The Veteran’s Affairs Office diagnoses many veterans with personality disorders. A personality disorder, however, is not a recognized disability by the Veteran’s Affairs Office. In situations where a veteran’s behavior becomes abnormal or erratic, military physicians often diagnose a veteran with a personality disorder so that claims can be denied. In situations involving veterans with personality disorders, it is frequently a wise idea to retain the assistance of legal counsel to help make sure that disability benefits are awarded.
The Pre-Existing Nature of Personality Disorders
Statistics estimate that the Department of Defense discharged 31,000 service members with a personality disorder between 2001 and 200, the military discharged 31,000 service members with personality disorders. These dismissals even occurred among veterans who were most likely experiencing the early stages of acquired psychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder. The military views personality disorders as “pre-existing” conditions or disorders with an individual is born rather than illnesses that are acquired during service. The Department of Defense, however, has begun to acknowledge that a diagnosis of a personality disorder is likely to be post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2008, the Department of Defense changed its policies to require a higher level of case reviews in diagnosis reviews especially when a veteran was deployed in a combat zone for an extended period of time. The Army has already acknowledged that this change in policy has resulted in a higher number of veterans being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Existing Personality Disorders are Aggravated by Military Service
In some cases, a veteran might have a personality disorder before going into the service and active duty might have made the condition even worse. In these cases, veterans are often able to obtain compensation on the basis of “aggravated service connections.” To establish an aggravated service connection, a veteran must often demonstrate that they have a current mental illness diagnosis from a medical evaluator, that evidence exists that an occurred in military service made the mental illness worse, and medical evidence exists of a connection between an individual’s mental illness growing worse and the event that happened in the service.
Advice if You Have a Personality Disorder and Are Seeking Benefits
If the Veterans’ Affairs Office denies your claim because you have a pre-existing congenital condition, there are some ways to respond. Some advice that veterans should follow in order to have their claim granted include the following:
Retain the Assistance of a Skilled Forensic Examiner. The examiner can evaluate your medical condition to determine whether any prior diagnosis of mental conditions existed.
Contact a Skilled Veterans Rights Attorney. A lawyer that deals in veteran’s disability rights can prove to be particularly helpful because these attorneys have access to a variety of forensic experts and are experienced in helping veterans obtain compensation.
Retain the Assistance of an Experienced Attorney with Personality Disorder Disabilities' Experience
If you are a veteran who is seeking disability benefits, it frequently helps to obtain the services of a skilled attorney who can help you through the process. Contact the legal counsel at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or its disability arm, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group to obtain assistance with your disability case. Our conveniently located downtown Denver office can be reached at (303) 534-1958 or completing a quick and convenient online form.