

By the way, a Veteran need not know all the intricacies of Primary, secondary, Presumptive, aggravation, etc, to get service connected.  Leave that to the raters.  Sometimes you do yourself more harm than good.  Example:

You apply for abc condition secondary to xyz condition.  (unnecessary, just apply for abc condition, let VA raters do their job and figure out if its primary, presumptive, secondary, etc).  The rating specialist is a rookie and finds no nexus linking abc condition to xyz condition and denies it.  However, there was a perfeclty good nexus between abc condition and your military service (primary).  You just added a bunch more time to your claim.  

The etiology (cause) of your condition is a determination made BY A DOCTOR.  And, predicting what a doctor will decide the etiology of your condition is very difficult, especially when you mostly dont know which doc you will have at your c and p exam.  

In other words, my advice is DO NOT TRY TO IMPRESS VA on your knowledge of primary, secondary, presumptive, conditions, etc.  (That can backfire, some people have big ego's and dont like being told how to do their job).  

Instead, just apply for abc condition.  If you must, apply for "abc condition both primary and secondary to already SC conditions", since again, you dont know what your c and p examiner will opine on your condition, he may thi nk its related to service, or he may think its related to a medication for your already sc condtion.  

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You can find a source, for regulations on Aggravation (of a pre service disability), here:

nowva.ebenefits.va.gov/system/templates/selfservice/va_ssnew/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/554400000001018/content/554400000180483/M21-1-Part-V-Subpart-ii-Chapter-2-Section-C-In-Service-Aggravation-of-a-Pre-Service-Disability

If it was "just" aggravation, EVERYONE should get service connected for aggravation, because, getting service connected and dealing with VA is most certainly frustrating and aggravating.  

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Thank you for your response.  You gave me a lot to look into.  Just to be clear, I entered military service in 1985, was medically retired in 1988, was diagnosed with PTSD years later (maybe 2000), but wasn't diagnosed with ASD until approximately 2013.  In other words, I served not knowing I was doing so with PTSN, autism, and other "co-morbidities".  I don't know if that makes a difference in how it is reported or not.  

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Just an FYI, VA asks questions about childhood upbringing to hopefully pin it on preexisting condition prior to military enlistment.  If you do get approved, it may be at a lower percentage due to pre existing condition being aggravated.  This is not a guarantee but a scenario I've come across in my C&P exams. Lot's of childhood upbringing questions for a reason I assume. 

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5 hours ago, Wordsmyth said:

Thank you for your response.  You gave me a lot to look into.  Just to be clear, I entered military service in 1985, was medically retired in 1988, was diagnosed with PTSD years later (maybe 2000), but wasn't diagnosed with ASD until approximately 2013.  In other words, I served not knowing I was doing so with PTSN, autism, and other "co-morbidities".  I don't know if that makes a difference in how it is reported or not.  

IMO it does not matter.  I would put in for it and then see what comes back from the VA.  As the advice above, do not try to lead them too much as you don't want to covelude the issues. 

I would for sure come here and ask what to do next.

For me the VA gave me 2 or 3 of my conditions at 30% and denied the others.  I think they want you to feel like you did the good fight and got something and you will give up.  I came back here and got tons of advice and I am now at 100% P&T and my appeal is looking at SMC-S, so I am so glad I did not give up when the VA rep told me to be happy with what I got and not rock the boat.

I shake the hell out of it now!  

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Hears a couple of questions.

1. Did you complete your term of service?

Hears why. If you had a preexisting condition and you completed your term of service with out any problems then the VA cannot claim it was a preexisting condition. It is assumed that if you pass the entrance medical you are fit for service.

That's why part of the reg states in service injury or acervation of preexisting condition. Hera's the problem  you will have to prove that the preexisting condition was not active when you entered service depending on what you tell them about it.

I actually have a 2nd cousins son who has Asperger Syndrome. He went to a military school for Junior high and High School, and is now in the Air Force.

2. Is there any MH in your service treatment records?

 

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