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 SeattleClouds.com under creative commons license on Flickr.