Vietnam Veteran with PTSD Wins VA Disability Claim

Vietnam Veteran with PTSD Wins VA Disability Claim

Robert A. Friedman, founder and owner of Friedman Disability, describes how he successfully represented a Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in his claim for VA disability benefits. If you or a loved served in the military and are no longer able to work, please contact us to learn more about veterans disability benefits.


Vietnam Veteran with PTSD Wins VA Disability Claim

Hello my name is Robert Friedman.  I want to describe a veterans disability case that we recently won involving a Chinese American.  The reason that I bring that up is because my client, who is Chinese American, was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War.  When he arrived at basic training because of his Asian ancestry he was often picked upon by his Sergeant whenever they did martial arts drills he was labeled the victim.  He was often threatened by other soldiers because the Vietnam War and the enemy were Vietnamese Asians.

In order to establish service connection we had to show that these events occurred and, of course, there was no record of it.  In effect by finding that these stressful events occurred which eventually resulted in PTSD, the VA had to acknowledge in a way that at least some of its soldiers were racist.

The client applied for benefits in the early 90’s and was denied.  He came to me when he was as the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims.  We obtained a remand and we went back to the Seattle Regional office for adjudication.  As part of the development of his claim we obtained a consultive psychiatric evaluation, definitely diagnosing with PTSD and describing that the reporting stressor was sufficient enough to cause the illness of PTSD.

The VA, as many of you know, you have to demonstrate in these types of cases that these events which he alleged actually occurred.  How did we do that in this case?  We had several ways of doing it.  One we obtained 5 or 6 declarations from people who knew my client before he entered the military and then immediately after he was discharged.  The declarations showed the changed in his behavior and that he had become much more reclusive, fearful, anxious and isolative.

Second he had gone AWOL for 30 days about a year before his discharge.  We had explanations from the client’s mother saying that he had gone AWOL and describing that he didn’t want to go back. He only went back because his father urged him to do so for honor.

We also showed that he had a demotion in rank and with these events according to the VA rules they were sufficient to prove that the stressor occurred.  Because his PTSD was of such severity the examining psychiatrist found he was unable to work.  We were able to establish and obtain for him a total disability rating for individual unemployability and he received over $250,000 in past due benefits.