Some of you may have been following the VA’s recent amendments relating to disabled Veterans who are going for PTSD Veterans benefits. These changes went into effect in the summer of 2010 and are quite revolutionary in a number of ways. Recently the National Organization of Veterans Advocates, NOVA of which I am a member of challenged certain aspects of the new rule to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This is basically because there are parts of the new rule that help veterans, but other parts that probably do not. The long term effect of these new changes are not entirely clear, but NOVA has focused on the amendment that only allows for VA psychiatric examiners to give opinions on whether a stressor can be validly linked to a Veteran suffering from PTSD. That is to say private examiners opinions on this question will not be receive much if any evidentiary weight. Under the new rules its only VA examiners or examiners that contract with the VA that can confirm a Veteran’s service related stressor for PTSD. NOVA is justifiably attacking this rule for reasons that undermine the rights of Veterans who do go to non-VA mental health providers and can of course opine on matters related to a Veteran’s mental illness. Such examiners often have expertise equal to or greater than VA health providers. In summary, the new regulation is internally consistent with other VA regulations that require the VA to give equal weight to the whole of a Veteran’s file and to give the benefit of the doubt to the Veteran in terms of evidence in a Veteran’s file.