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My Experience   I served as a Marine in infantry battalions along the DMZ in Vietnam in 1966-67. I have been through the process of filing a disability claim. I am 70% service connected for combat PTSD and rated total and permanent and compensated at 100% based on unemployability.
Veterans Helping Veterans
Coping With Combat
PTSD

Call a VA hospital or clinic for an appointment.  
First get the help you need by being evaluated. If you have symptoms they will suggest treatment programs using medication and therapy as individual counseling or a support therapy group of your peers who have the same problems as you. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength to seek help. If you have PTSD symptoms they not only effect you, but effect your family, employers, co-workers and everyone you are in touch with. You deserve to be helped.
Take the first step
with a phone call to the VA ( Phone Numbers: VA Benefits: 1-800-827-1000, Health Care Benefits: 1-877-222-8387).
Filing for PTSD benefits is difficult
but a mission you must complete if you are damaged. There are trained specialist at the VA (Veterans Administration) that can evaluate your condition. If you have problems like depression, anger, job or relationship problems, feelings of isolation, nightmares or flashback to memories of traumatic combat experience, excessive alcohol or drug use, or suicidal ideas since your combat days, you need to seek help.
If your are diagnosed with PTSD
you should immediately file a claim. If you are awarded a disability it will be compensated from the date you file the claim. The claim process is difficult. You must follow the requirements carefully. Get an expert service officer to help . You must establish service connection. You must prove stressors that might create your disorder. Your letter should describe your condition before service, combat events (or have a purple heart, CAR (Combat Action Ribbon), CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) or POW status. Then you should describe your current problems. This puts the whole story in your words. If you are rated with a percent of disability it is based on the "current condition" of your life as impacted by those stressors and how it affects you now and the rest of your life. You will have to be evaluated by a professional to gain benefits. It is called a C&P or Compensation & Benefits Exam. That report goes to a VA rater that determines your disability percentage. If you and the service officer feels it is not correct, you can file an appeal. It is best to provide new information to back up your case on appeal.
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