/ December 19, 2008

Veterans Face Difficulties Collecting Benefits

On the same day that a federal judge decided he would not intervene in the payment of benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, another group of veterans filed suit in response to the military’s ignorance of the severity of their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While the Army had no issue letting the soldiers go after their diagnosis as PTSD sufferers, they refused to provide them with sufficient benefits, an issue that these veterans were not going to let go unnoticed. The five veterans that have come together to file the suit all fought either in Iraq or Afghanistan and have subsequently developed PTSD which disqualifies them for continued service. 

Disability benefits are issued based upon the type of injury that has led to your discharge along with the severity of it and number of dependents with the largest monthly amount going to those with families and very serious injuries. There has been some controversy since the start of the War in Iraq over how PTSD should be categorized and the Department of Veterans Affairs has taken intense criticism for their attitude towards it. Unfortunately, even after orders from the Department of Defense earlier in the year, the Army refuses to give veterans with PTSD a disability rating of a 50 or above ruling them out for lifetime benefits. The plaintiffs are hoping not just for their own good but that others suffering from the disorder will be more willing to open up about it should they win their case. As of now many soldiers won’t admit to their condition at the thought of being jobless, without benefits but a ruling in favor of disability protection for PTSD sufferers could mean these men and women can rest assured.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s decision means that even a ruling in favor of the veterans may have little affect on the distribution of benefits. The courts ruled that they had no place ordering the VA to issue disability benefits and that it was a matter that only Congress could control. Without proper enforcement, the VA could promise benefits all they want without the hassle of actually handing them out. Either way, it should be an interesting topic to follow in the coming months, stay tuned to Fastcase for more updates. 
Source: CNN, Law.com

Comments are closed.