Episode #5 – Pursuing A Private Mental Health Evaluation

Episode Description

Is pursuing a private mental health evaluation something that would benefit you when pursuing a VA service-connected disability? Today, Robin speaks with one of Vet Comp and Pen’s mental health specialist, Lucas, about what a private mental health evaluation would entail and who would benefit from this evaluation.

Every Veteran case is different. Some Veterans may be a better fit for a private exam than others. Before you request a private exam, you should ask yourself a few simple questions:

• Have you been denied a mental health disability after a C&P exam?

• Is your mental health prohibiting you from living your day-to-day life?

• Have you been diagnosed with a mental health condition while on active duty

and have not been able to receive VA benefits?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might benefit from a private mental health evaluation.

Episode #4 – What Veterans Should Expect Once They Become Service-connected For Mental Health

Episode Description

By nature, a mental health diagnosis can change often. So, what does that mean for your service-connected mental health disability?

In this episode, Robin speaks with one of Vet Comp and Pen’s mental health specialist, Lucas, about what Veterans should expect after becoming service-connected for mental health.

Keep in mind; if a Veteran is not rated 100% for their mental health disability, they will be subject to a C&P re-evaluation. This occurs typically annually but can vary depending on the severity of the diagnosis and the Veteran region.

Time Stamps

[01:02] – Robin and Lucas share some great advice on what Veterans can expect when they become service-connected for Mental Health.

[07:42] – Robin and Lucas clarify once a Veteran is service-connected for Mental Health, the VA will rate them on their first impairment, and it wouldn’t matter if that changes over time.

[10:39] – Lucas sheds more light on re-examinations, why they’re essential, and how Veterans who are considered service-connected for Mental Health can benefit from them.

[16:31] – Robin and Lucas’ message for those who are hesitant to reach out for treatment to the VA because they’re thinking twice about trusting them with their condition.

[21:56] –Robin assures that if a Veteran is service-connected for Mental Health, the VA will only rate them based on their social and occupational impairment. They are not going to change the Veteran’s rating or sever their benefits based on information about other stressors in their life or information from a private treatment provider.

[27:20] – Robin recaps what he and Lucas talked about and reminds Veterans that when the time comes, and they need to file a Mental Health claim, Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting is ready to assist them.

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways

✔️ Be more patient with yourself. Healing is a never-ending journey that’s full of ups and downs. Sometimes the good days last longer, but occasional bad days are inevitable. What’s most important is you get back on track.

✔️ Consider getting reevaluated for your Mental Health every couple of years. Mental Health gets better over time through constant work. Knowing your status is crucial for your recovery.

✔️Be open and honest with your therapist. Help them help you. Build trust and a rapport with them so you can better cope with your healing.

✔️ Avoid social isolation. Seek comfort and support from friends, families, even pets. Don’t think that no one is going to help you. The right company will always be there for you. All you need is to do is ask.

✔️Maintain good relationships with those who care about you. Companionship and communication are good for mental health.

✔️Refrain from stressful situations by being more aware of your trigger warnings. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it’s best to change the course or let it go.

✔️ Seek professional treatment. By law, the VA is not allowed to measure a Veteran’s level of disability by whether or not they seek treatment.

✔️Keep going. Don’t give up on yourself, and know that help is always available during challenging times. There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.

✔️ Tune in to more episodes of the Winning Your VA Benefits podcast to get valuable information on VA Disability Benefits.

✔️ Visit Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting to learn more about the ins and outs of VA Disability claims.

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Episode #3 – What To Know About Military Sexual Trauma VA Disability Benefits

Episode Description

Military Sexual Trauma can be a sensitive topic for many Veterans. In this episode, Robin and one of Vet Comp and Pen’s mental health specialist, Lucas, break down what to expect when filing for MST, who qualifies for service-connection, and the long-term mental health effects it could cause.

Anyone can experience MST, regardless of gender. It is important that Veterans who are thinking about filing for MST understand what they must go through to receive service-connection.

Time Stamps

[00:02] – Robin Hoon, joined by Lucas Wilson, shares this episode will be all about Military Sexual Trauma. It covers the implications and what service members can do to seek help in overcoming the trauma.

[07:03] – Robin expounds that MST isn’t just sexual assault or rape. It includes both contact and non-contact abuse. It can produce long-term damage that can ostracise people.

