If you’re a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may have applied to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for disability benefits. However, if the VA denied your claim due to malingering, it’s important to understand what that means and how a doctor may have categorized it in your medical records.

What it Means to Malinger

types of malingering that lead to VA benefit denialIf your medical records cite that you’ve malingered or you’re believed to be a malingerer, it means the doctor believes you’re intentionally exaggerating, producing, or falsifying medical PTSD symptoms for some type of reward or benefit; or to avoid doing something you feel is unpleasant or undesirable.

Malingering isn't a psychiatric problem and doesn’t have specific symptoms, nor is it caused by physical ailments or impairment. Instead, a doctor will usually suspect that you’re malingering if:

  • You describe symptoms as far more intense and acute than what the doctor finds in your exam.
  • You may be deployed for combat duty.
  • You don’t cooperate with your doctor’s recommendations, resist an exam, or refuse to comply with treatment.
  • You're embroiled in some type of legal problem.
  • You're having problems at work.

Types of Malingering

Malingering is usually broken out into the following three categories:

  • Pure malingering. A patient feigns a disorder or illness that's nonexistent.
  • Partial malingering. A patient knowingly and purposely exaggerates real symptoms of some type of illness or condition.
  • False imputation. A patient attributes real symptoms to a cause that they know isn’t related to the symptoms. For example, a patient might claim that an ankle injury that occurred during a home improvement project was really caused by the car accident he was in a few days later.

It’s not always easy, but doctors can usually detect if you’re faking PTSD symptoms. Often, malingerers drop clues that give them away, including:

  • The patient contradicts statements about their illness and symptoms
  • The patient overacts or behaves in a bizarre or peculiar way intended to be convincing
  • The patient flaunts an illness and wants to talk at length about it

Additionally, there are tests to detect malingering such as the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS) and the Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test (M-FAST).

Our Experienced VA Disability Lawyers Help Veterans Nationwide Get The Disability Benefits They Deserve

The skilled VA Disability Lawyers at Cuddigan Law recognizes and respects the sacrifices veterans made to protect this country. They understand the challenges of combat and that veterans not only suffer from physical injuries, but also psychological traumas, including PTSD.

If you’re a veteran who developed PTSD and but was denied benefits because a doctor or the VA believes you’re malingering, call us. We'll review your medical records and discuss with you the best way to obtain the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your loved ones. Our VA disability lawyers have supported veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Contact us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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