Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a growing issue for many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, but it has existed and affected veterans since long before it became recognized in 1980. During the Vietnam War, PTSD was not recognized as a psychological symptom of warfare. As such, any symptoms of the disorder that led to dishonorable discharge from the military pre-1980 left many Vietnam veterans unable to collect veteran’s benefits.
Recently, as presented by the New York Times article “Vietnam Veterans, Discharged Under Cloud, File Suit Saying Trauma Was Cause,” Vietnam veterans that suffered from PTSD have filed a lawsuit against the armed forces to recover medical benefits that were denied due to discharges related to PTSD. Chiefly, “can they be given a diagnosis of PTSD retroactively, to their time in service, though the disorder was not identified until 1980? And if they can, should recently instituted policies intended to protect troops with PTSD be applied retroactively to their cases?”
The outcome of this case could have a serious effect for Vietnam veterans dishonorably discharged due to PTSD symptoms. If the suit is successful, then thousands of Vietnam veterans dishonorably discharged due to PTSD will have the ability to reapply for lost veteran’s benefits.
As anyone who has experienced this trauma knows, PTSD can be a crippling lifelong condition. Many families and relationships struggle daily because a veteran in their family is silently suffering from PTSD. Signs of PTSD are recurring and distressing recollections or nightmares of a traumatic event, emotional detachment or estrangement, poor concentration, and irritability. Visit www.military.com, an online military community, to learn more.
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, consider visiting an attorney specializing in veteran’s benefits to ensure your right to medical benefits is not lost due to a dishonorable discharge that may have been caused by PTSD.
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References: The New York Times (December 2, 2012) “Vietnam Veterans, Discharged Under Cloud, File Suit Saying Trauma Was Cause”
Military.com “PTSD: What You Need to Know”