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Can a Veteran Service Connect for PTSD and Depression?

By Jon Corra · May 11, 2012
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A gentleman already service connected for PTSD came into the office wanting to file a new claim for depression.   He had been to Mental Health and his doctor wanted him to try a new medication for the depression.  I knew he would not be able to file a new claim for depression, so I talked to him first about how the VA defined PTSD to give him a better understanding of why we could not file the claim. 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that occurs after someone has been involved in a traumatic event such war, disaster, or assault.  Some Veterans who have PTSD have already been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Anxiety.  They may also suffer symptoms of nightmares, anger, or avoidance.  In essence, the VA lumps all these together under PTSD.  It may seem better to get rated for each one individually.  The law provides that a Veteran may only receive compensation for one psychiatric disability.  All symptoms of the disability are included in the evaluation  assigned for the disability. 

The office of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law is available to answer your questions.  Call us today at 1-877-526-3457, or tell us about your claim now: click here.

 

 

Why is my VA Claim Taking So Long?

By Jon Corra · April 23, 2012
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So, you just filled out your 21-526, and are probably wondering how long your VA Disability claim will take. Unfortunately for most Veterans, the answer isn’t pleasant. At the current time, most VA Claims take anywhere from two to four years for a final decision to be made.

There is a pretty good chance that the news mentioned above has you a little upset, and you are probably are wanting to know why claims take so long. There are several factors that go into the long wait for claims to be approved.

First and foremost, the number of new claims being filed is contributing to the backlog. With many Veterans returning home from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are now more new claims being filed through the VA than ever before. This adds to the number of previous claims already pending through the VA. Take the state of North Carolina for instance. Their one Regional Office has more than 20,000 claims pending right now.

While on the subject of Regional Offices, it is important to note that your Regional Office and location as a whole have a lot to do with your timeline. A Regional Office located in a major metropolitan area, like Chicago or New York City, will likely be more backed up then those located in more rural areas.

Another factor contributing to length of a claim is the appeals process. A full explanation of the appeals process can be found here.

At Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, we understand how frustrating this wait can be. Fighting your claim alone can be very difficult. Call us today to find out about the services we offer: 1-877-526-3457, or tell us about your claim now.

How Does the VA Determine a 100% Rating for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 15, 2012
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I was sitting here one day just thinking to myself how difficult it is to get service connected at 100% for PTSD. When filing a claim through the VA, your main goal is to try to get the highest rating possible. You must meet the requirements in order to be eligible for a 100% rating through the Veterans Administration.

AlexAccording to the 38 C.F.R. § 4.130, DC 9411, here are the requirements for getting service connected at 100% for PTSD: the Veteran has total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as gross impairment in thought process or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.

Now, let me put this into terms that are easier to understand.  For service connection at 100%, a Veteran’s behavior must be considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations. He or she has had some danger of hurting self or others, inability to maintain minimal personal hygiene, or serious suicidal act(s) with clear expectation of death, as well as several other factors come into play. Every case is different and every person is different, so it all depends on the Veteran.

 

Also, the VA looks at the GAF or Global Assessment of Function score. This score also impacts what percentage the Veteran is going to receive. Typically, the Veteran must have below a score of 30 to qualify for a 100% PTSD service connected disability.

If you are a Veteran who is suffering from PTSD and would like to seek help with your VA Disability Claims, we are here to help you. We have a highly trained professional team to help you with filing your disability claims. If you are looking for legal representation, please contact our office at 1-877-526-3457 and someone will be more than happy to assist you with all of your needs. Tell us about your case.

How Does the VA Determine a 70% Rating for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 14, 2012
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Just like physical conditions, the VA evaluates mental conditions and assigns ratings due to their severity. In terms of service-connecting PTSD, a Veteran can receive a rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% and 100%. Let’s discuss the rating of 70% to better understand the ratings.

SteveA Veteran who is rated at 70% suffers from all of the symptoms assigned at 50%, but to a higher degree. Stressful circumstances prove especially difficult for the Veteran and impair areas such as work, school and family. Failure to maintain relationships often manifests in the Veteran’s social life and may be exemplified in marital problems, limited social life and difficulty maintaining employment, among others.

