The Department of Veterans Affairs on July 12 published a final regulation that will make the claims process and access to care easier for veterans seeking compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The rule reduces the evidence needed if the PTSD stressor claimed by a veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity and is consistent with the places, types and circumstances of the veteran's service.
Under the new rule, the VA will not require corroboration of a PTSD stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist 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.
This new rule applies to veterans of all war eras. The new rule will apply to all claims received on or after July 12, all claims not yet decided by a VA regional office, all Board of Veterans Appeals claims filed on or after July 12 and all claims appealed to the BVA not yet decided.
What does this mean for veterans?
If a veteran has a pending PTSD claim with the VA or BVA, the claim now will be rated under this final rule that simplifies the information required for these claims. Direct combat action no longer is required if the claim is consistent with the places, types and circumstances of the veteran's service.
Additionally, veterans who have a PTSD diagnosis and have had a PTSD claim denied because they could not prove direct combat action now can apply or reapply for PTSD compensation through the VA. There is no limit to the number of times you can reopen your claim for disability benefits with the VA. Under the new rule, a previously denied claim now may hold the required merit to be approved.
This is a time-sensitive matter, and veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD should not delay in applying or reapplying for PTSD compensation.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or email@example.com.