Military and Veterans survivor guilt is real and you are not alone. Whether you are seeking a 10% increase or a total 100% disability claim, I believe I have encouraging feedback.
If you need real life examples of other veterans experiencing PTSD and survivor’s guilt, consider reading 21 cases published to date at the Veteran’s Court of Appeals.
Otherwise, I want to use my time today to identify the number one reason why our military vets are loosing their appeals. In my experience, cases for Veterans Survivor Guilt are won and lost because “functional impairment”.
If you are like most military veterans, this is either the first time you have heard about functional impairment or your service officer never described this on your behalf.
Luckily, you can start moving in the right direction starting now.
Veterans Survivor Guilt: Simple Functional Impairment
What is functional impairment? I prefer a simple answer. For the Veterans requiring a stronger answer, I referenced the federal law below.
Functional impairment for veterans survivor guilt is the combination of three areas that impact vets on a day to month to year basis.
When a veteran calls me for the first time, I ask them to make three lists of their:
- Physical problems,
- Emotional problems, and
- Mental health problems.
Because the idea is to keep this simple, a veteran’s functional impairment is their list of problems. What makes a list more credible is utilizing professionals and family members. This means seeking a formal opinion from your doctors, accountant, dentist, attorney, friends, spouse, etc.
The best opinions utilize the federal rule identified below.
I Believe Veterans Need Support
Recovering or managing survivor’s guilt is extremely hard. When I work with a Veteran to help them with a list of ailments, sometimes this inspires conflict and emotion.
Because our memories have a tendency to come and go, every veteran experiencing Veterans Survivor Guilt should make lists of their ailments.
One of the most effective ways to make these lists is by seeking advisement from your family, medical staff and related professionals. Generally, asking for help can help veterans find problems that are unclear or unknown or misunderstood.
For example, checking the back door over and over again is not a physical problem. Being compulsive by checking the back door is an impairment. Having nightmares or experiencing a panic attack every time you look out the window are also examples of an impairment.
Again, sometimes we as veterans misjudge our own impairments because we are to busy trying maintain our presence as a rock. You might be different, but I am confident you get my point.
Veterans Survivor Guilt: Rule on Functional Impairments
If you stuck with me, it might be time to introduce the source of my encouragement.
We can read a black and white rule called 38 CFR 4.10 for additional guidance when trying to diagnose or prove PTSD or Veterans survivor guilt.
The rule reads like this:
the ability of the body as a whole, or of the psyche, or of a system or organ of the body to function under the ordinary conditions of daily life including employment. Whether the upper or lower extremities, the back or abdominal wall, the eyes or ears, or the cardiovascular, digestive, or other system, or psyche are affected, evaluations are based upon lack of usefulness, of these parts or systems, especially in self-support.
I believe military veterans seeking disability benefits should be seeking descriptive impairment for every body part (including our mind).
I understand this is easier said than done, which is why seeking support from medical and other professionals is absolutely critical.
Veterans Survivor Guilt: My Diagnosis
I am not a doctor. Likely, you are not a doctor either. Even though a diagnosis for veterans survivor guilt is critical, it cannot be the only thing. I believe failing to incorporate detailed functional impairments can turn a winning case into a loosing case for benefits.
In my experience, shopping for a doctor or using the doctor that has helped you reach a point of moving forward can make a world of difference.
Look, I really wish every medical doctor and psychologist understood a military battlefield or even the military life in general. I wish every medical professional understood the elements of a VA claim for veterans survivor guilt.
Because this is not always the case, I encourage every member of the military or veteran to take these claims into their own hands for the potential of seeking success.
It does not matter if you think your claim is small or large. If you need more ideas or support on a successful case for benefits, please ask me for my thoughts.
I wish you the very best.