The Veterans Affairs Department has proposed reducing the paperwork required for veterans to show that their experience in combat caused post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Under the new rules, even just the fear of hostile action would be sufficient, as long as a VA psychologist or psychiatrist agreed, according to the Associated Press.
The VA says the change would streamline claims and recognize the “inherently stressful nature” of war service. Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect anyone who is traumatized by an experience. From the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, more than 134,000 veterans have sought help at a VA facility for possible PTSD, the VA says. The symptoms include flashbacks and anxiety, and for some, it’s so debilitating that it makes it difficult to work after they leave the military.
While some veterans who engage in combat automatically receive special treatment when they seek disability compensation, others must show a badge or other war medal to help to prove they engaged in combat. Still, about half of all post-traumatic stress disability claims filed by veterans are denied, mostly because the veteran lacks sufficient documentation, according to the VA.