Today, Congressman Scott Murphy (NY-20) applauded new rules developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make it easier for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to receive disability benefits. This rule change will potentially affect hundreds of thousands of veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam conflicts. Currently, veterans have to document specific events that might have caused PTSD, like bomb blasts, firefights, or other attacks in order to prove their claims.
"By easing the rules and requirements to prove PTSD for veterans, the VA is helping to ensure that our veterans have access to the benefits that they have earned in service to our country," said Rep. Murphy. "This rule change is long overdue, and veterans will now be able to receive the proper mental health treatment and screening for PTSD suffered on recent tours of duty, and ensure that Vietnam vets do not have to jump through hoops to prove their PTSD disability claims."
Rep. Murphy continued, "With more than 500 newly-returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts from the 20th Congressional District, we need to make sure that they have access to all of the resources they need and deserve. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I applaud the VA for taking this important step in making it easier for our veterans to access mental health treatment for PTSD. I will continue to fight to ensure that all veterans and active military personnel have access to the services and resources they need."
The VA is planning to issue rules ending requirements on veterans to verify specific events to prove and corroborate PTSD claims. This process currently can take months or years. By changing the rules, the process of diagnosing PTSD in veterans and granting benefits will be sped up.
According to estimates based on data from the Rand Corporation of post-9/11 New York veterans, nearly 8,000 suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The RAND Corporation estimates that 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD. Additionally, a Stanford University study projects that in the coming years, upwards of 35 percent of all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses following their deployment.
According estimates based off data from the RAND Corporation data in the ten counties that Congressman Murphy represents in Congress, more than 500 newly-returned veterans in the 20th Congressional District will be affected by PTSD. Information on each county is below:
Number of Post-9/11 Veterans With PTSD (Estimates)
Columbia County 23
Otsego County 27
Delaware County N/A
Rensselaer County 103
Dutchess County 163
Saratoga County 205
Essex County 32
Warren County 58
Greene County 10
Washington County 81