The New Wave of Veterans: Helping Post-9/11 Combat Veterans with TBI and PTSD (VSO)

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Presenter: Helen Chong

Length: 90 minutes

Recorded: May 2020


Webinar Description:

The VA projects that there will be about 5.1 million post-9/11 veterans by 2021. Many of these veterans saw combat and suffered injuries or had experiences that caused both physical and mental disabilities. In fact, post-9/11 veterans have higher rates of service-connected disabilities than previous generations, partly because advances in technology and medicine saved many lives that would have been lost in the past. While thankfully these veterans survived, many of them must live with the disabilities they incurred during their service. They are entitled to be compensated by the VA for these disabilities.

Two common disabilities experienced by post-9/11 veterans are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, obtaining the correct amount of VA disability compensation for these conditions is not easy. The rules related to obtaining service connection for PTSD and TBI and rating them are complicated, especially when a veteran suffers from both disabilities. The VA frequently makes mistakes when adjudicating claims related to TBI and PTSD, particularly when the symptoms of these disabilities overlap.

Just as a soldier prepares for battle with proper training, veterans advocates must understand the relevant laws related to TBI and PTSD, and know how to use them to ensure that the veterans they represent are not erroneously denied benefits by the VA. As a veterans advocate, you have a unique opportunity to ensure that the VA properly compensates these real-life heroes for the disabilities caused by their service. Additionally, while particularly relevant to post-9/11 veterans, nearly all of the information and advocacy advice you will learn from this webinar are applicable to veterans of other eras.

In this webinar, we will cover:
• The VA’s process for determining whether a combat veteran’s lay statement by itself is sufficient to prove that an in-service injury or traumatic event occurred
• A detailed analysis of relevant laws about post-9/11 combat veterans’ signature injury—TBI
• An overview of VA rating principles, including the duty to maximize benefits and the anti-pyramiding rule
• How a mental disorder and TBI should be rated when their symptoms overlap
• The required elements of a VA medical examination for TBI claims
• Special monthly compensation for TBI
• Advocacy tips throughout the presentation, including what to do when service records are incomplete or missing
• And much more!