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A Veterans Guide to PTSD Benefits Under the VA

The invisible wounds of war can be the heaviest to bear. Unfortunately, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects a high number of veterans, which impacts their daily lives and well-being. As a response, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VA) offers support through disability benefits to recognize this issue. This benefit provides tax-free monthly compensation to a qualified veteran.

To qualify for VA PTSD benefits, the veteran must meet the following criteria: service connection of their PTSD and Disability.

1. Service Connection:

  • PTSD Diagnosis: Here, a veteran must have a current diagnosis of PTSD from a qualified mental health professional. Typically, the following assessments are used to determine a PTSD diagnosis: Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 (SCID-5).
  • Stressful Event: Another part of this criteria is that the diagnosed symptoms must be linked to a stressful event during the veteran’s active-duty service. This event can be combat-related, witness to trauma, threat of serious harm, or military sexual trauma. It is important to note that not all traumatic events are obvious combat situations. Any stressful experience during service that triggered a veteran’s PTSD symptoms qualifies.

2. Disability:


    • Measurable Impairment: The veteran’s PTSD symptoms must also cause a measurable or quantifiable impairment in their social, occupational, or physical functioning. Under this criteria, the veteran’s PTSD diagnosis and symptoms must negatively impact their daily lives, including work, study, relationships, and managing basic activities. Generally, the VA uses a rating system based on the severity of a veteran’s impairment to determine their disability level.


Once the veteran has determined that they may be eligible for VA PTSD benefits based on the criteria above, they can proceed with the application process. Generally, the application process includes, but is not limited to, the following:


  1. Gathering Evidence: This means collecting military service records, medical records relating to the veteran’s PTSD diagnosis, and any documentation linking their symptoms to service-related events and witness statements.
  2. Filing the VA Claim: A veteran can file a claim online through the VA website (https://www.va.gov/). However, given the complexities of the requirements and the various forms and evidence that need to be filed with the application, it is valuable to seek the representation and guidance of a qualified VA benefits attorney to file their claim.
  3. C&P Exam: As part of the veterans’ application, the VA may schedule a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam with a VA healthcare professional.
  4. Decision and Appeal: The VA will then mail their decision to the veteran. If the claim is denied, the veteran will have the right to appeal within one year. 

In addition to disability compensation, veterans with PTSD may also be eligible for other types of VA benefits, such as VA health care, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, and education and training assistance. VA health care can provide a range of mental health services, including, but not limited to, therapy and counseling, medication management, and inpatient treatment as needed. Vocational rehabilitation and employment services can help veterans with disabilities, including PTSD, find and maintain meaningful employment. Educational benefits may include assistance with tuition and housing for veterans pursuing college or vocational training programs. Veterans with PTSD need to explore all of their options for VA benefits to ensure they are receiving the support they require.


Navigating the VA benefits system can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it is not uncommon for veterans with PTSD to face challenges in obtaining the benefits they deserve. For this reason, veterans need to seek legal assistance if they encounter difficulties in their application or appeal. Experienced attorneys specializing in VA benefits can help veterans gather and present substantial evidence to support their claims, advocate during appeals, and ensure their legal rights are protected. Seeking legal assistance can also help veterans avoid common mistakes, and that could lead to a denial of benefits. With the proper support, veterans with PTSD can obtain the benefits they need to manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and move forward with confidence.


At McKown and Myers, it’s our job to help Hoosiers like you get the compensation they need to get medical treatment and support their families. We’re here to answer your questions about your TDIU application – call 765-668-7531 or complete our contact form here. There’s no obligation – we’re here to help.