Proving Service Connection for PTSD (BVA Decisions on Veterans Disability Claims) {Copyright, Vern R. Walker, 2017}

    • [See the LLT Lab's analyses of relevant decisions.]
      • OR [1 of 2] The veteran’s claim is for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the veteran presently has a diagnosis of PTSD supported by “medical evidence diagnosing the condition in accordance with [38 C.F.R.] § 4.125(a).”
      • OR [2 of 2] The veteran’s claim is not for PTSD, and there is adequate evidence supporting the veteran’s claimed present disability.
      • [See the LLT Lab's analyses of relevant decisions.]
          • OR [1 of 2] The veteran’s claim is for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and there is “credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred.”
          • OR [2 of 2] There is adequate evidence that the veteran suffered from the claimed disease or injury while in service.
            • AND [1 of 2] The veteran was “examined, accepted and enrolled for service.”
            • AND [2 of 2] The disease or injury that “manifested or was incurred in service” “was not noted upon entry.”
                • AND [1 of 2] The veteran served “in the active military, naval, or air service, during a period of war” or “after December 31, 1946.”
                  • AND [1 of 2] “[C]lear and unmistakable evidence demonstrates that the injury or disease existed before acceptance and enrollment.” [See relevant decisions.]
                  • AND [2 of 2] “[C]lear and unmistakable evidence demonstrates that … the injury or disease was not aggravated by such service.”
                • AND [1 of 2] The veteran served “in the active military, naval, or air service for six months or more,” “during other than a period of war” and before December 7, 1941.
                • AND [2 of 2] “[E]vidence or medical judgment is such as to warrant a finding that the injury or disease existed before acceptance and enrollment.”
          • OR [2 of 2] There is adequate affirmative evidence that the injury or disease did not preexist entry into service.
      • [See the LLT Lab's analyses of relevant decisions.]
        • AND [1 of 2] The injury or disease preexisted entry into service.
            • OR [1 of 2] “[S]ymptomatic manifestations of a preexisting disease or injury [developed] during or proximately following action with the enemy or following a status as a prisoner of war.”
              • AND [1 of 2] The veteran served in wartime, or in peacetime service after December 31, 1946.
              • AND [2 of 2] “[T]here [was] an increase in disability during such service.”
              • REBUT Based on “[c]lear and unmistakable evidence (obvious or manifest)” that is “undebatable,” “there is a specific finding that the increase in disability is due to the natural progress of the disease.”
            • AND [1 of 2] The veteran served in peacetime service prior to December 7, 1941.
            • AND [2 of 2] “[T]here [was] an increase in disability during such service.”
              • “[T]he available evidence of a nature generally acceptable as competent shows that the increase in severity of a disease or injury or acceleration in progress was that normally to be expected by reason of the inherent character of the condition, aside from any extraneous or contributing cause or influence peculiar to military service.”
      • REBUT “[T]he disability is a result of the veteran’s own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.”
    • [See the LLT Lab's analyses of relevant decisions.]
      • OR [1 of 2] The veteran’s claim is for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and there is “a link, established by medical evidence, between current symptoms and an in-service stressor.”
      • OR [2 of 2] The veteran’s claim is not for PTSD, and there is adequate evidence of a causal relationship or nexus.