Non-Cambat PTSD Compensation Awarded

Discussion in 'PTSD' started by RiverRat, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. RiverRat

    RiverRat New Member

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    Non-Combat PTSD Compensation Awarded

    Any PTSD vet who is dealing with or has dealt with the VA for a PTSD claim has been told they have to meet criteria according to the DSM-IV-309-.81 ( I think 309.81 is right) .

    SO...will someone explain to all those vets who suffer from PTSD caused by other than combat situations during their military service how this guy gets awarded compensation when he never serverd a day in combat or even in a war or war zone? The article plainly states that this vet (McCants) has meet the criteria for service connection PTSD compensation. But according to DSM-IV-309.81 he doesn`t meet the criteria.

    Vike..TCM ..you guys are good at this stuff ,maybe you (or anyone here) can help explain this one.

    And thanks Donnie for helping me get this to post.


    From Newhouse News Service
    MOBILE, Ala. โ€” The Department of Veterans Affairs has reversed earlier rulings and granted a rare disability claim by a veteran who says he suffered long-term emotional problems after being waterboarded during a Navy survival course in April 1975.
    The Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of Arthur McCants III, 60, of Eight Mile following a series of stories in the Press-Register, dating back to Dec. 2, about McCants' case.
    Steve Westerfeld, a VA spokesman in Washington, confirmed the appeal ruling in a phone interview this week and said that VA officials considered information in the articles as well as testimony from veterans who responded to the stories and described their waterboardings at the survival school in California.
    "I'm happy. ... I feel a whole lot better," McCants said Tuesday. He said he is scheduled to undergo eight weeks of post-traumatic stress disorder counseling in a dormitory setting at VA facilities in Biloxi, Miss., starting next week. He will also get free medication.
    He said he has struggled for decades with drugs and alcohol โ€” as well as suicidal thoughts โ€” since he underwent waterboarding at the survival school in the San Diego area.
    Westerfeld said the amount of disability payments McCants will receive has not yet been determined. That will be decided by the VA Regional Board in Montgomery, Westerfeld said. McCants could also get back-payment compensation from the time his claim was first denied in 1986.
    Waterboarding is a controversial procedure that simulates drowning; some denounce it as torture.
    McCants said he was in the Navy, undergoing Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training with about 30 others during April 1975. He said that at one point, the course instructors took the role of guards, and the students acted as POWs.
    McCants, who is black, said the instructors strapped him to a board slanted at a 20-degree angle. "Your feet are higher, and your head is lower," he said.
    He said guards told another POW that if he didn't talk, "The black one will suffer."
    When the other POW refused to give anything more than name, rank and serial number, McCants said, "they poured buckets of water over my face." He said the water "was constantly coming" and that he passed out.
    McCants said he regained consciousness just moments later, and the procedure was repeated, only this time water was poured through a T-shirt over his face. "I was now sucking water through the T-shirt. I was trying to break the straps, and my whole body was arcing."
    The next day, McCants said, an instructor threatened to subject him to more waterboarding. "I broke into tears. My knees buckled. I knew I couldn't handle it again," he said. "I would have lost my mind."
    McCants said he presently must live on $1,500 a month: $1,300 in disability from the Postal Service and $200 from the VA for an injury he received during his more than five years in the Navy.
    He said he's facing foreclosure on his home because he has been unable to meet the payments in recent months, and he fears he will have no home to return to after completing the eight-week course in Biloxi, where he will not get a weekend pass until his fourth weekend in treatment.
    Westerfeld said that after the Press-Register articles came to their attention, the case was given priority on the docket because of "financial hardship."
    Along with the articles, the Press-Register sent names and information on veterans who contacted the newspaper following the articles, veterans who said they, too, were waterboarded at the same survival school.
    Among the evidence McCants had previously offered to the VA was a report by a VA analyst concluding that McCants suffered from PTSD as a result of the waterboarding.
    VA officials had said they did not doubt he had PTSD but said in a previous ruling that there was no record of "the curriculum" at the school in 1975. The VA said then there was no proof the PTSD was caused by an "in-service or service-related" incident.
    In its reversal of the earlier ruling, the new ruling concludes, "The veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD that is medically attributed to a stressor he experienced during his service." It adds, this time as a "conclusion of law," that "the criteria for service connection for PTSD have been met."
  2. CEDAR FALLS

    CEDAR FALLS Member

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    One of the things they ask you at a C/P for PTSD is have you been sexual asaulted while serving I think there is a little more to the exaim than combat award ???
  3. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    I'm probably the last person to discuss PTSD with because I simply don't have much of an understanding of the medical issues but medical issues don't have much bearing on evaluating PTSD as all this is left to the medical community. DSM-IV plays no role in a VA decisionmaker's evaluation of PTSD. Once it's diagnosed by the medical experts the VA evaluates it under diagnostic code 9411 in 38 CFR sect 4.130. The stressor is not required to have a combat source. I don't have the statistics but I'd bet there are as many folks awarded SC for non-combat PTSD as those with combast PTSD.

