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Date Posted: Fri, August 19 2005, 10:06:59
Author: Jeff Northridge
Author Host/IP: dialup-4.246.90.254.Dial1.SanJose1.Level3.net / 4.246.90.254
Subject: Oh yeah, Here's Some Other Stuff
In reply to: Jeff Northridge 's message, "Re: How to obtain info" on Thu, August 18 2005, 22:38:49

Howdy Greg;

There is tendency for PTSD sufferers to deny that there is a problem which is usually first noticed by close family members and a reluctance to apply to the VA for help or compensation because "there are a lot of other guys who are worse than I am." Forget it--that's a guilt trip that, unfortunately, is a symptom of PTSD. The Vietnam Vets who are still living out in woods of southern Oregon are too far gone and they aren't going to come into town and apply for anything.

The VA will be looking for three things and they won't take your word for any of it. First, you need to establish that you do have PTSD by a certified medical professional (an MD or PhD in psychology or psychiatry will do). The VA will provide you with some testing and a one-hour interview with a shrink and a social worker, but your best bet is to hire a shrink at your own expense and have yourself evaluated independently from the VA. This will determine whether or not you have PTSD and if so, to what degree which is important because the VA has disability ratings which range from 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, to 100%. The charactistic symptoms of PTSD are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) a copy of which should be in your local library.

Second, the VA will look at proof of your having been exposed to a "stressor event" or events during your Vietnam service. A combat award like a Purple Heart will help to clinch this requirement, but letters from buddies who were also there at the time can help.

And third, the VA will look for a connection (or nexus) between the stressor event and your current symptoms of PTSD. This is necessary to establish "service connection" because it is possible that your PTSD may be due to some other traumatic event in your life like a car crash or some natural disaster.

The VA operates under laws which are contained in the United States Code, Title 18 and in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18. Both of these are published online, but they are not fun to read. The later contains the definitions for degree of severity and disability for service-connected mental disorders.

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