Veterans commonly apply for PTSD benefits without specifically identifying additional mental health diagnoses and symptoms. Even if certain symptoms among PTSD, TBI and other mental health conditions overlap, the VA is required to consider the additional mental health diagnoses and symptoms; meaning that a claim for PTSD is rightfully a claim for any mental disability that is supported by a Veteran’s symptoms.
When providing written statements in support of PTSD and other mental health conditions, Veterans should make sure to describe all of their symptoms (such as memory loss, suicidal ideation, panic, intrusive thoughts, hyper-vigilance, sleep impairment, anger/violence, impaired judgment, and depression, among others) in as much detail as possible, along with a description of their severity (how the symptoms “flare” at certain times), and how the symptoms affect the Veteran’s ability to work, maintain, or obtain gainful employment. Along with a Veteran’s written statements describing mental health symptoms, written statements may be submitted by family members and friends describing the Veteran’s mental state and behavior following their military discharge; and where possible, a comparison to the Veteran’s healthy mental state prior to entering the military. Veteran’s may also submit “Buddy Statements”– supportive statements from fellow veterans who served alongside the Veteran.