[Reprinted here with permission from Veterans Law Blog]
VA Disability Rating for PTSD: Non-Combat Stressor
Do you have Non-Combat VA PTSD disability claim? Ever try to convince the VA that your non-combat stressor event occurred?
It’s a lot harder for non-combat Veterans – if you didn’t serve in combat, the VA isn’t going to take your word for it: you have to prove to the VA that the stressor event occurred. It’s really hard, isn’t it?
Today I want to talk about a new case out of the CAVC that requires the VA to go even FURTHER in its Duty to Assist the Veteran.
Veterans Must Prove Non-Combat Stressors in a VA PTSD Disability Claim.
As any of you who have tried to service connect a VA PTSD disability for a non-combat related event know, it is extremely difficult to corroborate that your stressor event occurred.
Maybe you witnessed a soldier cut in half when pinched between 2 tanks in a training drill.
Or saw your “battle buddy” plummet from the top of the rappel towers on an obstacle course, crushing his skull.
Or maybe you watched a little kid get rolled over by a tank on a training exercise in Korea.
These are non-combat events – real events that I have seen in real Veterans’ claims.
Under the current law of PTSD compensation claims, your word that something happened is not good enough for the VA to believe you.
Veterans with Non-combat stressor events have to corroborate the stressor event using “credible evidence”.
There are many ways to corroborate this event – from “buddy statements” to “newspaper articles” or medical treatment records, etc.
That’s not what this post is about. This post is about the JSRRC – and what it does in a PTSD Compensation claim.
This post is about the JSRRC – and what it does in a PTSD Compensation claim.
The JSRRC is the place that stores a TON of never before identified information about incidents occurring in the military.
JSRRC is the Joint Services Records Research Center Mission – that’s a real mouthful.
Basically, this is a DoD facility that does not store, but does have access to, information from tens of thousands of military units over several decades.
Problem is, you can’t get access to it. Only the VA Can.
This is what the JSRRC says:
“When the Regional Office determines information from military unit records is necessary to process a claim, the Regional Office will request this assistance from JSRRC.”
Think of the JSRRC as a secret book – only the JSRRC can look at it, only the JSRRC knows what is in it, and only the VA can ask the JSRRC to search the “secret book” for evidence that the event occurred.
The VA has long used this power as a way to deny Veterans claims for PTSD in non-combat scenario. And they play the game the same way in almost every single case.