VETERAN’S CORNER: PTSD is common; does not carry a stigma

Left photo, local service organization leaders pose at the veterans memorial in South China. From left to right, Mike Vashon, Jeff Zimmerman and Neil Farrington. (Contritured photo)

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

I have received many replies to recent articles regarding VA and VA benefits. Some inquires relate to the specific disabilities and their compensability. The most common inquiries are related to such problems as hearing loss and what is referred to as ringing in the ears (Tinnitus). These are very common occurrences in the military as well as all soldiers learning to use weapons of one sort or another, or work around loud noises such as jobs requiring being near aircraft and testing areas.

The other possible disabling condition that I hear a lot about either from the veteran or someone who is close to him/her, is PTSD. This sort of disorder is usually associated with being in close proximity to conflict. Some veterans don’t want to address this disorder as they feel it carries with it a negative connotation. For those who feel this way I would suggest it is not necessary to use that term because nervous disorder carries the same degree of compensable ability as PTSD does. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, today is more apt to be associated with combat stressors; where as plain nervous disorder could apply to many traumatic issues other than ones relating to combat.

Both are given the same degree of award and compensation. Neither should carry a stigma with them. They are both human responses to different kinds of stress. There are several very good service organizations located at Togus VA. Also, if you have had a bad experience then you can discuss it with a totally impartial veterans advocate located in building 200 at Togus VA Medical Center. If this doesn’t work for you take it directly to Veteran’s Affairs in building 248 on the second floor.

There are some very knowledgeable people there that can help you find your way and show you how to put your case together. The records that you already have should accompany you. It is always wise to have your case together when you go there. If you don’t have a primary care provider then you need to apply for one. When you have acquired a PCP then you will explain all the things that are bothering you and he/she will refer you to the appropriate department for an examination. When this is done you will have what you need to file a case with the Bureau of Veterans Affairs (BVA).

I should add if you have seen doctors outside of the VA system you should get copies of those documents. Then you are ready to go and file a well-grounded claim. These are only a couple of issue we have heard you speak about and we are aware there are many more. Veterans have given us so much and all of us who can contribute to their well-being should do so in any way possible. If you have any questions please feel free to share them with us here at The Town Line email address, If it’s a personal nature you can speak with Gary at 458-2832. One way or the other we will give you the answers.

If you have an article you would like to have published, please feel free to send it to The Town Line for review. All writing must be proper in content. I would like to wish all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God Bless us all.


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