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VA to ease rules on PTSD

Aug. 25, 2009 at 9:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Regulations proposed by the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department would lower the burden of proof for non-combat vets claiming post-traumatic stress disorder.

Veterans who say they have PTSD would have to show they were in places where events like a roadside bombing might have happened, The New York Times reported. They must also have symptoms consistent with the level of trauma they claim.

Advocates for veterans say that in Iraq and Afghanistan, many soldiers in non-combatant jobs, including truck drivers and supply clerks, have been exposed to high levels of violence.

Veterans Affairs Chairman Eric Shinseki said the Obama administration is dealing with the "hidden wounds of war."

But critics like Larry Scott, who operates the Web site vawatchdog.com, are dubious.

"Whenever the VA touts a proposed compensation rule change that it says will 'make it easier for a veteran to claim service connection,' red flags go up all over the place," Scott said.

The regulations require a 60-day comment period.

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