Matt Flavin, President Obama’s director of veterans and wounded warrior policy, speaks at the VPCC meeting in Washington.

PTSD claims will be streamlined

Veterans trying to get a service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are soon going to find the process a little easier. A representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs told The American Legion’s Veterans Planning and Coordinating Committee on Tuesday in Washington that the process for determining PTSD claims has been streamlined.

“We’re in the process of trying to reduce the evidentiary standard for all veterans,” said Brad Mayes, Director of VA’s Compensation and Pension Service. “We proposed a rule change in the Federal Register in August 2009, and what we’re trying to do is not be so restrictive on proving the stressor. If they were in fear of their life because they were on patrol, running convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’re going to send that (claim) to VHA for an exam. If they say, ‘Yes, the veteran has PTSD. Yes, it’s linked to that assertion that they were in fear for their life on a daily basis, and it’s impacting their ability to function,’ then we’ll grant service connection. The idea here is to streamline the process. It’s going to apply to all veterans.”

Mayes said the new standard has been drafted and will have to be signed off by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki before going to the Office of Management and Budget for final review.

“It could take another 30 to 60 days, so we’re probably a little ways away,” Mayes said. “I want to get it out there. This is a good thing for veterans.”

Representatives from the House and Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committees also briefed the committee, along with Matt Flavin, the White House Director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy.

“If you look at (the VA) budget, in the past two years we’ve increased discretionary spending 20 percent,” Flavin said. “We’re backing what we said publicly, which is we hold a sacred trust with the veteran community. We understand the system is going to be stressed, especially with the influx of those returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom. We committed 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and we also have to take care of those on the back end. We understand what a great challenge that is, and that’s why we really emphasize this relationship as one of the key relationships in making sure that we’re doing right by our veterans.”

The committee also received updates on VA construction projects and the Legion’s efforts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


  1. I filed my appeal May 2010 and when I call and check on it I am told SO many lies, I finally got ebenefits only to find out my appeal is in same place its been in since St Petersburg Fl recieved it!!!! what can or do I need to do to move this along??? its for PTSD domestic, all my medical records have been lost (paper work shows that).
  2. Any Veteran who needs assistance with filing for their benfits under the new guidelines please feel free to email me at I will be happy to help each and every one of you. I have dedicated nearly 20 years in the voluntary service to veterans and their families. I am up to date on all the guidelines, presumptive illness claims, FDC claims, priority processing, and can get you squared away. I would be honored to assit you. Please do not hesitate. Sinserely, mickey
  3. In direct response to SDBIAS. I find your comments a bit mis-informed. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans like my husband were exposed to some oth most austire and hostile conditions imaginable. I thank you for your service, and you should thank this new generation of Veterans and their families for being pro-active and paving the way for ALL veterans suffering from PTSD. As far as being a "good actor", I take exception to that comment as well. Let me calrify something for you, my husband served honarably in Iraq, and never truly returned to me. These younger veterans are facing multiple tours, over a nearly ten year war/ wars, the longest in our history. Yes you did serve in prior conflict, but I am certain, not two, three, six times over the course of the conflict. Be thankful if you are well, and have compasion for those who are not. This is the problem with older vets, they do not respect our current veterans, and that stimks!!
  4. The vets coming back from Iraq and Afganistan have seen a lot of crap, but some of us older vets went through a lot too. All these younger guys have to do is go in and claim PTSD and they automatically get 40%, even if there is nothing wrong with them. I've had guys I work with tell me all they had to do was fill out the paperwork and go in and be a "good actor". I'm still trying to collect disability compensation for a number of things due to Gulf war Syndrome, which was ruled a real illness, and have been denied. Don't get me wrong I believe that there are people with PTSD that do need help, but there are a lot who don't have it that are collecting disability for it.
  5. i take great exception to your insinuation that some how our current Veterans are getting more than they deserve. Keep in mind they have been fighting in two wars spanning nearly a decade only to return to an ungrateful nation, a desvistated economy, no gainful employment, and based on your comments little respect. Thank you for your service. You should also be very grateful to these young Veterans who served two, three, four, 12 and 18 month tours sometimnes back to back and their families for their sacrifice, and the over 4,000 killed and tens of thousand wounded. Their active role and dedication to their brothers and sisters paved the way for groundbreaking legislation, that improves and impacts ALL VETERANS OF ALL WARS.. The problem is the older Veterans do not give the same courtesy, recognition or respect to these Veterans, and that is shameful. My husabnd took my heart to Iraq with him and neither one of them came back. Wake up.
  6. I served dureing the Viet Nam War, I've been turned down several times for PTSD, just like all the others, Iam fed up with our country not giveing us all what we fought for in Viet Nam. I refuse to just lay down & die with out a fight for what we earned and deserve, Iam 58 yrs old now, dissabled sence 1990, I want every thing thats mine, Stop putting us out the door and give it up !
  7. I agree. I think our nation should be ashamed how the Veterans of your era wee denied. Be thankful for our current Veterans and their families for be active, and pro-active to improve the lives of all Veterans. You can re-submit your claim as a fully developed calim with your service record, you only have to proved you served in the combat zone, any medical records, etc. When you submit the claim Va form 21-526B, submit it as FDC, (fully developed claim) under priority processing. I hope you get the help, and everything you need. Thank you for your service.
  8. Will this also include the streamlining of PTSD claims to those of us who served in Nam? or will we, once again, be overlooked? I have gone over 40 years without treatment and now both my VA Shrink and Therapist agree I have chronic PTSD. I applied over 4 months ago for service connection status and still not one word from regional headquarters.
  9. Absolutely.. File your claim, under the new Fully Developed Claim guidlines. Includse all of your records,a copy of DD214, and any citations, mental health records, and use form VA form 21-526B, and notice them in the content of your statement that you want this claim processed under new PTSD Guidelines, and as a fully developed claim. You can do this on your own, Most VSO's really are not up to date on this stuff. Also, go to the Agent Orange page at the VA website and if you have any of those illnesses file for them to under presumptive illness, you only have to prove you served in Viet Nam, the presumtive gudlines warrant the service connection. File that also as fully developed claim. Good Luck!!
  10. If the rules changes ever become effective will it be like so many of the others, each VA Regional Office will decide if they want to use it or not?
  11. No, the VARO will not be able to apply any guidlines contrary to the new processing duidelines. Submit your claim and make sure you stse in your claim you are aware of the new guidelines and you would like your claim processed according to the priority processing. That puts them on notice. Good Luck.
  12. it seems all info is geared toward the afgan & iraq vets. i have much honor & respect for all. but, what about us old viet nam vets, we are being denied most of the time!
  13. The new guidelines apply to all Veterans, it is just that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans groups pushed for the legislation. Just re-file under the new guidelines, put them on notice that you want it processed in accordance with same. Good Luck, This is for all VETS!! Veterans Respecting Veterans Always!
  14. What will this do to the thousands of previoulsy denied claims or is this only going to apply to our younger brothers and sisters
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