Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD as it is commonly known, is a medically recognized anxiety disorder that can develop from seeing or experiencing an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury to which a person responds with intense fear, helplessness or horror, and is not uncommon among war Veterans. Symptoms of PTSD can include, but are not limited to, recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced involvement in work or outside interests, emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, anxiety and irritability.
Prior to the rule chance Veterans had to pinpoint the "stressor" that caused their stress disorder, and, needed to produce evidence to corroborate that the stressor occurred. Claims adjudicators working for the VA were then forced to to corroborate that the non-combat Veteran actually experienced a stressor related to hostile military activity. This exhaustive research took a great deal of time and added to the already slow claims process.
With the rule change Veterans are no longer required to produce evidence corroborating the stressor if a VA doctor confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a Veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor.
According to the guidelines set by the Veterans Administration the new rules will apply to claims:
- received by VA on or after July 13, 2010;
- to received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA regional office;
- to appealed to the Board of Veterans' Appeals on or after July 13, 2010;
- to appealed to the Board before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board; and
- pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision and remanded for re-adjudication
For an official list of Questions and Answers on the new regulations, please visit the link to the Veterans Administration website below:
Quatrini Rafferty will continue to analyze the new regulations and any other guidance from the VA as it becomes available.
- Quatrini Rafferty -