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The United States Coast Guard: A Fascinating 225-Year-Old

For the most part I write this blog to educate Veterans, spouses and the public about the VA disability process. I’m approaching five years in this career and I’ve been writing this blog for nearly four

Photo Credit: US Coast Guard Twitter Account.

Photo Credit: US Coast Guard Twitter Account.

of those five years. It’s by far one of the most rewarding parts of what I do. I’m aware that my blog is quite successful and a lot of people read it every month. With that in mind, I like to open up from time to time and tell you a little about myself. After all, if you trust me to get facts about the VA, you should likely know a little about me. Today I want to spend a little time talking about my favorite branch of the military, the United States Coast Guard.

Before I get too deep into this blog, I want to say that all the branches of the military have some pretty cool aspects. Any person willing to put on any military uniform deserves our respect and admiration. I actually have friends who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines. However, I don’t know anyone personally who served in the Coast Guard. As today is the 225th birthday of the Coast Guard, I’d like to explain why I am so fascinated by what some call “The Coasties.”

First of all, Coast Guardsmen are like unicorns for me in that I so rarely get to interact with them. Over the past four and a half years I’ve talked to thousands of Veterans. Most of these Veterans served in the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy. I’ve talked to fewer than ten Coast Guard Veterans during my time with the firm. However, that number has increased in recent months. Some might say I have engineered our SEO to appeal to Coast Guard Vets, but that can’t be proven. Honestly, a lot of Coat Guard Veterans are aware of their eligibility for VA Disability Compensation, and that needs to be addressed. Also, many civilians forget that the Coast Guard is a military branch. That is really unfortunate. Granted, the Coast Guard is not a part of the Depart of Defense like the other branches, but instead it’s a part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Photo Credit United States Coast Guard Twitter Profile

Photo Credit United States Coast Guard Twitter Profile

Many people also don’t realize that the Coast Guard participates in foreign wars and conflicts too. While their numbers are much smaller than the other branches, the Coast Guard has participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Dessert Storm/Shield, Vietnam, Korea, and both World Wars.

I actually learned a lot recently while talking to a Coast Guard Veteran about the role of the Coast Guard. I had no idea that in addition to patrolling our oceans, they also patrol our rivers and ports. I live along the Ohio River, and they patrol this river on a regular basis. We have a lot of industry along the river so they do their part to keep it safe.

In a superficial way, I even like the way their aircraft, boats, and cutters look. Most of them are white with a large orange stipe and a smaller blue stripe. They really stand out and look amazing.

So I am nearly at the end of my blog, and I haven’t actually told you what it is about the Coast Guard that I find fascinating. Really it isn’t one thing in particular. It’s the fact that they are often forgotten as a military branch, the fact that they are doing more than we know to protect our coastline, ports and rivers, and even that they deserve better than to have Ashton Kutcher represent them in the cinema. (Will anyone get that reference?) Honestly the interactions I have has with Coast Guard Veterans has been great. I always talk their ear off, and they are happy to answer all of my questions regarding their time in service. I hope to learn a lot more about the Coast Guard in my remaining time with the firm. And, if any Coast Guard Veterans want to learn more about VA Disability, give me a call today for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form and we’ll call you at a more convenient time.

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6 Examples of Poor Non-Combat PTSD Stressors

I am actually still surprised sometimes about how many people read this blog each month. Thousands of people view it, click on links, and a few even call the office based on my blog posts. One migraines-vet-disabilityparticular post I wrote recently has gained a lot of traffic and generated a lot of calls. The subject for that blog was examples of non-combat PTSD. I was driven to write that post after speaking to several male Veterans who were sexually assaulted in service and were not aware that they could file for benefits. Further, after speaking with friends of mine who served in different branches of the military, I learned about other things that can occur while not deployed that can be traumatic. That post is easily the most successful writing I’ve completed this year. However, after watching a video posted to YouTube, I thought I should take a moment to clarify a few things about non-combat PTSD.

In my former post I gave four examples of non-combat stressors that I have seen a lot with new clients. Those included: military sexual trauma, physical assault, accidents, and the death of a fellow serviceman.  All of these are examples we see on a regular basis and that can be quite traumatic. With that in mind, I also wanted to shed light on what may not be a good stressor for non-combat PTSD.

