Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bad Paper Discharge

by Jim Fausone

The story is not that unusual, a service member suffering from psychological problems starts to self medicate, gets kicked out of the service and loses access to VA benefits. Veterans advocates see cynical forces at play in the use of administrative discharges for reasons including misconduct, personality disorder and adjustment disorder — defined as an excessive reaction to a stressful event, with symptoms similar to PTSD.

The Department of Defense stands to save between $5 billion and $20 billion in lifetime health care and benefits to the estimated 10,000 to 20,000 veterans with so called dubious discharges. Department of Defense officials have denied they use improper discharges as a cost-saving measure and say discharge policies continue to evolve as they learn more about PTSD and traumatic brain injury. If you like a conspiracy, this has all the makings needed.

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