[11:58] – Robin and Lucas both agree that MST happens to men, too. As medical consultants, there have handled several MST cases that involved men as victims. It can happen to anyone.

[14:28] – Lucas clarifies that MST is not a mental health diagnosis. It is a trauma where a mental health diagnosis can stem from stressful incidents.

[17:12] – Robin and Lucas shed light on the common mental health diagnoses related to MST.

[20:22] – Robin confirms with Lucas that PTSD isn’t usually a more severe condition than anxiety and depression. It always depends on the actual level of social and occupational impairment of the person.

[40:20] – Robin asks Lucas how Veterans who have earned medals on their DD214, for example, are treated differently during their mental health claims.

[28:19] – Lucas shares how it’s difficult for MST victims to trust others enough to share their harassment stories. This makes it more challenging for the medical consulting firm to file claims and help these people.

[37:57] – Lucas explains what service members can powerfully present whenever they file for a MST claim. He shares various scenarios that may help those who are going through a similar issue.

[44:31] – Robin and Lucas play out a scenario where an MST victim gathers enough evidence to prove their claim.

[53:30] – Robin shares a story about a Veteran he’s consulted with on his journey to overcoming MST.

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways

✔️ Become aware of the implications of Military Sexual Trauma. The VA uses the term to refer to sexual harassment cases during military service. It pays to know your own and respect other people’s rights and boundaries during and after your time in the military.

✔️ Understand that sexual trauma can happen anywhere, not just in the military. It doesn’t involve physical contact all the time, either. Sexual trauma includes both contact and non-contact forms of abuse.

✔️ Always ask for consent and vice versa. Sexual activity without consent is rape. Sexual contact without consent includes assault when somebody is intoxicated, contact while someone’s asleep, and using physical force in coercing someone to have sex.

✔️ Never pressure anyone into doing any form of sexual activity. Respect other people’s boundaries, especially when they say no.

✔️ Don’t lay hands or sexually touch anyone in a non-sexual environment. A workplace is a place of respect, and everyone around you should be treated with dignity.

✔️ Avoid making lewd comments about another person who’s only interactions with you are in professional matters. Verbal abuse is considered sexual harassment.

✔️ Report or reprimand right away whenever you witness any form of sexual harassment. This type of behavior should never be condoned to keep the workplace a safe environment for everyone.

✔️ Create a safe space for your colleagues. Work together to build a community that respects each other’s boundaries.

✔️ Encourage anyone who’s experienced MST to seek help and assistance. There is always a support system that can help victims of sexual harassment.

✔️ Reach out to Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting to learn more about your rights regarding MST.

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Episode #2 – How PTSD is different from other VA Mental Health Disability Claims

Episode Description

Do you think you may qualify for a mental health VA disability? Join us for our first episode in our mental health mini-series. Learn how becoming service-connected for mental health is more challenging than it seems.

Today, Robin and one of Vet Comp & Pen’s top mental health specialists, Lucas, discuss how PTSD is different from other VA Mental Health disability claims.

PTSD is a very specific disorder that stems from witnessing a traumatic event in a person’s life. Many Veterans are briefed on the effects of PTSD before leaving the service, but it is not the only disorder tied to a stressful event.

The big takeaway? Many trauma-related mental health disorders don’t classify under PTSD.

Time Stamps

[01:02] – Robin Hoon introduces his guest, Lucas Wilson. He’s the team leader who helps review Veteran mental health cases at Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting.

[07:20] – Robin and Lucas mention how PTSD has only recently been considered a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They also delve deeper into its recent health implications.

[12:52] – Robin and Lucas break the stigma of not asking for help when one is suffering from PTSD or any mental health disorder. They share tips on what to do when a Veteran is looking for a support group.

[18:26] – Lucas sheds more light on the VA’s disability ratings for PTSD. There’s 0%, 10%, 50%, 70%, and 100%.

[26:42] – Lucas describes how PTSD can affect someone in the workplace – not just in a military setting, but even after deployment when Veterans are working for other jobs or running a business.

[33:23] – Lucas shares one of his clients’ experiences with PTSD. He was a Vietnam War Veteran who experienced severe occupational dysfunction when he came back to the US.

[40:20] – Robin asks Lucas how Veterans who have earned medals on their DD214, for example, are treated differently during their mental health claims.

