There are many military veterans who experience what professionals dub “delayed onset of PTSD,” meaning the symptoms don’t appear immediately. Since that’s the case, it can create several difficulties whenever a veteran tries to prove it was combat related, and apply for disability benefits.
It’s common for older veterans to suffer the mental health consequences of overseas conflict well after their removal from the specific stressors. Sometimes, when they’re met with further lifestyle or health deterioration, later in life, then the latent PTSD symptoms may increase in severity. They were there all along, but the individual was better at coping with them initially.
It may even be possible for a veteran to avoid PTSD triggers for years, only to encounter them head-on after experiencing a subsequent trauma. Other veterans suffer worse as they get older and struggle with the deaths of family and friends, which could force them to re-envision sorrowful and traumatic events from combat zones.
What should you do if you’ve been diagnosed with delayed onset PTSD, suspect it's service related, and wish to apply for disability benefits through the VA?
The tricky part is proving that it was a dormant illness from military service rather than other health issues incurred during civilian life. You would have to demonstrate that PTSD has combat-specific triggers as opposed to depression from current issues (primarily age-related troubles).
For its part, the VA has developed a way to determine if veterans (mostly those over 55) possess this problem. The Late-Onset Stress Symptomatology (LOSS) is a 44-item, self-reported test that helps veterans identify their symptoms. While this doesn’t replace a full mental health examination, it allows veterans to explore the possibility of delayed onset of PTSD, and decide whether to seek professional help.
Besides obtaining further assistance from a mental health doctor, you’ll also want to focus on getting a fair disability rating from the VA. Alas, they tend to under-rate mental health conditions, creating a frustrating burden for suffering veterans. That’s why we’re here to help if you’ve received a proper diagnosis for PTSD, but are still being denied benefits.
If you’re struggling with something serious like delayed onset PTSD, and cannot get through to the VA for benefits, then contact Veterans Affairs Law. Our entire focus involves getting fair treatment for veterans, even amid a frustrating VA bureaucracy. Find out how we can help you get all the benefits you deserve by calling us for support at 941-552-6677.
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