How Common Is PTSD and MST?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur
after you have been through a trauma. A trauma is
a shocking and dangerous event that you see or that
happens to you. During this type of event, you think
that your life or others' lives are in danger.
Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every
10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%)
experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.
PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, if you were directly exposed to the trauma or injured, you are more likely to develop PTSD.
FILING YOUR PTSD/MST CLAIM
To file a disability claim with the Veterans Administration (VA),
you will need to submit a special application, VBA-21-0781a,
and VA Form 21-526EZ, Veterans Application for Compensation
and/or Pension, to the VA. You must also be seen by a psychiatrist
at a VA medical facility so that the psychiatrist can diagnose you
To receive VA compensation for PTSD there are two items of evidence that must exist. One without the other is worthless in establishing your claim to VA compensation for PTSD.
Stressor: In a recent regulatory revision, the VA will accept as a stressor the fact that a veteran was in "fear of military or terrorist activity." Likewise, any event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury could also be considered as a stressor. That fear or event must be consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran's service. Moreover, a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or those working under contract to the VA, must confirm that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD.
Diagnosis: A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rendered by a psychiatrist. Counseling reports prepared by Vet Centers may be considered in determining the degree of your impairment; however, there must be a diagnosis of PTSD made by a physician specialized in psychiatry.
WRITING YOUR STRESSOR STATEMENT
It is important that your claim is prepared as well as possible.
If improperly prepared or documented, your claim is likely to
fail. Depending on why it failed, your claim may damage your
ability to successfully appeal a bad decision or to win approval
in a subsequent claim. A claim that has been filed incorrectly is
as useless to you and your family as a claim that was never filed.
Writing a Stressor Statement:
1. Writing a stressor statement can itself be stressful. In many cases, you’re being asked to recall—and record—events that you’d rather forget. This is true not only for veterans who served in a combat zone but also for veterans who suffered Military Sexual Trauma.
2. Once you’ve described the stressful events, you’ll need to describe how they have affected you. Begin with a brief summary of your life before you entered the military. How well did you get along with members of your family? Did you have friends? A girlfriend or boyfriend? Did you go to school? Take part in school activities? Did you have a job? How well did you do it? Was religion important to you? If so, how? Did you play sports? Enjoy hobbies?
3. Next, describe the stressful events in chronological order. For each event, give the date and place it occurred, and the name of the unit you were attached to. Tell what happened in as much detail as possible, and tell how you felt about what happened. Were you angry? Fearful? Sad? Numb?
4. You’re not expected to have a perfect memory. If you can’t recall something, don’t hesitate to say so. But do include as much detail as you can. Are there specific sights and sounds you can’t forget? If so, write about them.
* NOTE: If you don’t remember precisely when something happened, do your best to give the VA an approximate time frame. They’ll need it if it becomes necessary to verify your story by researching military records. You may be able to peg the event to another occurrence in your life. Did it happen close in time to a birthday? An anniversary? A holiday? A death?
5. Most Important Tell the Truth! There’s no need to exaggerate or embellish. The facts are powerful enough. Let them speak for themselves.
Visit www.VADisabilityAdvocate.com or Call 702-209-5722
for your free consultation.