The new rules allow a claim if a VA doctor confirms the symptoms and the stressful experience recalled by a veteran supports a diagnosis of PTSD. Previously, the veteran had to associate a specific experience with symptoms — something many complained was impossible to do.
“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,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said in a statement.
“This final regulation goes a long way to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and services they need.”
PTSD, an anxiety disorder sometimes caused by wartime trauma, can cause sometimes debilitating flashbacks, nightmares, anger and edginess.
A study last year by the Rand Corp research organization estimated about 18.5 percent of the U.S. troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan show signs of either PTSD or depression.