[47:11] – Robin and Lucas share their thoughts about how military combat is going to cause PTSD. Although some people may experience it later in life, not everyone experiences it.

[50:00] – Lucas shares more information and examples of the non-combat PTSD VA claim.

[55:33] – Robin urges Veterans to check their mental health if they’re ever experiencing stress, occupational impairment, depression, and more.

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways

✔️ Release the stigma on mental health issues. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness. There is help readily available, and people who are suffering shouldn’t be discriminated against for it.

✔️ Be more aware of the underlying symptoms of PTSD. Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface right away. It may take months, even years, after deployment for a Veteran to experience some of the signs.

✔️ Help Veterans seek mental health treatment. It’s a challenge to admit they’re undergoing mental health issues. Encouraging them to try counseling and therapy may be a life-saver.

✔️ Do more research and raise more awareness about PTSD. One of the major roadblocks in treating mental health issues is the lack of education about it. When friends and families know more about PTSD, they become a better support system.

✔️ Encourage Veterans to find a support group. As someone who cares for them, sometimes it isn’t easy to make a connection with them. Having them meet others who’ve been through something similar helps fill the gap of emotional support.

✔️ Remain patient and stay hopeful in recovery. Overcoming PTSD is no easy bout, but things get better and work out in the end eventually. At the moment, it’s essential to focus on the present and take baby steps to heal.

✔️ Help a Veteran check their physical health, too. Physical fitness plays a massive role in one’s mental health. It’s beneficial to make sure their physical wellbeing is in good shape.

✔️ Assist Veterans in developing medical evidence that supports their mental health claim. Suffering from PTSD during and even after their service may garner enough support as long as their claims are correct and complete.

✔️ Motivate Veterans to remain physically active. Exercise is a great way to boost your mood. On top of that, proper breathing exercises help relieve anxious feelings.

✔️ Seek help from Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting to learn more about the implications of PTSD treatment.

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Episode #1 – Welcome to Winning Your VA Benefits!

Episode Description

We hear from Veterans every day. Many Veterans tell us that are wrongfully denied VA disability benefits for lack of proper medical evidence and documentation. Other Veterans who reach us are frustrated and feel they are underrated for their disabilities. If you’ve served this great country as a Veteran, you may be seeking help on your journey to secure the disability benefits for you medically, legally and ethically qualify for.

If you’re seeking VA disability benefits, there are many podcasts that can help you understand the system, how it works, and what decisions you can make.

This podcast series will be your battle buddy, informing you about the complexities of developing medical evidence regarding VA disability benefits, which in turn may give you the power to advocate for yourself. We are providing general information for information purposes only.

I’m your host Robin Hoon, Acting Director of VA Disability Claim Strategy here at Vet Comp & Pen. In every episode of our podcast series, you’ll gain actionable knowledge to help identify all of the potential medical disabilities you may qualify for and how evidence-based medical consulting can support your quest.

Our organization was founded to help Veterans benefit from our years of collective experience, that combined with a healthy dose of tenacity, gets results!

We look forward to you joining us every week to learn more about the importance of developing the medical evidence critical to link your disabilities to your military service. I am sure you will find it informative and helpful.

Who We Are and How We Can Help

Need help with medical consulting to support your VA disability benefits? We may be able to help! Get started today!

Video Disclaimer⬇️

Video Description

➡️ It can be difficult to navigate the VA and receive the disabilities you medically and ethically qualify for. Get to know who we are and how we can help you with your VA claims.

In 2015, one of our founders, Gina Uribe, worked as a nurse practitioner at the local VA medical center. She was treating veterans for chronic medical conditions and performing compensation and pension exams to evaluate veterans for disability benefits.

Gina helped her grandfather, Colonel Bob who was wrongfully denied benefits, get to a hundred percent VA disability. She quickly realized many of her patients were also getting wrongfully denied at the VA medical center. She saw that they had chronic conditions that were caused by their military service, and they were still being denied. So she started consulting with them and helping them understand what vital piece of evidence was missing in their case and why they were being denied.

Every year, Vet Comp & Pen helps thousands of more veterans than the year before. There is no doubt in our minds that Gina Uribe and Jim Hill collectively are responsible for assisting more veterans with disabilities than any two people in the world. And they should be extremely proud of that. And I’m proud to be a part of a company that does this for veterans.