Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) connected to their military service are eligible for VA disability benefits. Although PTSD is one of the most commonly claimed mental health conditions, the process of getting approved for benefits can be lengthy. These tips can help you increase your odds of a successful outcome.
Have a Qualified Medical Professional Write Your Nexus Letter
A nexus letter, also known as an independent medical opinion (IMO), establishes the service connection for your disability claim. While you are allowed to have a nurse practitioner prepare your letter, it’s best to seek out a more credentialed expert. A psychiatrist with extensive experience treating Veterans with PTSD will be better able to elaborate on the cause of your condition.
Gather Multiple Buddy Statements
Buddy statements from family, friends, and people you served with can help support different aspects of your claim. Formally known as a Statement in Support of Claim, a buddy statement can elaborate on the stressor that caused your PTSD, how you’ve changed since your diagnosis, or the different ways in which your diagnosis affects your daily routine. There is no limit to the number of buddy statements you can submit in support of your claim.
Be Honest and Provide Clear Details During Your C&P Exam
During your C&P exam, it’s crucial that you provide specific details regarding your symptoms. You want to clearly explain how your condition affects your life without making your PTSD sound more serious than it is. Vague answers to the examiner’s questions can lead to accusations of malingering. This means that the VA either believes you don’t have PTSD or that you’re exaggerating your symptoms to try to get a higher rating.
Submit Applicable Private Medical Evidence
If you’ve consulted healthcare providers outside of the VA medical system, these records can help support your claim for benefits by showing what PTSD treatments you’ve tried and how your PTSD has led to secondary service-connected disabilities such as migraines or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Private medical evidence should be submitted with your original application if possible but can be added to your file for up to one year or submitted with your Notice of Disagreement to begin the appeals process.
Get Help From an Experienced Attorney
Our experienced VA disability attorneys are committed to helping Veterans with PTSD access the benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.