Jul 12, 2010 7:49 PM by Matt Stafford

Looking forward to new V.A. regulations

There are new guidelines in place that will help soldiers file claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, one of the most common after effects of war.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs signed off on the change today, to try and streamline the process.

For one local man, there is now hope after repeated denials.

Curtis Wilson served in the Army, being deployed in the 90s and then again early in the on-going fight in Iraq.

"It's a random thing, they attacked wherever they could," Wilson says of his time in combat. "It's basically like attack and run."

Since his service Wilson has had physical issues, and he's gotten help from Veterans Affairs. However, the injuries inside his head -- the ones that are harder to diagnose -- stand in his way the most.

"It's very distracting as you're trying to re-cope with life after coming back from a combat situation."

Often fighting nightmares and depression, he's had trouble readjusting. Claims filed with the V.A. all come back denied.

"Right now I've been fighting for like six plus years and I'm not getting any results," Wilson says. He adds that they're always pushing him for more evidence of the stresses he faced in war.

"Every time I put in a claim they want statements, I give them statements and the claim comes back denied."

Now Wilson sees new hope. New rules with the V.A., as of Monday, reduce the evidence needed for a soldier to claim P.T.S.D.

V.A. officials say it will speed up claim filing time and lessen the requirements for approval; hopefully getting help to people like Wilson, who's happy about the change but says only time will tell if it'll works.

"They only made a short version of it, so we'll have to see what happens when the full version comes out," Wilson explains.

In the mean time, Wilson plans to keep trying with his claims.

Wilson advises soldiers serving today to keep track of their records closely. He says even with these new rules in effect, it's always smart to watch out for yourself.


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