The answer is, yes you can. The United States Department of Veterans Administration (VA) has a number of programs designed for vets with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These programs include Specialized Outpatient PTSD Programs and also Specialized Intensive PTSD Programs that are residential treatment facilities. Some areas offer walk-in clinics as well. The outpatient programs provide one-on-one and/or group counseling which is provided to vets who live at home; there are non-resident day-hospitals that provide intensive treatment for up to eight hours a day. In this situation vets attend the day-hospital daily or several days a week depending on their needs.
The VA also provides residential treatment facilities for vets who need more intensive counseling services or if they need assistance with housing, recreational activities or employment assistance. In most of these locations the VA provides specialized treatment for those vets who have substance abuse problems and those who experienced sexual assault while in the military.
There are some specialized programs for female vets, and vets who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender.
In addition to the services offered through the VA, there are other organizations that provide needed help to veterans, including those with PTSD. The Wounded Warrior Project for example, provides family support, and includes combat stress recovery for any vet who was deployed after 9/11/2001. Warriors & Quiet Waters helps vets with their traumatic injuries and PTSD to heal recreationally through fly-fishing, skiing and horseback riding in the mountains of Montana.
What Exactly Are Veterans Disability Benefits?
Veterans Disability Benefits are those benefits paid to veterans of military service for injuries or diseases that occurred while on active duty, or aggravated by their military service. These benefits are tax-free in both the federal and state arenas. These benefits include low cost or free mental health treatment, other health care benefits, vocational rehabilitation, employment assistance and independent living support.
The monthly benefit ranges from $133 to over $3,300 per month; this amount varies based on the level of disability, number of dependents and additional amounts may be paid if the vet has a severe disability, loss of limb(s), they have a spouse, children, dependent parents or a spouse is seriously disabled. PTSD is just one of the treatment options available through the VA.
What Is the Process for Obtaining My Veterans Disability Benefits?
The first thing you should consider is hiring an attorney with experience in this area to help you navigate the process of getting your benefits. J. Robert Surface, Attorney at Law in Greenville, can take care of the details for you. The attorneys at J. Robert are well versed in what it takes to get your application through the system, even if you have been denied in the past. When they submit your application, they will need to have all available documentation first. This requires all the medical evidence related to your condition, both military and civilian; all doctor and hospital reports; copies of DD214(separation documents); dependency records, these include marriage certificates and birth certificates for your children. Keep any documents related to your condition, if they’re not needed that’s okay; better to have too much supporting documentation than not enough.
The fastest way to apply for any veterans’ disability benefits is through VONAPP (the veterans’ online application service). As stated above, you will need all supporting documentation to achieve what the VA calls a fully developed claim. If it is incomplete, your application may be rejected. Therefore, hiring an attorney is in your best interest for getting your claim handled in a timely manner.
Once Approved, Can My Benefits Be Altered or Discontinued?
While benefits paid to vets vary with the degree of disability and the number of eligible dependents, vets with certain disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation, also tax-free from federal and state agencies.
Some vets have what is known as Protected Benefit Rates; though this may require periodic medical re-examinations to qualify their condition, it is difficult for the VA to reduce or terminate the disability rating, including PTSD, thereby reducing the benefit. If your benefit has been in effect for five years or more, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on more than a temporary basis. Medical exams and reports must support that the improvement is more than temporary. If your rating is in effect for more than twenty years the VA can’t reduce it unless it is proven that the rating was fraudulently based, which is very unlikely.
Can I Get Help with Travel Expenses?
If the facility you need is not in your area, and you need treatment for your service-related condition, you may receive travel reimbursement if your disability is rated at 30% or more, if you are receiving a VA pension, if you are traveling for scheduled compensation or pension exams and if your income does not exceed the max VA pension rate.
The mileage reimbursement is calculated at 41.5 cents per mile; the deductible mileage amount is $3 one way and $6 per round trip. The mileage deductible is subject to a monthly cap of $18 and when the cap is reached the rest of the month is free of deductible charges. There are three ways the deductible mileage reimbursement can be waived: 1) you are receiving a VA pension, 2) you are traveling for a scheduled compensation and pension exam and/or 3) you meet certain income levels.
What Else Should I Know About PTSD Benefits?
You should consult with your attorney from J. Robert Surface, Attorney at Law to make sure all of your questions are answered. There are a few instances where your benefits can be reduced or cancelled, and while this is not likely, it’s best to have all available information. Remember, the best thing you can do to help your attorney help you, is to have as much documentation as you can going into the process. The attorneys at J. Robert Surface will know just what to do to get you all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to. Let them help you today!