    Personally, I think it should be restricted to combat only but the experts disagree with me. We hear a lot about congress and the veterans commission talking about looking into PTSD awards. This case is a prime example of why that is. You have no idea how outraegous some of these claims can be. I've seen people claiming PTSD because their DI was mean to them. Guess what, they get approved. It's totally out of hand.

    Everyone has PTSD these days. This has nothing to do with VA but last summer one of the local grade schools burned down. When school started last september, classes were conducted in portable modules brought in for that purpose. School administrators hired "grief counselors" to help students get over loss of building, claiming students exhibited signs of PTSD. OFCS!!!

    There's really nothing rare about this case. It's more common than you know.
  4. RiverRat

    RiverRat New Member

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    Cedar Falls..Yes I know three vets awarded PTSD on the sexaul assault thing (2 males ,1 female). But if you read close the subject is waterboarding.. By the way..I was never asked at my C&P exam if I had been sexually assaulted while serving. But then again..if I had been sexually assaulted that person would no longer be sucking air my friend!

    TCM...I`m still lost here..Maybe the DSM criteria plays no role in the VA decisionmakers evaluation of PTSD but it surely has in compensation decisions.

    To explain why this case sounds strange and hit a sore place with me. A person ,that graduated from highschool when I did ,joined the Marines. While in advanced training (stateside)there was a chopper accident(1970) that killed two of his comrades. Some of you Marines may even remember/ heard of the accident. Made the local papers here at home. He was also aboard the crash but walked away with only minor physical injuries. He was in and out of the VA hospital (mental health ward) several times from discharge (`72) to `88. In 1988 he was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA and started receiving treatment. He filed a PTSD claim but was denied. So was his appeal (after several years of BS from the VA) .The reason for denial..because it wasn`t combat related. He never servered in a war theater/ combat zone.

    Over the next few years he was in and out of the VA hospital for PTSD reasons. In 1997, after spending 34 days in the VA hospital PCT/PTSD ward, he came home and shot himself.
    His marriage , his children and his family suffered from his inability to function and provide for them in life due to his chronic PTSD. Then they suffered thru the suicide. They still suffer.

    This case of waterboarding just looks like double standards to me. But then I do have combat PTSD and as you know am compensated for it.Maybe I can`t see something here. I won`t even go into a soldier that was killed by an accidental rocket firing in Ubon,Thailand and the soldier who accidently fired the rocket( static electricity) PTSD comp claim was denied .The reason for denial. Because he wasn`t engaged in combat with the enemy. I have read his claim and the letter turning him down.

    Pretaining to the school burning you mentioned....we had something similar happen here..Not to far from Donnie a highschool was hit by a tornado last year, fatalities,etc. Same thing..suddenly many students had symptons of PTSD. Everyone wants a free ride now days but it seems that a awful lot of the ones who do deserve comp get nothing.
  5. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Your psychiatrist uses the DSM as a diagnostic tool to determine what condition you have and makes his report. It helps mental health professionals standardize their diagnosis. The decision maker uses that report and compares it to the criteria in 38 CFR ยง 4.130 under diagnostic code 9411 to decide how disabled you are and assigns a best fit percentage. The DSM is a tool used by mental health providers to make medical decisions. Decision makers cannot make medical decisions under any circumstances.

    Q. What is the DSM-IV

    A. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSM-IV) is used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. The DSM-IV is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all categories of mental health disorders for both adults and children. The manual is non-theoretical and focused mostly on describing symptoms as well as statistics concerning which gender is most affected by the illness, the typical age of onset, the effects of treatment, and common treatment approaches.

    The current edition of the manual was published in 1994 and lists more than 250 mental disorders. (An updated version, called the DSM-IV TR, was published in 2000 and contains minor text revision in the descriptions of each disorder.) Mental health providers use the manual to better understand a client's potential needs as well as a tool for assessment and diagnosis.

    I couldn't agree more which is why you hear all the noise from Congress, The Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, The VA and others about getting awards of PTSD under control.

    Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is usually diagnosed as PTSD and just about every serviceman that did or didn't get laid against their will is claiming MST and coming away with PTSD awards. People who witnessed a simple auto accident are being awarded. It's become outrageous.
  6. RiverRat

    RiverRat New Member

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    TCM,
    Ok I found my folder with the DSM-IV criteria. I now understand where you are coming from.
    I called the wife of the Marine I described in the chopper crash incident. She tells me she still has all the paperwork from his claim(s). I now have discovered new info . After being denied for the first claim he filed a claim for non-combat PTSD and was denied on that one too. The best I can recall from the phone conversation with her is the reason it was denied was : non-combat ptsd comp is not awarded for accidents,etc unless they took place during combat. Talk about oxy-moroon. Tomorrow I have group therapy ,afterwards I will stop by and read over his old paper work. As I stated he is no longer with us ...but his wife sure feels that the gov has screwed her husband ,herself and her children big time by awarding the vet in the above article with PTSD comp.

    She was the one who brought this article to my attention in the beginnning. I wanted to find something (answers) to help her understand all this. I think the best way to sum it up is the old saying "life isn`t always fair "

    Thanks for the help.
  7. GreenBeret

    GreenBeret New Member

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    I guess I can claim PTSD from my VN era service, but then I could also fall back on my SERE training at Fort Bragg, but worse than that would be the pain they put me through in Recruiter School. Nobody should have to endure that experience. :) Just trying to put a little humor in the thread River. But I know where you are coming from about this PTSD thing. It really has become the most abused diagnosis there is. A soldier walks in to the HQ and says he wants to go on sick call because he thinks he has PTSD. Truth is the soldier doesn't want to do his job and wants to lay around all day in his bunk. Since you can't see outward signs of it many times, you can't call the soldier liar.
  8. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    This is absolutely incorrect. Suggest this woman find a good VSO and file a NOD. If its been over a year since the decision was rendered and the claim is now closed, I'd file a a claim citing "Clear and Unmistakeable Evidence (C&UE) that decision maker disregarded statute and regulations im making his decision. I know of no regulation restricting PTSD to combat only.

    Now, before you run off and tell her that, I'd recommend you get a copy of the decision and read what was claimed and what the VA really said in the context intended. Sometimes civilians read decisions involving military incidents they have no way of understanding and come to the wrong conclusions.
  9. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    It used to be back injuries but now seems to be either PTSD or herbicide exposure claims. Hard to figure out which is more abused. When there is found money to be had, there's no end to the BS laid out to get a share.

    I was once told of a young seaman on messcooking (KP) on a birdfarm on Yankee Station who made an AO claim. To "justify" service in Vietnam, he claimed they woke him up in the middle of the night, loaded him on a chopper and took him to an LZ to be a stretcher beared. Yeah, right!

    This claim was denied and the reason could very well be that no evidence of combat existed. A civilian might interpret that to mean PTSD wasn't granted to non-combat issues.

    Free money caused people to do strange things.
  10. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    RiverRat:

    Here's a link to a BVA decision awarding SC for PTSD due to MST (non-combat). There are many more. Read under "reasons and Bases" what the ALJ has to say about what qualifies.
  11. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    Well, well. Lookie here what I found. I think this is at least one of your boy's BVA decisions: http://www.va.gov/vetapp06/files5/0630663.txt

    It's from 2006 and remands the PTSD portion back to the RO for more development. Not sure when the news article you posted was published. Depending on its date, another citation may have been added and not yet posted on the BVA site. They seem to be about 2 mos behind in their posting.

    This citation doesn't quite tell the story the news article did. You can search BVA decisions on "waterboard". It is the only claim since 1990 using that term. I think this guy is a BS'er taking advantage of news reports about waterboarding in the GWOT.
  12. RiverRat

    RiverRat New Member

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    While my brain is working...

    TCM , the article I posted came from Newhouse News Service and was published in the Mobile, Ala Newspaper about two weeks ago. (McCants if from the moblie area ) Can`t recall the name of that paper.
    It can also be found in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Little different reading there but still same story.

    OK ..I just typed Navy waterboarding case in my yahoo search and got both newspaper articles there.

    Thanks for the link to BVA decicion awarding SC for PTSD due to MST. Headed there now.
  13. RiverRat

    RiverRat New Member

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    Hey GreenBeret,

    Just saw your post. Missed it the first time around. Ahhhh yes. Humor. Man can I use more of that in my life. And yes..seems everyboby wants that "free ride" Myself..I would gladly trade my physical and mental wounds for the ability to get back in the work force. I actually had plans to stay military and retire. Would have retired in `89. But the Farce didn`t want me anymore after I got banged up.
  14. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    I found both the news articles you cited but they came with todays date. I was trying to figure out the time sense so I's\d know if this was related to the remand in the citation from Sept 06 or was it just rehashing the Sept 06 citation itself. Guess I'll just have to wait 2 months and scan the BVA citations again to see if there's a new award.

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