What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others' lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.

Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include:

  • Combat or military exposure
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Serious accidents, such as a car wreck.
  • Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake.

After the event, you may feel scared, confused, and angry. If these feelings don't go away or they get worse, you may have PTSD. These symptoms may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities.

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Filing a Claim for Disability due to PTSD

A formal request ("claim") must be filed by the veteran using forms provided by the VA's Veterans Benefits Administration. After the forms are completely submitted, the veteran must complete interviews concerning her or his "social history" (a review of family, work, and educational experiences before, during, and after military service) and "psychiatric status" (a review of past and current psychological symptoms, and of traumatic experiences during military service). The forms and information about the application process can be obtained from The Erie County Veterans Service Agency (ECVSA) by calling 716-858-6363 or emailing us at Additionally, ECVSA can review all possible veterans benefits and programs, including state and local benefits.

The process of applying for a VA disability for PTSD can take several months, and can be both complicated and quite stressful. The Veteran's Service Organizations (VSOs) provide "Service Officers" at no cost to help veterans and family members pursue VA disability claims. Service Officers are familiar with every step in the application and interview process, and can provide both technical guidance and moral support. In addition, some Service Officers particularly specialize in assisting veterans with PTSD disability claims. Erie County Veteran Service Officers will help you navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs' bureaucracy, and our services are free.

In order to get representation by a qualified and helpful Service Officer, you can directly contact the local office of any Veterans Service Organization - or ask for recommendations from other veterans who have applied for VA disability, or from a PTSD specialist at a VA PTSD clinic or a Vet Center.

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Local Resources

Buffalo Vet Center
2372 Sweet Home Road, Suite 1
Buffalo, NY 14228

Phone: 716-862-7350 Or 877-927-8387
Fax: 716-691-6450

Mission: Vet Centers provide non-medical counseling and assistance to war zone veterans and their family members who are experiencing problems and issues related to active duty military service in a war zone or in the course of deployment during war.

Vet Center and PTSD: Many returning war zone veterans will exhibit the symptoms of PTSD such as sleep disturbance, irritability, intrusive recollections of war experiences, isolation, increased aggressiveness, emotional numbing, and inability to enjoy pleasant activities. These symptoms may be acute initially after return from the war zone. They may diminish in time, or they may become long-term issues that affect functioning and quality of life. Vet Center counselors are highly trained and experienced in the assessment and treatment of PTSD./p>

Eligibility: Vet Center services are FREE to eligible veterans and their family members. Eligibility is verified through individual DD-214 or other military or VA record.


  • Readjustment counseling
  • PTSD counseling
  • Marital/family counseling
  • Sexual trauma counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Program- VA Western New York Healthcare System at Batavia

Overview: The PTSD treatment team is experienced in treating PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other disorders. Our professional team includes a variety of disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, nursing, and recreational therapy. The Team will provide you a complete treatment program to meet your PTSD needs. Our clinicians partner with other veterans organizations, community, federal and state agencies to ensure all your needs are addressed and supported.

The Men's PTSD program is located in Jack H. Wisby Jr. PTSD Treatment Building (5) and the Women's Program is located in a separate building on the grounds of the Batavia VA located at 222 Richmond Ave, Batavia, NY 14020.

For more information call:
Dr. Terri Julian (PTSD Program Manager)
(585) 297-1205
(585) 297-1200
1-(888) 798-2302 Ext. 71200
1-(877) 705-5860

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CBS News Notebook: PTSD

A new study found that 1 in 5 U.S. troops suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Randall Pinkston comments.

CBS News Notebook: PTSD

Katie Couric discusses a new treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that may help many veterans returning home from Iraq.

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Recent Legislation

H.R. 952: COMBAT PTSD Act: This act would amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the meaning of "combat with the enemy" for purposes of service-connection of disabilities, specifically, to include "active duty service in a theater of combat operations during a period of war or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities." This expansion would help ease the adverse effects on veterans of having to provide non-essential corroborating evidence of engaging in combat with the enemy when a medical diagnosis is present and the injuries are consistent with the duties and hardship of service.

Track this bill

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Articles from Veteran Services

Please take the time to read Deputy Director Sergio Rodriguez's two-part feature on PTSD in Western New York in the April and May 2009 issues of the Erie County Veteran Services Newsletter: Link to April and May 2009 Issues

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