If you came home from a war zone with lingering problems affecting your mental health, you can seek assistance from the Veterans Administration (VA). But there are many problems with the VA health care system even when your disability is clearly service-connected.
It’s even harder to get the financial and other benefits you need if the link between your post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and your service history is less clear. This may be the case for a service member who was sexually harassed by a superior or fellow service member. The service member could even find that their claim is completely denied.
Having a claim for benefits reduced or denied outright through the VA does not necessarily slam the door on all future help or benefits. It might be possible to seek benefits from the Social Security Administration. You can still apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as a veteran.
Seeking help can be empowering
There can be a stigma associated with former service members reaching out for help when they need it. If you had diabetes or asthma, few people would begrudge you your daily insulin doses or the puffs from your inhaler. With PTSD, the help you need won’t come in the same form but is every bit as vital.
Accessing the benefits you need to recover from or learn to live with your PTSD can help you enormously. For example, it could allow you to qualify for a service dog that is specially trained to help you manage your PTSD symptoms. Benefits could also get you into a secure housing situation. If you are struggling with substance abuse issues, SSD benefits could get you into a treatment center.
Learn more about your rights under the law
If your SSD claim is initially denied, do not give up. This is to be expected. However, don’t feel like you need to face a denied claim on your own. The laws regarding SSD benefits are complex, and many people contact legal professionals to help them with the appeal process.