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Why is the VA Department Difficult to Navigate? Three Facts

Military Health Care ConceptDid you know that psychiatrists estimate that up to 33% of soldiers will suffer from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan or Iraq? PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is one of the most common ailments for veterans, and the symptoms can potentially last for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for veterans to locate post traumatic stress disorder help. According to the Institute of Medicine, only a little more than 50% of soldiers diagnosed with PTSD end up receiving treatment for it. Are you, or is someone you know, trying to advocate for a veteran with PTSD? Here are three important facts you should keep in mind.

1. It Is Often Difficult for Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma to Receive Help

It’s no secret that the military has often stigmatized survivors of sexual abuse from coming forward. Though the situation has improved in recent years, significant setbacks still exist. According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 42% of female veterans, and 12.5% of men, reported experiencing military sexual trauma. Unfortunately, sexual trauma PTSD claims are more likely to be denied by the VA for disability benefits. About 57% are approved, compared to 73% of non-sexual trauma claims.

2. VA Disability Benefits

Veterans who are at least 10% disabled can receive a monthly, tax-free benefit from the VA office. Disability benefits are given for disabilities received as a result of employment in the U.S. military. Medical records are needed in order to establish the relationship between the disability and an event that occurred during military service. There are several exceptions of “presumed disability,” including former POWs and veterans who have been exposed to various chemicals, such as mustard gas.

3. When to Hire A Veteran Attorney

In most cases, you will want to call in veterans lawyers either because you anticipate a legal struggle (is the documentation of your claim potentially insufficient?), or more likely, because your claim has been denied. According to Gerald Manar, the deputy director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ claims assistant programs, the VA department is “hard to navigate alone.” He goes on to recommend that veterans not try and deal with the VA by themselves, because of the bureaucratic challenges involved.

Are you having trouble with the VA? Let us know in the comments.

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by Matthew Hill

January 7, 2014

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