Veterans With PTSD Win Expeditious Review of Medical Records
The U.S. military has agreed to quickly review the records of about 4,300 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder to determine whether they were improperly denied benefits, the AP/Washington Post reports.
The agreement resulted from a judge's order, which stated that the veterans will be able to "opt in" to a class action lawsuit against the U.S. military that claims that the veterans were improperly issued a lower disability rating.
The lawsuit, originally filed by seven veterans, claims that over a six-year period that ended Oct. 14, 2008, the soldiers received disability ratings of 10% or lower, which reduced their disability payments and other reimbursements for their spouses and dependents, and diminished their ability to receive no-cost health care.
According to Bart Stichman, co-executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, the military is required by law to issue a disability rating of at least 50% if a soldier has been discharged with PTSD.
A higher rating would entitle the soldiers to receive the disability payments and reimbursement benefits for their spouses and dependents, as well as back pay to cover their health care expenses.Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimated that the military could pay out millions of dollars to the veterans, with some soldiers eligible to receive hundreds of dollars or more in additional monthly benefits (Hefling, AP/Washington Post, 1/25). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.