VA looks to cut paperwork for combat-related disability payments
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department is proposing to reduce the paperwork required for vets to show their experiences in a war zone have caused combat-related stress.
The VA says the change would streamline claims and recognize the "inherently stressful nature" of war service.
Under the new rules, even just the fear of hostile action would be sufficient, as long as a VA psychologist or psychiatrist agreed.
Sen. Patty Murray calls it a significant shift in policy. Too many times, she says, vets have been told "it's all in your head."
A World War II-era law says veterans who "engaged in combat with the enemy" receive special treatment when they seek disability compensation. But the needed paperwork is often hard to reproduce from the battlefield.
Female soldiers and others who served behind front lines have long complained about how hard it is to prove their combat experience.