Furthermore, a Veteran at 70% may possess what VA law qualifies as “obsessional rituals” that interfere with daily life, as well as a lack in personal hygiene. The Veteran’s speech commonly becomes illogical, irrelevant or obscure.  The Veteran is prone to irritability, violence, depression, near-continuous panic and thoughts of suicide or depression affecting ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively. The Veteran struggles socially.

If you or someone you know feels like they qualify for VA benefits for PTSD, please feel free to contact our office. Our staff will gladly help you through the claims process and make sure you get the benefits you deserve. Call us toll free at 1-877-526-3457. Or Tell us about your case.

How does the VA Determine a 50% Rating for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 13, 2012
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Frequently, I am asked by Veterans what criteria they need to meet in order to receive a higher number on their PTSD rating and the GAF score that is needed and corresponds with the rating percentage. The VA service connects Veterans at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. Each percentage has its own criteria for symptoms.

DanielFor instance, I would use 50% as an example. These symptoms usually consist of a Veteran suffering from PTSD at a 50% rating: occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g. retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; and difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships. Also, Veterans who have a rating of 50% normally fall in the 60 – 51 range of the GAF scale.

(Remember, every case is different, and these are just general guidelines.)

If you are a veteran , think you have PTSD, and need help getting service connection, or if you are already connected and want help with an increase, please give our office a call for a free consultation: 1-877-838-3726. Or Tell us about your case.

How Does the VA Determine a 30% Rating for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 10, 2012
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So you have been diagnosed with PTSD and were granted service connection by the VA. Now, you’re probably wondering how the VA decides what rating you should be assigned and if it is accurate. In this blog, I would like to explain to you what is means to be granted at a 30% rating for service connected PTSD. It is important to understand the criteria and to know that you must meet most of the requirements in order for it to be granted.

The most common symptom that the VA looks for when determining a PTSD rating is how the condition has affected your work and personal life. For a 30% grant, you would have to show that your work efficiency has declined and that your personal relationships have decreased.  An example of this could be that you are beginning to occasionally miss work due to lack of motivation. Maybe you’ve also noticed that you are beginning to distance yourself from others, such as your friends and/or significant other. The VA will also look to see how often you feel depressed, have anxiety, or have panic attacks. Are you having panic attacks on a weekly basis, or more often? If so, you could be at a 30% rating for PTSD. You will also find that most of those who are depressed or anxious also suffer from sleep deprivation and mild memory loss. This means you are unable to sleep well at night, possibly due to nightmares, or are forgetting names of people or even recent events.

These are all symptoms of PTSD, and it is important to understand the criteria one must meet in order to be service connected at specific ratings. If you are battling PTSD, please remember to always seek treatment and if you need help with your claim, please contact the Jan Dils Attorneys at Law office at 1-877-526-3457, Or Tell us about your case.

What is MST in a VA Disability Claim?

By Jon Corra · February 10, 2012
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Military sexual trauma (MST) is sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while a Veteran was in the military. This can happen to women and men.

MST includes any sexual activity where someone is involved against their will. This can include sexual activities with threats of negative actions for refusing or with implied advancement or better treatment for sexual favors. This also may include sexual activities when unable to consent, such as when intoxicated. This also may include being forced into sexual activities, unwanted sexual touching, threatening or offensive remarks, or unwelcome sexual advances.

Even if the event was not reported, it may be granted service connection. Information that will help a case is a statement from someone you may have told about or wrote to about what happened. This could be a friend, relative, pastor, etc. Also, your service treatments records will be reviewed to see if there was a change in number or type of complaints of conditions for which you sought treatment. Your personnel record also will be reviewed to see if there is a change in your performance, assignments, and/or transfers.

MST can affect you both physically and mentally when the event happens or many years later. You can recover. The VA provides free, confidential counseling and treatment for conditions related to MST. You do not need to be service connected and may be able to receive this benefit even if you are not eligible for other VA care.

MST is not always easy to talk about. We have a caring and compassionate staff willing to help you through the VA claims process. If you have questions about this, give us a call. Our number is 1-877-838-3726. Or Tell us about your case.

