Good news for veterans — the U.S. Veterans Administration is easing rules in order to qualify for benefits related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under the new rules to be introduced as early as next week, soldiers will no longer have to show documentation that they directly experienced or were witness to a “traumatic event” — like a firefight, a bomb blast, or the death of a friend in combat.

Getting supporting documentation has sometimes been a frustrating and challenging experience for soldiers. War zones aren’t always known for keeping the best paper records, and not every action or firefight is well-documented.

According to The New York Times’ article, “Under the new rule, which applies to veterans of all wars, the department will grant compensation to those with P.T.S.D. if they can simply show that they served in a war zone and in a job consistent with the events that they say caused their conditions.”

The new rule would also allow compensation for service members who had good reason to fear traumatic events, known as stressors, even if they did not actually experience them.

There are concerns that the change will open the door to a flood of fraudulent claims. But supporters of the rule say the veterans department will still review all claims and thus be able to weed out the baseless ones.

The article goes on to quote from a number of people and professionals who are pro and con on the new rules.

Frankly, if you can’t trust people who’ve put their very lives on the line defending our country, I’m not sure who you can trust. The suggestion that this rule change would immediately be abused by soldiers is offensive. Sure, there may be some abuse as there is with any government expansion of a benefits program, but that’s no reason to suggest the program — and the idea behind it, to offer more help to vets in need — is going to be overwhelmed by fraud.

The military has a lot to learn about how to help their soldiers’ mental health needs. For instance, their current method of conducting a mental health debriefing for soldiers coming back from combat is just plain laughable. It’s often done in a group setting, where no soldier is going to admit to having mental health issues or concerns in front of their fellow soldiers.

This certainly sounds a rule change for good, and we commend the Department of Veterans Affairs for enacting it.

Read the full article: V.A. Is Easing Rules to Cover Stress Disorder

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jul 2010
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2010). PTSD Benefits Now Easier to Get Through VA. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/07/10/ptsd-benefits-now-easier-to-get-through-va/

 

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