Tags: ptsd | troops | discharged | misconduct

PTSD Troops Discharged for Misconduct, Report Says

Image: PTSD Troops Discharged for Misconduct, Report Says

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By Karl Nelson   |   Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:20 AM

A new report suggests that thousands of U.S. troops with PTSD have been discharged for misconduct over the past several years, raising questions about whether servicemen and women are being inappropriately disqualified from receiving health benefits.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that 62 percent of troops discharged between 2011 and 2015 had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other conditions within two years of being let go, according to CNN.

The report pointed to these "signature wounds" as being capable of altering a person’s behavior, which could ultimately lead to them being discharged by the military.

"Unless the policy inconsistencies are resolved and routine monitoring is undertaken to ensure adherence, the risk increases that service members may be inappropriately separated for misconduct without adequate consideration of these conditions’ effects on behavior, separation characterization, or eligibility for VA benefits and services," the report says, according to CNN.

According to The New York Times, not only do those discharged -- for less than honorable reasons – not receive health benefits, but they also forfeit eligibility for education funding and disability pensions.

"Before, we were speculating. Now we have hard numbers to prove there are this vast numbers of combat veterans affected," said Representative Mike Coffman, a Republican and Iraq veteran who has played a major role in ensuring that veterans receive health care and other benefits, according to the Times. "I think there is a will in Congress to help. There was just a lack of understanding. This lays a foundation we can work from."

Despite these new findings, a Defense Department health official has a problem with the new GAO report, according to USA Today.

David Smith, a physician and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, said the report exaggerated the number of troops affected by miscounting those suffering from PTSD and TBI.

Smith said errors like this that create "the false impression that the majority of service members administratively separated for misconduct had psychological health conditions that would explain their misconduct."

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A new report suggests that thousands of U.S. troops with PTSD have been discharged for misconduct over the past several years, raising questions about whether servicemen and women are being inappropriately disqualified from receiving health benefits.
ptsd, troops, discharged, misconduct
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2017-20-18
 

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