Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from any Military Service
PTSD and TDIU can work together to help a veteran live out a normal life. If a veteran’s PTSD is ruled both as service-connected and so severe that it affects his or her ability to work, that veteran should apply for TDIU benefits as soon as possible. Once a veteran’s PTSD or other mental illness is established as service connected, the main question to be addressed in order to get TDIU (total disability individual unemployability) is severity. Ultimately this ends up being a fight over the rating itself, and the veteran’s inability to work. The main question when seeking evidence to prove TDIU based on mental health is why, or how, does a veteran’s mental illness prevent them from working?
In an effort to do this, Woods and Woods VA disability attorneys seek to craft a personal story about how a veteran’s psychological impairments have taken them out of the workforce. An all-inclusive approach to developing this story works best. Our strategy is to describe what you are dealing with, rather than listing whatever we can find in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). We’ll interview you, friends, and family, to get a complete picture of your life with PTSD.
Detail Every Symptom of PTSD for Your VA Claim
It is important to emphasize the high-value symptoms present when telling this story. Common high-value symptoms in successful TDIU cases include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Angry outbursts (whether it’s warranted or not!)
- Periods of violence (punching a wall wrecking a car, etc.)
- Domestic violence
- Depression that keeps you home 75% of the time
We want to tell the VA about any symptoms that impact functioning social settings such as home, the workplace or anywhere you have to interact with people. Close relatives, friends, coworkers, and supervisors, can shed light on these symptoms by providing written statements on how they see mental illness impacting the veteran.
Be Clear and Honest About Why You are a Veteran But Can’t Work
Your story should be crafted with your employability as a disabled veteran in mind. Often we suggest reaching out to a buddy or coworker that you still talk to. Perhaps you had a confidant or co-worker at the factory or at the store where you used to work. If so, reach out to that person. They can call us and go through a short interview that is as confidential between the co-worker and the veteran as you want it to be.
This often proves to be a great relief for ex-wives or other loved ones to tell a full story of how a veteran is struggling to cope with their disability. There was a time for bravery, and it is a little different now. You need to be completely transparent with the VA about how hard it is to get out of bed or to get along with people at work. You will only be able to get an accurate and high rating for PTSD by being absolutely clear and honest with the VA.
Can I Get Back Pay for Service Connected PTSD?
Many veterans have questions about TDIU back pay, and how it relates to effective dates. The rule is that the effective date is determined by the date of the veterans claim, or the day the entitlement arose, whichever is later. If the TDIU claim is 2010, the veteran hasn’t been working, and the mental health symptoms are very severe for that entire period, an appropriate TDIU award would go back to 2010, the claim date.
If the claim date for an increased rating on mental health includes individual unemployability in 2010 and then in 2013 things got a lot worse for the veteran who stopped working, then an appropriate TDIU grant would be in 2013. Although in this case, the claim date is older, the entitlement arose later, so it’s the later of the two.
If the best time to apply for VA Disability was 10 years ago, the second best time is right now. It is understandable that being repeatedly fired for PTSD issues at work can make it even worse for a veteran struggling with PTSD. If your job suffers from PTSD issues, you want to document those issues and get your application started as soon as possible. Your Woods and Woods case managers will also work with your entire record to make sure your effective date is correct. If you have other past claims that were denied or overlooked, you may get more pack pay than previously expected.
Eligibility and TDIU for PTSD
When it comes to PTSD ratings for VA disability, the severity of the traumatic event isn’t what counts. PTSD and individual unemployability are measured by the effects on the soldier. While one person can be depressed, another can have substantially gainful employment, PTSD affects everyone differently. Drug and alcohol abuse can also be signs of PTSD that might not affect a person at the workplace, but make it hard for them to keep a steady job. If they can’t keep a job, PTSD can be an indirect reason.
TDIU is always measured on the basis of being able to work a number of different jobs, not just any job. The old line that anybody can be a greeter at Walmart is no longer an excuse to deny a veteran their TDIU benefits. (There aren’t enough Walmarts, for one thing!) It is ruled upon the phrase “substantially gainful employment,” when unemployability is being considered. If you can’t fully support yourself to live, eat, and take care of your needs, you are not able to have substantially gainful employment.
