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Breaking Down PTSD Claims: Leveraging Nexus Letters for VA Benefits

May 31, 2024
Elite Medical Review Associates

VA disability compensation is available for posttraumatic stress disorder—or PTSD—stemming from a traumatic event that occurred during your service. If your claim is accepted, the VA will provide you with monthly payments designed to cover your expenses and address the impact your condition has had on your ability to maintain employment.

One of the primary challenges with securing these benefits is showing a link between your PTSD and your service. This can be more difficult than an acute injury like a broken bone, as there are no physical scars you can use to trace your condition to its source. A VA nexus letter from a physician or psychologist could prove that your PTSD is directly related to your service.

You Could Qualify for Benefits for Your PTSD

VA benefits are not limited to physical disabilities. Your mental health can also result in a successful claim as long as certain qualifications are met. First, you will need an up-to-date diagnosis of PTSD from your psychiatrist, social worker, or other qualified medical professional. 

Being diagnosed with PTSD is only the first step. You must also identify one or more events during your service that acted as a stressor. These stressful events could cover a wide range of things, including suffering an injury in combat or being a victim of sexual assault. A traumatic event could be anything that results in severe injuries or sexual trauma. Alternatively, threats of injury, death, or sexual assault also qualify. If you are able to link your PTSD with an in-service stressor, you will be entitled to VA disability benefits. 

There are different pieces of evidence that you can rely on to establish your service connection. This can include statements from those you served with or loved ones who can testify to your changing personality after the incident. Of all the ways to prove your service connection, a VA nexus letter may serve you best.

A Nexus Letter Could Strengthen Your Case

A nexus letter is a document authored by a medical professional with the purpose of finding a connection—or nexus—between your PTSD and a service-related traumatic event. Although frequently authored by physicians, other medical professionals, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, can also write a letter on your behalf. 

These letters are not mandatory, and some veterans are able to obtain benefits without them. However, countless others are only able to overcome the initial denial of their claim with the help of a strong nexus letter. Ideally, the letter is written by a professional with experience in diagnosing and treating PTSD. 

Unfortunately, obtaining a nexus letter can be easier said than done. While any physician licensed in the United States can write a letter on your behalf, many are not willing to do so. Some physicians do not want to take the time to deal with disability claims, while others are prohibited from writing these letters by their employers. 

It can also be challenging to find a doctor who is in a position to provide a strong, well-researched letter. You are best served with a letter from a doctor with experience treating PTSD, and these specialists can be hard to find in some places. 

At Elite Medical Review Associates, we are focused on connecting veterans with the medical professionals that are best suited for their cases. Let our team of professionals provide you with the strongest possible nexus letter.

What Should the Nexus Letter for PTSD Include?

Although these documents are known as letters, they are far from informal. They are more like reports.  This correspondence is typically made up of several pages of important medical details and references to medical research. These letters should include background on the author, details about the information they relied on, and their conclusion on why your PTSD is service-connected. 

First and foremost, these letters must include background information on the author. Their education, training, and experience will play an important role in determining how much weight the letter carries with the VA. In addition to highlighting their credentials, the author should also list all of the resources they relied on to make their conclusion. 

Next, the letter should provide the rationale for its conclusion. This part of the letter ties all the factual information from your service history to the medical research provided by the doctor. They can cite peer-reviewed medical journals and research on PTSD before highlighting how the events you described from your service could lead to similar results. 

Arguably, the most important part of these letters is the conclusion. It is not enough for a doctor—even a qualified one—to list some resources and leave the reader to make their own decision. For a nexus letter to have an impact, it must come to the conclusion that it is at least as likely as not that your PTSD occurred as the result of your service. The best letters explain clearly how they reached that conclusion.

Get the Most From Your Nexus Letter for PTSD – Contact Elite Medical Review Associates Today

A nexus letter for PTSD from Elite Medical Review Associates could have a significant impact on your claim during any phase of the process. While many people seek help with their original application, this type of correspondence can also be invaluable if your claim is initially denied. There is an appeals process available, and providing a nexus letter at that point could result in a favorable outcome. 

Finding a doctor willing and able to author your nexus letter can be difficult on your own. Our team of professionals can ensure your letter is authored by the right person for the job. If you are ready to learn more, contact us as soon as possible to discuss your options.

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