When it comes to non-combat PTSD a Veteran must prove their stressor. For those of you who may not be aware, a stressor is defined as: an event, experience, etc., which causes stress. In other words, a stressor is something that you experienced or witnessed that was traumatic and is now disrupting your life. Veterans who served in combat no longer have to prove their stressor. You just have to have the proper information on your DD-214 that shows where you were in combat. (And a diagnosis of PTSD.) The four examples I provided before were all examples that I gathered from actual Vets I’ve talked to over the past several years. Some were from my professional life, and others were from friends and other individuals I met outside of the office. I chose those examples because they are good stressors. However, with good there is always bad too. So, I am going to show some examples of bad non-combat stressors for PTSD.

Before we get too far along, I want to mention that in order for PTSD to get service connected, it has to be diagnosed and you should seek treatment from a medical professional. This blog is just for informational purposes to help illustrate the VA process as a whole and to provide a better understanding of how things work.

  1. Being homesick. Something I have heard a few times in the past few months is a stressor for being away from home. Trust me, culture shock can be intense. I recently went to Dallas for a social media conference. I could not find peperoni rolls or Coke Zero. It was very difficult. However, when it comes to VA Disability, you probably won’t get service connected for PTSD for being homesick. You likely won’t get a diagnosis for PTSD either. This is an example of a weak stressor.
  2. Mean Drill Instructors. I’ve never served in the military. However, when I was 11 I watched a film called “Full Metal Jacket.” I realized then that if I were to join the military, Drill Instructors in boot camp would not be very pleasant. It’s a part of the culture. It’s one of the ways in which they teach discipline etc. It’s not like dealing with Kate from Human Resources. I know I am making light of this, but there is a big difference between getting yelled at for not having your bunk made properly and getting physically assaulted in the military. Keep that in mind while reading this blog. Having a drill instructor yell at you is one thing, getting beat up by several people is completely different. That is why we ask so many questions when we screen our clients.
  3. Secondhand information. If REO Speedwagon’s “Take it on the Run” taught us anything, it’s that second or third hand information is not very credible. While it can be upsetting to hear that something bad occurred, unless you experienced a traumatic event first hand, you’re not likely to get service connected for non-combat PTSD.
  4. Guilt. There is a bond that individuals who serve in military have in which many can’t explain. It’s more than just loyalty or brotherhood. I personally find myself to be envious of relationships. With that in mind, I understand how one would feel guilty if you had to stay home while your brothers and sisters were deployed. We encounter this on a regular basis. Simply, guilt associated with not being deployed is not a strong stressor for non-combat PTSD. I have also encountered individuals experiencing anger because they wanted to be deployed, but they weren’t able to. Once again, this is not a strong stressor.
  5. Alex bwFear of being deployed/Fear of combat. Something I have encountered often with Veterans who served in the late 80’s and early 90’s are claims for PTSD that are a result of anxiety relating to being deployed. In these cases, these individuals were never actually deployed. That is not a good stressor for PTSD.
  6. Anything that can’t be verified. Overall, any non-combat PTSD stressor has to be verified. Verification takes place by way of reports in your admin records, physical treatment, buddy statements/statements in support of claim, and so on. If there are no records of this, then it will be difficult to prove an incident occurred. For instance, let’s say you claim a physical assault occurred. If the incident was not reported, if you did not seek medical treatment after, or if you don’t have statements in support of your claim from witnesses, you’re not likely to get service connected for PTSD. However, that is not always the case. When it comes to cases involving Military Sexual Trauma things are a little different on how we approach these claims. We realize that many individuals who have been sexually assaulted aren’t able to report it, and don’t have statements or medical records. In those instances we look through your records to find other evidence that may verify an assault occurred.

We aren’t the type of law firm that will take every case and hope for the best. We are very thorough. We don’t think it’s fair to Veterans if we drag a case out for a long period of time if we know we can’t get them a favorable decision. We use a lot of discretion when screening individuals claiming non-combat PTSD. However, we also won’t simply dismiss someone’s claim if they didn’t serve in combat.  Some people claim that PTSD is ubiquitous now. While it is very mainstream, there is still a lot of confusion about this disability and a lot of Veterans are suffering because they don’t know where to turn or how to get help.

If you would like to know more about non-combat PTSD, or if you would like to tell me about your case, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also fill out this form if you’d rather someone call you at a more convenient time.

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