VetVoice has the good news for veterans.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is the signature injury of the post-9/11 combat veteran. For years, as Veterans returned home with the invisible wound, VA red-tape has made it difficult to obtain a disability rating for the condition. Strange rules make it nearly impossible to prove the affliction. For example, Veterans have had to prove the existence of a "stresser" in order to qualify for a rating....
After already increasing VA funding and signing a bill to insure advanced funding for the Department, President Obama's Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce next week that it is removing the speed-bumps that hindered PTSD afflicted Vets from obtaining a disability rating:
The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits.
The Veterans Affairs Department plans to announce Monday it will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they would have to show that they served in combat in a job that could have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The nearly 20 percent of Veterans who return with signs of PTSD will now find it easier to obtain what they earned when they bravely defended their country. Making the process for obtaining benefits as smooth as possible is the least we owe these heroes. This decision to streamline the process for PTSD claims illustrates a commitment to our Veterans from this Administration that was absent for eight years under previous leadership.
That was among the most infuriating aspects of the Bush administration--their exceedingly cavalier attitude toward sending Americans off to fight in Iraq, a war of whimsy, and Afghanistan, a then-necessary but horribly managed effort. We all remember the stories of soldiers scrambling to find necessary protective gear because the Pentagon wasn't providing, and the stories of the neglect and maltreatment injured soldiers faced at Walter Reed. That was compounded by VA policy.
As VoteVets uncovered in 2008, the VA of those days deliberately misdiagnosed Veterans to reduce the cost of treatment and disability payments:
On March 20, 2008 a VA hospital's PTSD program coordinator sent an e-mail to a number of VA employees, including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist stating that due to an increased number of "compensation seeking veterans," the staff should "refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out" and they should "R/O [rule out] PTSD" and consider a diagnosis of "Adjustment Disorder" instead.
The new PTSD guidelines aren't just a boon to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans--they apply to all veterans, and there are still many Vietnam vets suffering, who've waited decades for this help.