House Veteran’s Affairs Chair Hails PTSD Rules

Veterans Roundtable Poughkeepsie, Cong John Hall (NY)

Carmel, NY– Congressman John Hall (NY-19), Chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, applauded the news today that the Veterans Administration (VA) will adopt a rule next week granting presumption of service connection to any veteran who served in a combat zone and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Currently, veterans who apply for disability benefits to compensate for PTSD must demonstrate to the VA their illness is service related, essentially denying benefits to thousands of veterans unable to document their claims decades after their discharge from service. The new rule will make it easier for all veterans suffering from PTSD to receive VA health care and disability compensation. Also, disability benefits will be made available with the rule change to more veterans, including some who may have been denied benefits in the past.

“Less than half of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans diagnosed with PTSD are receiving benefits from the VA. It is our duty to make sure the men and women who risk their lives and sacrifice so much for our values and freedoms, are taken care of when they return home,” said Rep. Hall. “This rule will have a dramatic impact on Vietnam veterans as well. It can be especially difficult to find evidence of a traumatic incident 40 years after the fact. Many Vietnam veterans who were denied PTSD benefits in the past may now be eligible.”

Congressman Hall has taken the lead on this issue, introducing the COMBAT PTSD Act (H.R. 952), which focused exclusively on creating a presumption of service connected disability for veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Hall discussed the issue with President Obama during a meeting at the White House in early 2009, which led to a meeting with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. By August of 2009, the VA announced that it was drafting the rule.

“PTSD cases are routinely the most complicated cases for the VA to confirm, requiring drawn out investigations by the VA. This new rule cuts down on lengthy investigations and allows VA employees to focus their efforts on new cases and serve more of our veterans,” said Rep. Hall.

The new rule will make it easier for all veterans suffering from PTSD to receive VA health care and disability compensation. This new rule makes disability benefits available to more veterans, including some who may have been denied benefits in the past.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Legislative Associate Tom Tarantino said, “IAVA strongly supports this rule change and thanks Congressman Hall for his leadership on this issue. This change will benefit veterans of all generations, including those serving in our current conflicts.”

“Finally, I can get the help I need with my PTSD,” said Iraq War Veteran Robert Kingsley of Goshen, NY. “This problem has deeply impacted my life, and I struggle with it every day. Thank you Congressman Hall for recognizing that the VA needs to treat PTSD as a severe disability.”

Since his election to the US House of Representatives in 2006, and as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Congressman Hall has been a tireless advocate for the proper care of our veterans.

On Wednesday, Rep. Hall was warmly greeted by a large group of veterans and veterans advocates at a gathering held at the American Legion Yorktown Post #1009 in Yorktown Heights, NY. When he mentioned that the PTSD rule change was right around the corner, the veterans gave him a standing ovation and thanked him profusely for his efforts on their behalf.

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7 Responses to "House Veteran’s Affairs Chair Hails PTSD Rules"

  1. Kristopher McCraw FC2  July 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Rather disapointing that only combat veterns are covered by this new policy. If one got PTSD while on duty that is service connected regardless of how, where, or when the stressor happended. A policy of giving different levels of care and compensation because of your injury, where and when it happend seem rather contrived to keep aid from veterns that need and deserve it. When someone is injured give them equal treatment eliminate the policys that prohibit fair treatment for all that have served and live with PTSD.

  2. ROBERT VN Vet 11th Armored Cav  July 12, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I just got my 100% rateing after 9 years of going back and forth with the VA. I hired a lawyer in 1/10, don’t know if they did me any good but it is worth the 25 grand they charged me… They are still denying me an increase from 30% for my PTSD, so the lawyer is still working on my files and med records and says I can still get 70% for my PTSD over the 100% they just gave me for my Cardio… Another $500.00 a month…
    The retro check sure was nice to get over a $140,000.00, but the monthly increase from $601.00 to almost $2,900.00 is a great increase…

    The C&P exam is a F—k’n Joke, those doctors I’ve seen for a 20 minutes are like being in a car accident and seeing the other guys insurance doctor…. Don’t shower or wear clean cloths, and cry a lot about night mares and FLASHBACKS!!!!!!

  3. James W. Cayton  July 10, 2010 at 8:48 am

    My VA claim for service-connected disability compensation began with service beginning 60 years ago during the Unpleasantness in Korea, as I call it since people stateside were reluctant to call it a war. Coulda fooled me. After FOUR years since I filed my claim, Congressman Hall has opened it up to being settled in my favor. His move is a tremendous support to General Shinseki who is doing the impossible in getting the VA to begin turning around.

    • Barbara Betzger  July 12, 2010 at 12:29 am

      The VA claim system is cruel, broken and they do not care. They will do anything to deny a claim. My brother submitted a claim for PTSD in 10/07. He was denied in May 08, appealed and was finally given a PTSD Comp & Pen hearing in 4/09 which concluded “Chronic and Continuing PTSD”. He received his denial in 5/10 with no mention of the hearing. When presented with a copy of the 4/09 PTSD hearing report from the VA’s physiatrist and military evidence of every stressful event documented, he has this week been notified by the VA that he has to have another PTSD Comp & Pen hearing. Why? How long do you think he will have to wait after that hearing for a determination. Vietnam Veterans have suffered more than any other veterans and it is continuing. Does this sound like the system is working!!!!!

    • Michael Leon  July 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      You are right.

      And as you know there are 100,000s out there just like your brother.

      But never has the VA Sec called the system “unfair” before and implemented changes.

      But I know what you must feel: I’ll feel the changes when my brother is respected for his serivce.

      Don’t give up.

      Best to your family.

  4. jake  July 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Congressman Hall, I thank you for all your efforts in making sure we aren’t left behind by a society that refuses to deal with this very real problem.
    Gary Moreland
    VietNam Vet

  5. Luigi V. Micheli  July 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks Congressman Hall !!! This will help us all !!! Myself afer 40 years !! Thanks again, and may God bless you, and your family !!

    Vietnam Combat Veteran
    Tet Offensive 1968 1969


    Thanks Michael your a great writer !!!

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