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Veteran Death Benefit

The mission of the Veteran Death Benefit Administration, in partnership with the Veterans Health Administration and the National Cemetery Administration, is to provide benefits and services to the veterans and their families in a responsive, timely and compassionate manner in recognition of their service to the Nation.

The purpose of the Veteran Death Benefit is to assist you, the veteran, or your survivor(s), in presenting your claim for benefits based on exposure to psychologically traumatic events during military service that has resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is always best to seek the assistance of an experienced veteran’s service representative when presenting a claim to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Veteran Death Benefit describes the VA's current programs for providing disability compensation to veterans who suffer from PTSD, as well as for the survivors of such veterans. Under current Veteran Death Benefit regulations, you can be paid compensation for PTSD if you currently have a clear medical diagnosis of the disorder, evidence that a sufficiently traumatic event (called a “stressor”) occurred during active military service and medical evidence that the in-service stressor is causally related to your PTSD. Once the Veteran Death Benefit determines that your PTSD is service-connected, it will then decide how seriously your symptoms impair your social and industrial abilities (i.e., your capacity to start and maintain personal relationships and your ability to work).

The Veteran Death Benefit does not address treatment techniques, but does provide suggestions for obtaining the appropriate care. Additional resources are available to help you to better understand what other Veteran Death Benefit programs may be available to you. 

PTSD is not a new problem. It is simply a more recent label for an age-old disorder that has been in existence since stone-age warriors were beating each other with clubs.  Around 1980, the American Psychiatric Association designated PTSD to describe a delayed-stress syndrome commonly experienced by combat-veterans.  This condition had previously been referred to as “shell-shock” and “war/combat neurosis”.  Although PTSD is often associated with the veterans, it appears in veterans of all wars and eras.

There have been many changes in the Veteran Death Benefit rules involving PTSD since 1980 and some additional changes are expected soon as a result of new understanding about PTSD. Recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Death Benefit Claims have also forced changes in how the Veteran Death Benefit processes PTSD claims.  It is important to keep up with these changes by accessing Veteran Death Benefit web site for the latest information.  You can also contact the Veteran Death Benefit service representative in your area to answer any questions that you might have about PTSD or the claims adjudication process in general.

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