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Posted at 12:51 PM on Monday, July 12, 2010 by post8333WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2010 - The national commander of America's largest combat veterans organization is applauding the Department of Veterans Affairs for eliminating a requirement for veterans to explicitly prove that a traumatic event directly caused their post-traumatic stress.
"From this point forward," wrote VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki in a statement released today, "VA will not require corroboration of a PTSD stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, if a VA doctor confirms a diagnosis of PTSD and the stressful experience recalled by the veteran adequately supports that diagnosis."
Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries, called the VA secretary's decision to ease PTSD claims requirements a sea-change in the mindset of the VA. It follows numerous other decisions that increased the list of presumptions for diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure; increased services and programs for women veterans, veterans who reside in rural areas as well as the homeless; and reduced the size of the claims form from 23 to 10 pages. Tradewell said even the VA's outreach to patients possibly exposed to improperly sterilized equipment at a small number of its hospitals reflects the department's proactive, veterans' first attitude.