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Are standards too strict for veteran PTSD-assault claims?

Filing for disability benefits is rarely considered an easy road. The process requires detailed proof of a disability, and failure to include any necessary documentation could result in a denial. In cases involving impairments such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar impairments it can be even more difficult to provide sufficient evidentiary proof.

In the years from 2008 to 2012, there were approximately 16,000 disability claims filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs based on PTSD that developed as a result of some level of sexual trauma. A group of advocates for sexual-trauma survivors recently published a report showing that these specific claims were less likely to be approved by the V.A. than other claims.

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit made it possible for the group of advocates to study the disability claims data. The data showed that during the years mentioned above, the PTSD claims arising out of sexual violence were approved at rates anywhere from 17 to 30 percentage points lower than other claims. The data also showed that women were affected by this issue more often than men.

Groups of advocates such as the one behind this study often publish this type of data analysis to prompt change, whether social or legislative. In this case, those that drafted the report suggested that the V.A. could do a few things to help this group of veterans. For instance, the department could make the evidentiary standard for these types of claims a little easier to meet -- as was done with combat-related claims.

Veterans that are suffering from PTSD or any other disability can benefit from experienced assistance when filling a claim for benefits in St. Louis.

Source: The New York Times, “For Assaulted Veterans, a Second Battle,” Nov. 17, 2013

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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