VA simplifies access to PTSD care

Monday - 7/12/2010, 2:56pm EDT

By Rachel Stevens
Federal News Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs is easing the requirements for veterans to access care and disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often devastating emotional wounds of war," says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

The new regulation reduces the evidence needed for a veteran to claim PTSD if the places and circumstances of service are likely to produce the disorder. Previously, a patient would need to provide corroboration that their stressors are related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity.

VA expects this to reduce the time it takes for veterans to have access to care and benefits. This marks the latest in an ongoing string of VA and military initiatives to help soldiers cope with PTSD.

There are currently over 400,000 veterans receiving compensation for PTSD, an anxiety disorder that stems from experiencing events that produce feelings of intense fear, horror, or hopelessness.

Rachel Stevens is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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