Class-Action Lawsuit Wins Benefits for Veterans with PTSD

It has been said before that veterans were denied proper diagnosis and/or appropriate disability awards for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) acquired while serving in the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Now it’s been proven by a court.  Seven veterans, working with the veterans advocacy group, National Veterans Legal Services Program, filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of veterans.

Some common events united the veterans for whom this suit was filed.  Many of them experienced events in combat which prompted the development of PTSD.  They were subsequently discharged due to the PTSD, but not awarded a disability rating.  The second most common scenario was that upon discharge due to PTSD, the veterans were awarded a minuscule disability rating, but not enough to cover the costs and treatment they needed.  When a service member is discharged due to PTSD, it is legally required that they be awarded a disability rating of 50% or greater.

The terms of the settlement dictated that 1029 veterans who were denied benefits initially upon discharge will now receive:

  • lifetime military disability compensation
  • eligibility to apply for combat-related special compensation
  • lifetime military health care for the veteran, his or her spouse, and dependent children until age 18
  • lifetime commissary and exchange privileges
  • reimbursement for medical expenses for the veteran, his or her spouse, and dependent minor children, retroactive to the date of the veteran’s date of separation from the military


Additionally, 66 veterans were named to receive these same benefits if, when they apply to the VA, they are awarded a disability rating of 30% or greater.

Another 1066 veterans were named to receive an increase in disability rating because they were initially rated at less than the 50% requirement.  If this makes them eligible, they will receive back pay for the accrued difference.


Photo thanks to under creative commons license on Flickr.

16 thoughts on “Class-Action Lawsuit Wins Benefits for Veterans with PTSD”

  1. All well and good, and I’m happy for the veterans concerned. BUT-

    Lets get real here and go back in time a bit. What about the Nam vets who were diagnosed with Personality Dis-orders and bi-polar conditions back in the late 60’s , 70’s and 80’s as well before PTSD was a reality in the VA in the early 80’s? What did these veterans get besides a shot of thorazine or haldol so they could shuffle on out of the VA and live like the second class citizens that they were labled by the media and most of all the U.S. govt. and its VAMC. What about the medications side effects and addictions these veterans received from the VAMC’s “Pill of the month club” -addicted on benzo’s like valium and Zanaax given in 50 mg a day or more intervals.

    Were they ever compensated for what the VAMC put them through and for what our country and its people let happen?

    May we never forget!!

    1. Dave,
      The frustrating part of the story is that this situation will almost always exist. Possibly the best way to look at the overall picture is to see that the VA system is slowly learning from its mistakes and changing its practices. So at least the future generations of military members will receive better care than previous generation.

      I know that doesn’t make the suffering of veterans from our past wars any less severe, it’s just a little sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

  2. Thank you all for helping our veterans & military families…
    My son is a former Marine. He has PTSD though it has not yet been rated yet (still going through process) makes me feel like someone finally cares about our kids…

  3. Dose that mean that I’ll get back pay for PTSD from 06 to 10 I was rated at 50% then this time last year they gave me 100% and unemployable .

  4. I am a vietnam veteran and I was diegnosed haveing ptsd thrity years after the war. I knew I had a problen when I got out of the marine corp in 1969 after serviing two tours. I went to the v.a. hosp. in Mlps Mn. in 1970 I told them I was have proplems sleeping flash backs and more. I spent 10 days being anolized then was told your OK you can leave now.

    I went back to the V.A. in early 2000 and told them I am still haveing problems. I want to a conseler who heard what I was feeling so she thought for her doctoral degree she wouid start a progam for me will after several meeting with her I said enought and stoped the program. I met with a Dr. Phy and afer reading my file in so many words get over it and that I didn,t need any help.

    So I went to a private Phy and recieved treatment for years I finely went back to the V.A. with this information that had been written forn my private Dr. and they accepted the fact that I had ptsd and that I am by polor.

    I never at any time requested compensation for this until my Dr. wrote a letter to the V.A. stasteing the facts. I now recieve compensation. But all those years I requested help the V.A. never responed to my needs.