You need to prove to the VA that your PTSD was connected to some kind of trauma during your military service. It can be something that happened to you, such as an injury, abuse, Military Sexual Trauma, or something that happened to someone in your division. About 1 in 5 veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq show symptoms of PTSD and 30% of Vietnam vets experience it during their lifetime. It should never be downplayed or discounted, even if friends or fellow servicemembers experienced the same things without any signs of PTSD.
Help for You If Your Brother or Spouse is Suffering from PTSD
If you are worried about a loved one that served our country but is now struggling with normal everyday life, there is a lot of help available to you too. You can call any veteran’s hotline like the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. You can also learn more about PTSD from various qualified Veterans’ Organizations.
If you want to see if your veteran qualifies for VA Disability, you can call us with any questions for free. We might even be able to help if your vet has passed away. Our phone calls and consultations to answer your questions are at no charge. We can even get you started on your claim and we’ll only charge you a percentage of the back pay if we win your claim.
You can also have your friend call us at (866)232-5777 for a free evaluation. We talk to Veterans with a wide range of disabilities all day long. We know how to work through your claim to get the best possible result with the evidence we can gather.
Can You Work And Get 100% TDIU for PTSD?
You can, but there are some very specific requirements in order for it to be alright. You’ll need documentation from your boss or manager that explains the special accommodations they have to make for you in order to do this job. For instance, they don’t let you talk to any customers or you are free to come and go whenever you want. The technical phrase “special accommodations” must be used to explain how you can work that job. If you are a normal worker like anyone else, then you probably don’t need TDIU and the VA will deny your claim.
Self-employed or contract jobs work the same way. Even if you work for Uber and don’t make very much money, you are showing the VA that you are capable of working a job that grow into maintaining substantially gainful employment. If you work through a program that helps you work through your PTSD, you might eventually make more money at your job with a pension, but you won’t qualify for TDIU from the VA.
Will I Have to Talk to a Shrink To get TDIU for PTSD?
You will probably have to go through a C&P Exam for your PTSD claim if you have not applied for it before. We have tips for having a good C&P Exam here. You may have a separate C&P exam for PTSD than you would for a wrist disability, but the tips still apply. You can bring a spouse or co-worker along with you to help explain your symptoms and to help you keep calm during the lengthy interview process. Be patient and get through it, you should only have to have one appointment.
We have psychiatrists on staff at Woods and Woods to look over your paperwork and write up and assessment for your VA Disability application. Not just any psychiatrist can fully link your mental health status to your military service. Our experts know what kinds of trauma can have an effect on veterans and what the BVA (Bureau of Veterans Affairs) is looking for in an application.
Don’t guess anymore about what your disability rating might be. Take some time to talk to our staff at Woods and Woods. We’ll gather your medical records from the VA and give you an honest assessment of your case. We know which claims are more likely to receive TDIU and which ones are a longshot. Don’t assume your case isn’t enough and miss out on months of disability checks.
Talk to our Lawyers About Your TDIU for PTSD Claims
Rather than hunt and peck through 38 CFR 4.16 to figure out what you are qualified for, contact our team to start working on your case. We will also look for combined ratings so that you can apply for more than just PTSD. TDIU can be awarded when you have both of these two conditions:
1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—andTaken from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/
2. You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.
We will still review your case and advise you for free even if it you won’t qualify for TDIU. You don’t have anything to lose but the uncertainty of wondering if you should apply.
FAQs about PTSD and TDIU
Yes, they can still function and do a lot of things they have done their whole lives. They may need to avoid crowds or tense situations, but plenty of people with severe PTSD live normal lives every day.
No it does not. The PTSD rating isn’t measured by what you witnessed or experienced. It is rated on how you are dealing with it now. Different people react to different traumas in very different ways, so don’t be ashamed of reacting differently than other troops in your division.
Yes, you can apply anytime after your service. Sometimes it takes decades for the effects of PTSD to really take their toll, so apply for benefits and get professional help as soon as you suspect that you have symptoms.
If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 or The Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. Once things are more stable, you can work on getting VA benefits for him and Woods and Woods will walk you through the process.