PTSD Stressors

VA Disability

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Stressor – Any experience that threatens your life or someone else’s can cause PTSD. These types of events are sometimes called trauma. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what’s happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD. Trauma can take many forms. A traumatic event could be something that happened to you, or something you saw happen to someone else. Seeing the effects of a horrible or violent event can also be traumatic — for example, being a first responder after a terrorist attack. Types of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:

  • Combat and other military experiences
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Learning about the violent or accidental death or injury of a loved one u Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Serious accidents, like a car wreck or a plane crash
  • Natural disasters, like a re, tornado, hurricane, ood, or earthquake u Terrorist attacks

VA defines a stressor causing PTSD in distinct terms – related BVA cases:

PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder it can be a service connected disability. PTSD also qualifies as a disability for entitlement to Improved Pension. For health care information see the Veterans Health Administration website on PTSD.

The circumstances of a stressor can be very unusual – The VA always holds to this: If the evidence establishes that the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy and the claimed stressor is related to that combat, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the veteran’s service, the veteran’s lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor.

In contrast, Where …VA determines that the veteran did not engage in combat with the enemy…the veteran’s lay testimony, by itself, will not be enough to establish the occurrence of the alleged stressor.” See Zarycki v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 91, 98 (1993).

The ordinary meaning of the phrase “engaged in combat with the enemy,” as used in 38 U.S.C.A. § 1154 (requires that a veteran have participated in events constituting an actual fight or encounter with a military foe or hostile unit or instrumentality. VAOPGCPREC 12-99 (Oct. 18, 1999). Where a determination is made that the veteran did not engage in combat with the enemy, or the claimed stressor is not related to combat, the veteran’s lay testimony alone will not be enough to establish the occurrence of the alleged stressor. See Moreau v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 389, 395 (1996). In such cases, the record must contain corroborative evidence that substantiates or verifies the veteran’s testimony or statements as to the occurrence of the claimed stressor. See West v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 70, 76 (1994). The requisite additional evidence may be obtained from the veteran’s service medical records or from other sources. Moreau at 395. Service department evidence that the veteran engaged in combat or that the veteran was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, or similar combat citation will be accepted, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, as conclusive evidence of the claimed in-service stressor.
VAOPGCPREC 12-99 (Oct. 18, 1999).”
A buddy statement or the veteran’s lay statements can support a stressor if the veteran did not directly engage in combat.
However a buddy statement must contain description of the actual stressor, and give details as to how the buddy (Unit and MOS) was also present at the stressor as an eyewitness. A buddy should give VA their phone number and email address as well as their address and the VA often calls buddies for more details.
Whether the veteran has a buddy statement or is depending on their lay statement describing a stressor-
if they did not engage in combat and have the awards on their DD 214 as within the above BVA statement, the veteran must give the VA enough information to prove the where and when of the stressor as well as that fact that they were they. JS RRC (formerly CUrr) Joint Services Records Research Center depends on detailed accounts in order to support proof of a stressor.
NVLSP makes the point that just about every vet in Vietnam was within range of mortars and often within rocket range.
“A PTSD claim involving mortars and rockets must be put in the context of the personal involvement of the veteran.”
For example was their duty section or barracks a direct hit and damaged by mortar?
How frequent were the attacks? Did the veteran’s unit suffer casualties from the attacks?
When did these mortar attacks occur?
More Questions? Discuss this topic on our Forum

Author: Tbird


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