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Combat Veterans to Have Easier Time Getting Benefits for PTSD

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree pushed Obama Administration to expand benefits

Starting this week, veterans in Maine and across the country suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will have an easier time obtaining care and compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Pingree had been pushing the Obama Administration to make this change and apply it to veterans of all wars.

"Before this change, a veteran with PTSD had to provide paperwork that showed a specific event caused the PTSD," Pingree said. "I've been contacted by countless veterans who clearly suffer from PTSD because of something that happened to them in a combat zone, but through no fault of their own they can't provide the documentation."

Under the old system, veterans had to prove that a specific event caused the PTSD, but with the new regulations veterans have to show that serving in a combat zone resulted in a medical diagnosis of PTSD.

Pingree said the new regulations are just common sense.

"When a service member emerges from a combat zone suffering from PTSD, I think we know where it came from," Pingree said. "The veteran shouldn't have to provide any more proof than that."

Pingree had contacted Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki asking him to apply the new standards to all veterans, not just those from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Too many times, veterans from other conflicts--like Vietnam--have been left out when the regulations change," Pingree said. "I wanted to make sure that no one was left out this time."

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