WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, commended Veterans Affairs Secretary Peake for agreeing that veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty should be recognized as having PTSD for VA purposes. This decision will end VA's requirement that veterans diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty provide additional evidence of exposure to specific stressors during their service in order to establish their diagnosis of PTSD. Responding to an inquiry from Chairman Akaka, Secretary Peake has directed the VA regional offices to no longer require such evidence but instead to immediately schedule examinations for such veterans in order to determine the severity of their PTSD for VA compensation purposes.
"I am pleased that the Secretary took quick action to reverse this requirement, after it was brought to his attention," said Senator Akaka. "This change provides a fairer process for veterans with service-connected PTSD, and leaves claims adjudicators more time to devote to reducing the staggering backlog of veterans' claims."
Secretary Peake notified Senator Akaka about the change this week, in response to a January 2008 inquiry from Akaka. In his inquiry, Senator Akaka pointed out that VA was requiring veterans already diagnosed with PTSD during active duty to otherwise prove they had PTSD. Senator Akaka requested that VA quickly end this practice.
February 15, 2008