How Does the VA Determine a 10% Rating for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 8, 2012
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I spoke to a client the other day who was asking about PTSD. He is currently 0% and wants an increase. I let him know there are certain criteria you have to meet in order to be granted at a higher percentage. As with any increase we file, there has to be enough evidence to warrant an increase.

AlexPTSD is a disability that the VA can rate between0-100 percent, depending upon your symptoms. For a Veteran who is connected at 10% for PTSD through the VA, he/she will likely have the following symptoms: Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication.

This particular client also had a GAF score was between 81-90. A GAF score in this range is likely to indicate the following: Absent or minimal symptoms ( e.g., mild anxiety before an exam ), good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday problems or concerns (e.g., an occasional argument with family members )

This particular client met these criteria, and, after reviewing his records, we would likely file for an increase. Evidence is one of the most important things we need when filing for an increase on an existing claim. Evidence must be presented to warrant an increase. The Veteran usually states that his condition has worsened and the VA schedules an exam. Other evidence also may be considered.  Our reviewers are specially trained to recognize this evidence.

We understand how confusing this can be for anyone to go through alone. So many Veterans turn toJan Dils Attorneys at Law because we have the knowledge and the ability to navigate through the VA Disability Claims process. Our friendly staff is always willing to answer questions you may have about eligibility, so feel free to give us a call: 1-877-526-3457. Or Tell us about your case.

Can the VA Rate me at 0% for PTSD?

By Jon Corra · February 7, 2012
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Recently, I had a client who received a decision on his PTSD claim that confused him. The part that he did not understand was that the VA rated him at 0% for PTSD. He did not understand how that was possible. I assured him that there was no mistake, and that the VA can rate a Veteran at 0%.

I reminded the Veteran that PTSD is a condition that the VA can rate anywhere from 0-100%. In his case, they did not view the evidence provided as enough to rate him higher than 0%. This was still confusing, so I explained in detail how the VA is likely to decide a 0% rating.

The following are symptoms typical of a Veteran suffering from PTSD at 0%: A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough to either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication. Further, I explained to the Veteran that his GAF or Global Assessment of Function score played a part in his rating, too. This particular Veteran had a score that was between 91 and 100. The following are symptoms of a typical veteran who has a GAF score in this range: Superior functioning in a wide range of activities, life’s problems never seem to get out of hand, is sought out by others because of his or her many positive qualities.

(Remember every case is different, and these are just basic guidelines for PTSD)

This particular Veteran had a good rating for PTSD. However, if he had a lower GAF score, symptoms that warranted a higher rating, and enough evidence to show this, this is likely something that should be appealed. This is just one of the many services our law firm provides. If you are a Veteran who is suffering from PTSD, or if you have been rated at a percent you believe to be too low, don’t hesitate to give our office a call for a free consultation: 1-877-526-3457.Or Tell us about your case.  Our law firm is dedicated to helping Veterans, and we have the knowledge, people, and resources to get you the help you deserve.

Can I Service Connect for Alcoholism Through the VA?

By Jon Corra · January 9, 2012
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Are you able to get service connected for Alcoholism? This may be a common thought or question that a veteran may be thinking and want an answer.  When a veteran’s alcoholism and/or drug abuse disability is secondary to or is even aggravated by a service connected disorder, the veteran may be entitled to disability compensation.   An example would be, if a veteran is service connected for PTSD or Depression. If a veteran is service connected to PTSD and/or Depression and have possibly became addicted to alcohol or drugs, they may be eligible for compensation.

A veteran may not get service connected for alcoholism and/or drug abuse if he or she used it in a result to their own willful misconduct. This means if a veteran misuses alcohol and/or drug abuse, he or she may receive a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge. Therefore, you will not be eligible for any types of disability compensation.

Sometimes filing new claims, appeals, increases, or even filing an application can get very confusing at times. If you are possibly looking for legal representation for your VA Disability Benefits, you have come to the right place. We have several experienced people who have the knowledge, and ability to help you with your VA Disability Claims. Feel free to give us a call at anytime at 1-877-526-3457 we would be more than happy to assist you. Or, tell us about your case now.