Common Conditions Qualifying for Austin Veterans' Disability Benefits
Veterans can suffer physical harm as a result of their military service. Some of the common physical disabilities faced by veterans include:
- Traumatic brain injury – Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are very common among veterans. Symptoms can include amnesia, loss of consciousness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus (ringing in the years), impaired memory, impaired concentration, photophobia (light sensitivity), mood changes and anger.
- Gulf War Syndrome – Gulf War Syndrome is actually a group of unexplained and little understood illnesses that could include chronic multi-symptom conditions or chronic fatigue. The specific cause of this condition is not known.
- Muscle injuries – Muscle damage can occur for many different reasons, including repetitive stress and acute injury. Injuries caused by explosions normally cause significantly more loss of muscle than gunshot wounds.
- Chronic pain syndrome – Chronic pain syndrome is a complex medical problem that most medical professionals cannot specifically define. The general definition is ongoing pain that lasts for longer than a designated period of time (which may be three months or six months minimum). Treatment is difficult, and a cure is often not possible. Instead, the focus is generally on managing pain.
- Fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia refers to a syndrome where patients experience long-term pain that often affects the entire body. Those suffering from fibromyalgia may experience pain in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, tendons and joints. Fatigue, headaches and sleep disturbance are all symptoms of fibromyalgia as well. Again, there is no definitive cure for this condition.
- Toxic exposure – In many cases, veterans are exposed to chemicals or other toxins in the battlefield. This exposure can cause cancer or other medical problems, often many years after the exposure occurs. Victims usually need assistance in proving that their medical condition is linked to their military service to obtain benefits based on toxic exposure.
- Spinal injuries – Spinal injuries may occur as a result of gunshot wounds or explosions, falls or a variety of other battlefield incidents. A spinal injury can result in permanent paralysis below the area of the spine where the injury occurred.
- Agent Orange – Agent Orange was used in Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and on various military bases for many years. Older veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may develop leukemia, peripheral neuropathy, Hodgkin’s disease, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer, respiratory cancer, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft tissue sarcoma and other medical problems.
- Gunshot injuries -The symptoms of a gunshot injury obtained during combat will vary, depending upon where the injury occurred and the extent of the damage done by the shooting.
Types of Mental Disabilities
Many soldiers also suffer psychiatric disorders that can cause impairment after leaving the service. One of the most common types of mental impairments or disabilities that veterans experience is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing trauma. A person suffering from PTSD can experience ongoing confusion, anger, fear and flashbacks. Sometimes, PTSD can last for months or even years.
Many vets suffer from PTSD, with some estimates indicating that as many as 11-20 percent of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have this anxiety disorder.
In many cases, it is more challenging to prove that a mental disability entitles a veteran to benefits. For example, there are three separate elements of a PTSD claim that must be proven in order to qualify for a total disability rating.
First, you must prove you have a current active PTSD diagnosis from a mental health professional. Next, you must prove that the PTSD was caused by an in-service stressor, such as a traumatic incident or event that occurred when you were performing military service. When you witness an accident or engage in active combat, this can constitute an in-service stressor. Those who have never served in combat may still be able to qualify for disability based on PTSD, but these types of cases are the most difficult of all to prove.
Finally, the third requirement for a PTSD claim is demonstrating that your in-service stressor was the direct or proximate cause of the PTSD. Typically, a mental health professional or other expert will need to be consulted to attest to the fact that your PTSD stems directly from something that occurred when you were serving your country.
Other types of mental disorders and disabilities may also make you eligible for veteran’s benefits, including:
- Dissociative disorders, such as amnesia or depersonalization disorder.
- Mood disorders, such as depression.
- Chronic adjustment disorder, which refers to an ongoing problem readjusting to normal society and which can have symptoms that include anxiety and depression.
- Dementia or cognitive disorders.
- Anxiety disorders. While PTSD is the most well-known anxiety disorder for veterans, others can include agoraphobia and panic disorder.
These are just some examples of the types of mental conditions that can make a veteran eligible for benefits. The key will be showing that the disability is related to military service and demonstrating the extent of impairment that the disability causes.
Our Experienced Texas Disabled Veterans’ Benefits Lawyers Can Help
For a free evaluation of your claim, contact our Texas veterans’ benefits lawyers toll free at 800-880-5100 or use our online contact form.