Thursday, May 7, 2015

Vietnam Veterans of America Take PTSD Battle to Court

Veterans Nail Feds on Old Discharge Records 
Courthouse News
May 6, 2015
The groups say they in turn filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act for records showing how the boards adjudicated PTSD-related applications before and after Hagel's so-called "PTSD Updgrade Memo."
NEW HAVEN (CN) - Veterans groups claim in Federal Court that the military is trying to keep a lid on "bad-paper discharges" it handed tens of thousands of service members who likely suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder before the medical community recognized that condition.

Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress brought the complaint on Monday against the U.S. Department of Defense and three military branches.

They say that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs denies disability compensation and other benefits to veterans who received other-than-honorable (OTH) discharges, but that many who received such "bad-paper discharges" are the tens of thousands of servicemembers suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.

PTSD was not recognized as a medical condition until 1980, according to the complaint. 

While Congress has created internal boards to consider applications by veterans seeking to revise their discharge papers, the veterans say these boards "have collectively failed to prioritize or take seriously discharge upgrade requests from veterans diagnosed with PTSD stemming from military service."

From 1993 to 2014, the Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records approved fewer than 5 percent of these type of applications from Vietnam veterans, according to the complaint.

 Crediting a class action they filed last year, the groups note that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a memorandum in September 2014 that instructed the boards to give veterans with PTSD "liberal consideration." read more here

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