This book provided by
Vietnam Door Gunners Association
Filing a Claim for PTSD
The first thing you need to do is file a claim for PTSD with the VA. Regardless of whether or not you are presently seeing a VA Doctor for treatment of PTSD. You need to file a claim even if you only think you have PTSD. .After reading Paragraphs 1), 2), 3), 4), 5), & 6) in Chapter Two, if they described things that are going on in your life you most likely have PTSD.
Filing a claim is very simple. In Chapter 22 "Blank Forms” you will find forms 21-4138 STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM which you can fill out. You can print or type the information on the form in the proper areas. Print your name (first, middle & last) in the box FIRST NAME -MIDDLE NAME -LAST NAME OF VETERAN (Type or print). Print your social security number in the box SOCIAL SECURITY NO. If you have already filed a claim with the VA for anything including a VA Home Loan you will have a VA File Number. This VA File Number is called your C-NUMBER. If you know your C-Number print it in the box where it says VA FILE NO. If you don’t know it, don’t worry, just leave it blank. The next box says THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH A CLAIM FOR BENEFITS IN THE CASE OF THE ABOVE NAMED VETERAN - Simply print the letters PTSD on the first line. Now go down to the box marked SIGNATURE and sign it. Then put the date in the DATE SIGNED box. Print your address in the box labeled ADDRESS. You will find an example of this form filled out in Chapter 21 EXAMPLE FORMS COMPLETED.
YOU now need to submit your claim. You need to submit this form through either the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). We have provided you with a list of all the VA Hospitals in the United States. You will find this list in Chapter 28 “VA Hospitals”. The list has the State, the City, and the Telephone Number. Each one of these VA hospitals has a DAV and PVA located somewhere within the facility.
If you have a VA hospital close to you take this "STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM” to either the DAV of PVA office at that hospital. If you do not have a VA Hospital close by and you must mail your "STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM” be certain to mail it CERTIFIED, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. You can find an example of a Return Receipt Request card in Chapter 30 "Certified Mail" Be certain to telephone the PVA or DAV office which you are mailing your “STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM”. You’ll find the telephone number for the nearest VA Hospital by using the list found in Chapter 28 “VA Hospitals”. When the VA operator answers the telephone ask them to connect you with either the PVA or DAV office.
Explain to the PVA or DAY what you are doing and ask them for their address. They will need to mail you a POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA) Form for you to sign. The POA gives them the authorization to represent you at the VA Rating Board. They do not charge you any money for representing you, but they must have a POA to be your representative.
When you submit your STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM the PVA or DAV may ask you if you are presently seeing a doctor or being treated for PTSD. YOU do not have to be seeing a doctor or even be diagnosed with PTSD to file a claim with the VA for PTSD. They my tell you that you must be presently seeing a doctor or that they need more information before you can submit a claim. THAT IS NOT CORRECT! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM ANY TIME YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FOR A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY.
If the PVA or DAY persists in telling you that you must be in treatment or being seen by a VA Doctor for PTSD before you can file your claim tell them they are misinformed. Tell them you would like to quote from the National Service officers Handbook which says...
QUOTED FROM : National Service Officers Handbook Veterans Benefits Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States...it is important to note that a claim may be initiated informally without the necessity of filling the prescribed form, thus protecting the effective date of award when adjudication has been made. Informal claims include any communication or action indicating an intent to apply for one or more benefits from a claimant or authorized representative and such informal claim must identify the benefit sought and be followed by a formal claim received with one year from the date of request.
The reason you want to get your claim filed first is because the date your claim is registered with the VA is the beginning date (when you win your claim) the VA will pay you from. We often refer to this as Back Pay. You must understand it takes time to get everything together to win your claim. Eight months to a year and a half is a normal amount of time to required to receive the full award. Many Veterans have spent three to five years before they have received their full 100% rating. The most common reason it has taken them so long to receive their full award is because they did not understand the system and did not provide the VA with the correct information. That is why this booklet will help you. We know what information you need and we are going to help you get it and put your case together. Again, because it does take some time before you will receive your award you want to file your claim as soon as possible. When you do win your award the VA must pay you (Back Pay) back to the date you first filed your claim.
For example, lets assume you filed your claim today. Lets assume you are married. Assuming it takes 18 months for the VA to award you your 100% disability they will pay you "Back Pay" for eighteen months (the day you first filed). That means you would .receive a check for $38,754.00 plus you would then begin receiving your monthly checks for $2,153.00 on the first day of each month. (These amounts are based on current compensation rates at the time of this printing.) The back pay does help make the wait worth while. And, all this money is tax free! When you receive an award for 100% Total Disability you no longer have to pay taxes on the VA disability. income. You also are ready to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits for PTSD.