Selected Materials on PTSD Claims


A claim for compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has some unique requirements. PTSD is not presumed to be related to service. Therefore, more than a diagnosis is required to obtain benefits. The diagnosis of PTSD must be based upon one or more specific stressful events in service (commonly referred to as a "stressor"), and there must be corroborating evidence that the stressful event occurred. If the stressor were an event that occurred in combat, then the veteran need only prove that he or she participated in combat. If the stressor were not combat related, then more specific proof of the stressful event is required. However, the evidence does not have to be eye-witness proof of the event. For example, evidence of a substantial change in the behavior of the veteran shortly after the stressor occurred can be used to substantiate the claim.

Statutory Law

There is no specific law creating benefits for PTSD. However, one statutory provision that is often relevant to PTSD claims is 38 U.S.C. § 1154 [available here]. That statute provides, in essence, that a veteran who engaged in combat does not need evidence that a specific injury or disease was incurred in combat to support a claim for benefits.

There have been recent legislative proposals to make this provision more generous to claimants. Recent legislative hearings include:


VA has a number of regulations relevant to PTSD claims:

Federal Register Notices

When VA proposes or finalizes a regulation relating to PTSD or when it withdraws such a proposed regulation, it publishes a public notice in the Federal Register (which all government agencies use to announce proposed and final rule changes).

Selected Cases

A few cases relating to PTSD claims are:

Law Review Articles