Sunday, September 9, 2012

Honor restored for PTSD veteran with "other than honorable" discharge

Good news for veteran discharged without benefits
More than 20,000 men and women have left the Army and Marines in the last four years with other-than-honorable discharges, jeopardizing their benefits and leaving some of them struggling to find treatment for health problems.
By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter
September 8, 2012

Jarrid Starks was honored with the Bronze Star for Valor but received an other-than-honorable discharge after more than seven years in the military.

Jarrid Starks, a troubled Army veteran who received the Bronze Star for Valor but was dismissed from service with an other-than-honorable discharge, has been granted health-care benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Starks was featured in an Aug. 12 Seattle Times story that examined the plight of veterans whose other-than-honorable discharges have put their veteran's benefits at risk.

Starks had been told that it might take a year or more for the VA to undertake a review to see if he is eligible for benefits.

However, Starks, who requested the review in late May, received the VA decision on Aug. 31.

"I was really happy to get the news," said Starks, who was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and now lives in Salem, Ore. "They are already calling me and getting me set up with health-care appointments."

Starks, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a twisted vertebra and a possible traumatic brain injury before leaving the service.
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