    I am now coming back to request 100 percent.

  5. I was medically discharged due to PTSD in November,1994, and put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL). I was permanently discharged under Honorable Conditions in 1996. PTSD was the sole reason listed by the Medical Review Board as my reason for discharge. The VA denied my service connection for PTSD in full. However, I did receive a combined rating of 40% due to other medical conditions. I have never received any rating or compensation for PTSD. I was last able to work in Nov, 2003. Since that time I have been fighting for 100% TDIU. After 2 appeals, I am in my 2nd remand and am currently rated at 80 %. Will this lawsuit apply to me since I was discharged before the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

  6. Tanya,

    No, while this lawsuit sets a precedence in asking for backpay and disability % upgrades, it does not specifically apply to your situation. I forgot to include the dates that pertain to this lawsuit in the article (I’ll edit it now that it’s apparent). The time period of December 17, 2002 to October 14, 2008 is named in the lawsuit as applicable for this lawsuit. Additionally, because you have succeeded in upgrading your disability % to 80, you have actually surpassed the 50% that this lawsuit establishes.

  7. **** PLEASE ADVISE********

    I was diagnosed with all the P.T.S.D. symptoms, but not P.T.S.D. within 2 months of my return from the first Gulf War, and was hospitalized for “observation”. was discharged for “patterns of misconduct” 3 months later. I have been diagnosed with SEVERE P.T.S.D.” and still not service connected. Where does this leave me? If it does apply to me

    1. Tony,

      The current system seems to be a lot better about realizing that you’re not going to come home with PTSD and have it be from something else. Do you plan to appeal the “not service connected” part of the VA’s decision? That would likely be the next step to getting help from the VA.

  8. I am a Vet with PTSD. I served 3 tours over seas.I was in the Air National for 23 years. I was not retained once I returned from my last deployment. So I retired. I then went back to my full time job as a Shawnee Kansas county Sheriff Deputy. I was very up front with my supervisors and staff about my condition. About 1 year later I was in a very bad on duty acccident , my ptsd became know not by me but others from old military unit as well as staff from sheriff office. I was bascically force into retirement. Has there been any other cases like this out there. The VA has done every thing the could for me even when my department and unit did not.

  9. I just returned from the Vets Counselor today concerning Voc Rehab.. While in my records he noted that I was 50% for PTSD — when I questioned the rating and told him that I am currently 30% for PTSD. He stated that I should be recieving a 50% compensation due to some recient decision. When asked about the decision he couldnt answer with particulars. He knew about it but did have a lot of information

    So my question is this if my records now indicate 50% and Im only rated for 30% by desision letter of two years ago am I going to get a bump in disability ratings and if so what sort of notification will I recieve —


  10. I am a 1972 to1981 Army Vet with PTSD, UNEMPLOYABLE AND HEPATITIS C-Level 3.Due to the class rating system based upon my income I am unable to get any medical help,medications or counseling for this. I have had to file and await a decision, see two doctors, have lab workups and now I am waiting for a rating officer’s decision. Been in the system for over a year and still waiting. I have 3 doctors decisions on PTSD, Anxiety, Major Depression and Hep C, which leaves me unemployable. I need medications daily and the costs are skyrocketing! HELP ME, PLEASE?

  11. I am 1987 to 1993 Combat US ARMY-Veteran of Desert Shield / Desert Storm with 50 % PTSD rating with Personality Disorder on DD-214 , I have put in a Notice of Disagreement because SSI has declared me 100 % umemployable, it has been one year since Winston-Salem has wrote stating case is still pending , I am service-connected seeking rate increase to 100% with full resoration of full military privilleges that includes back pay for the maximum years possible. Is there help availabe out there to help me pursue. Please reply ASAP
    PS. I also have a Tort Claim against Hampton VA-Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia, almost forgot Congressman G.K. Butterfield’s Office has investigated the rate increase but action as of yet has been other than still pending.

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