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PTSD and Unemployability

By July 25, 2012 VA Disability

Veterans suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) can have many different symptoms. Some veterans can be extremely aggressive and others unbelievably passive. Some veterans can feel a need to control everything in life while others ignore the world. Other veterans can have symptoms that seem to mimic a bipolar disorder in which their mood can be one extreme to the other in a relatively short time. It is not unusual to see veterans that are very passive and then become extremely upset, perhaps even violent, over small incidents.

Many veterans with PTSD are able to work for short periods of time but then lose jobs because of missed days of work, acts of violence or the failure to listen to superiors. However, PTSD victims frequently miss work because they simply do not have the emotional strength to leave the house. They are not lazy – it is a result of illness. The acts of violence are a product of the illness.

Every veteran that suffers from PTSD is a unique individual with a unique story that must be explained to the Board of Veteran Appeals Judge so the veteran receives the benefits he deserves. Medical records alone is not enough to win these cases. Medical records frequently only reflect what is observed in office but that is not enough. A judge needs to understand what happened to the veteran at his last job, what is happening with the veteran and his family and what happens to the veteran on a daily basis.

My experience has been employers, neighbors and other people who have had conflicts with the veteran can be some of your best witnesses. It is always surprising to me how many people realize the veteran has this problem as result of fighting to preserve our freedoms. The power of patriotism will allow employer to forgive a past wrong and work with us to help the veteran.

When the veteran becomes service-connected for PTSD it does more than simply give the veteran a monthly check. It verifies to the veteran that he does have a legitimate illness and that his country recognizes the sacrifice he has made. It tells the veteran he is not alone. It also allows the veteran access to treatment for his illness so that life may improve for the veteran and the people that love him/her.