Your VA disability claim is supposed to be decided on the objective facts of your case. Your service record, your condition or ailment, and the connection between the two should be the deciding factors in whether your claim is approved. Your claim should not depend on your sex, your religion of choice, or on your race.
Yet a recent internal report from the VA suggests that black veterans’ disability claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, were denied at a higher rate than similar claims filed by white veterans.
What the Data Reveals About PTSD Claims
The internal report looked at data from 2011 to 2016 and was published in 2017. Specifically, claims by both white and black veterans for benefits based on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, were examined. The report found that while white veterans’ PTSD claims were denied 43 percent of the time, black veterans had their PTSD disability claims denied 57 percent of the time.
This outcome was particularly unfortunate because data showed that black veterans generally experienced a higher incidence rate of PTSD. In other words, not only do more black veterans file disability claims based on PTSD than their white counterparts, more black veterans see their claims denied.
The report did not look at VA disability claims based on any other condition or conditions other than PTSD.
Causes for Racial Disparity Remain Unknown
While the report identified the existence of the racial disparity when it came to PTSD claims, it did not identify the cause for such a disparity. Overt racism on the part of those who decide claims is a possibility, but it is also possible that institutional structures and procedures cause black veterans filing PTSD-based disability claims to experience a negative outcome at a greater rate than white veterans.
For its part, the VA has committed itself to rooting out the cause or causes of this disparity and eliminating it. Until the underlying causes are identified, though, minority veterans may continue to experience a denial of claims for benefits that their white peers do not.
When to Call Veterans Law Attorneys for Help
Your race has nothing to do with your eligibility for VA disability benefits. Yet, at least with claims based on PTSD, it appears that this factor somehow worked its way into the claims approval process. Racial disparities in approval rates for other types of injuries or illnesses cannot be ruled out.
Therefore, if you are a black or minority veteran, you should be aware that race may have played a role in your claim’s denial. Often, an experienced veteran’s law attorney like those at Veterans Law Attorneys can quickly get to the root cause of your claim’s denial. Once our team understands why your claim was denied, we can develop a strategy to successfully appeal the denial.
No matter the reason why your claim was denied, Veterans Law Attorneys can assist. Get started appealing your denied claim by calling at (866) 894-9773 or by contacting us online.