If you're seeking VA disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to filing the application in some cases you may also need to file a “stressor statement”. A stressor statement is your written, detailed account of the stressful event or series of events that caused your PTSD. This could be combat, witnessing an attack, being the victim of a sexual assault or the fear of hostile military action or terrorist activity. The number of possible situations is unlimited but the common thread is that an extreme traumatic event—a stressor—occurred.
There are several different situations in which a PTSD stressor can occur and each requires a different level of proof for the existence of the stressor. If you were diagnosed with PTSD during service then no additional proof of a stressor is needed. Even if you were not diagnosed with PTSD during your service and your stressor occurred in combat, no additional proof of a stressor is necessary.
If you were not diagnosed in the service and your stressor did not occur during combat, but was related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity then no additional evidence of a stressor is needed…if a VA psychologist or psychiatrist says your stressor is sufficient to support a diagnosis of PTSD.
If your PTSD is not supported by the VA psychiatrist or psychologist, then stressor evidence is required. When a PTSD claim is based on an in-service personal assault, then the VA will require more evidence of the assault than just a statement about the assault.
Finally, medical evidence is required to establish the link between your current symptoms and the in-service stressor.
If you need to file a stressor statement to support your PTSD claim, the VA has specific forms for filing your statement.
After you have qualified for benefits, the VA will assign you a disability rating depending on how much your symptoms affect your ability to work and live. You should work with your doctor in order to communicate the severity of your PTSD symptoms to the VA. The higher your percentage of disability, the greater your compensation will be.
VA disability claims for PTSD can be difficult to navigate. We are here to help you. Also if you’ve applied and were denied benefits, call us at Cuddigan Law. We’ll schedule an appointment to discuss your eligibility for compensation.