July 29th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Settlement brings relief for vets with PTSD

Relief is on the way for  more than 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Under the terms of a class-action lawsuit settlement announced Friday by a veterans advocacy group, those veterans will now receive lifetime disability benefits.

The National Veterans Legal Services Program said the U.S. military violated the law by failing to assign the veterans a 50% or higher disability rating that is needed to qualify for benefits.

"These veterans served our country in time of war, but have waited three to eight years to receive the disability benefits which they've earned for their service," said Bart Stichman, co-executive director of the veterans advocacy group.

"Today, a terrible wrong to our nation's war veterans is being righted," he said.

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Madame Royale

    What our veterans went through, (and are going through) especially the VN veterans, is a national disgrace.
    To all vets:
    Thank you for your sacrifices.
    I, for one, am grateful to all of you.

    July 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MadCharles

    As a "drafted" Vietnam Veteran they only "now" awarded me 10% ptsd compensation for all the ambush confusion and pure hateful return we endured from today's cowardly baby boomer college students of yesteryear. Are Vietnam vets still forgotten ?

    July 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sage Crow

      Please don't give up. After 8 years, of a constant battle with va, my Viet Nam Vet husband was just granted %70. Congress passed and it is law that you guys don't have to have the exact times, names and all that other crap. I wish I could remember the Legislation #, I'm sure you can get it. Please don't give up.

      July 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnest T Bass

      I do have a copy of this legislation. But how to get it to you.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Big Hoss

    Once again, it looks like the Vietnam Vets are being overlooked in their fight for recognition of PTSD claims. I personally spent 4 years fighting with the VA with 2 in-depth psychiatric evaluations of my PTSD. If you understand some of the symptoms of PTSD, you would know that long term memory loss is one of them. The response that I have gotten from the VA is that I could not give them names of any soldiers that I served with who could corroborate my claim. I either could not remember their names, or they were deceased. Thanks so much for your so-called help and understanding!

    July 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadCharles

      quite the sham, isn't it bro

      July 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnest T Bass

      see note above.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sage Crow

    I found my husband in 2002, homeless and living in a tent. He was drafted in 1969. He drove gun trucks through the jungle and witnessed his own man be killed in the back of the truck. He picked body parts off a barbed wired fence, amongst other horrors. We began 8 yrs ago to have him compensated for the damage done to him and the destruction of a promising career in art, not to mention the destruction of his soul. In and out of va hospitas, etc. One hang up after another. One denial after another. Lost paperwork on their part, over and over. Having local police called as he was begging our Dem congressman's office for help!! (Guess he got a little too loud...he probably couldn't hear his own words due to the high-pitched ringing in his ears.) Having children with learning disabilities due to his exposure to Agent Orange (grandaughter with double reproductive organs and 1 kidney) and it goes on. The va consistently denied him due to no memory of names, exact dates of trauma! He had little time in the heat of being shot at to keep a diary! Pitiful how our service personnel are discarded after serving the war monger's greed. The law has since been changed and no longer requires PROOF of where the vet was, etc. PTSD is now recognized without the ridiculous "stressor forms" done in exact detail. Very few people keep records when they're running around the jungle. Including the clerks. Well, after 8 yrs, I can say we finally prevailed! One month ago my husband was validated for his service and his injuries by granting him 70% disability...we're not stopping until they grant 100%, which, in truth, is accurate. He has suffered for over 40 yrs and didn't even know why. Yeah, I'd say 100% is due...long ago. Please spread the word that Congress DID pass and it IS LAW that vets don't have to prove every little detail anymore. Please don't give up Viet Nam Vets...I vowed that I'd die before giving up on my husband and what he is so justly due. Find someone who can help navigate the BS for you. Having been a former Mental Health tech, it was a little easier for me to handle phone calls and paperwork, but it was still daunting and I cried much of the time...but figured I'd go down swingin' if I had to. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP! Don't let them win. The law is on your side now.

    July 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadCharles

      Sage Crow. I've found there are now vet center's in many communities with advocates that cut through the paperwork and keep it on track. When I filed my claim nine months ago the advocate did all the paper work as did they when I filed an appeal three weeks ago. Half of the paperwork he simply threw in the trash. Most of the paper work was to confuse us into giving up. They have direct access to the claim and make sure the process if followed.
      Congratulations on winning part of your battle. Now file an appeal for more. I've learned 70% is the magic number for awards. Sadly, only 10% was probably awarded for ptsd. I want compensation for the past 37 years.
      Most of my award was for Agent Orange. Herbicide exposure is the vehicle for Vietnam Veterans awards these day's. We probably wouldn't have received these awards had President Obama not signed off on the 30 years of court battles shortly after he took office. He did something worthy for Vietnam Veterans & hopefully it was not for his usual political gain. I think for all his wrongs he has shown support for the military and veterans.

      July 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MadCharles

    I just heard Senator Bernie Sanders screaming on the Senate floor veterans won't get their checks this month.
    I just went to the mail box and guess what ? I found my Veterans check...

    July 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. E5Mouse

    God Bless all those who fought in the jungles of Viet-Nam,and the poor people who had to do 3 or 4 tours in Irag,and Afganistan! That is truly wrong for grunts to have to fight that many times,not to mention the nightmares!!! The rich didn't have to go to Nam,and the cowards ran to Mexico,and Canada!!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Samuel

    What a victory, and it's overdue. In 2007 when I was medically retired, the Army had written itself all sorts of "exemptions" and "special memos" that it believed allowed it to ignore the disability ratings set by law for all kinds of conditions (asthma, chronic pain, psychological problems). It basically only paid what the law said they had to pay when a soldier was willing to slog through a years long process of appeals (mine lasted three years). As a soldier you have to obey the laws of the US and of the officers appointed over you, unless you're Madigan Army Hospital review board, in which case you sit on your duff judging the conditions of men and women braver than you to be trivial, write your own rules, and screw the little guy to squeeze medical retirement pay under Cheney's "cost cap."

    Class action was overdue. It's time that the people who started wars started paying for what they cost for the people who fight them. BOHICA Madigan: write yourself a special memo to get you out of the courtroom....

    August 1, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Taz

    I agree – the vets from the middle east should have been given the PTSD rating. My issue is this – why ONLY the vets from the Mid East?

    For YEARS I have been fighting with the VA about my disabilities...It has taken me over 25 years to get my PTSD rating so I don't believe that the mid east vets have a lot to complain about. I am no trying to take anything away from them because they deserve everything that they can get but what about us? I have 4 purple hearts, 2 DSCs and a silver star but that didn't mean anything to the VA all of these years...and, I believe, for one reason only. The current vets are from a war that was
    accepted by our nation – the war that I was in was not accepted and was hated by all civilians, even by employees of the VA. And this feeling is still around. When I go to the VA I still get slurs about the fact that I was in Nam. One individual (employee) even went so far as to state that I should have gone to Iraq. If I had, things would be working out for me with little or no trouble.

    I guess I'm carrying a big grudge but wouldn't you? After 30 years of fighting with the VA I believe that you would end up with a huge chip on your shoulder. The VA is political to the extreme and if the war is popular, then the vets get what they want and need. If the war was not popular, then the opposite happened – and is still happening.

    Sorry – I guess I just got carried away. When people ask me which war I served in I usually just turn and walk away. I am sick and tired of seeing those "looks" in people's faces. I guess the hatred will never die. Hell, we were sent by our government and our government ignored us when we returned. They still are. It's more popular and "acceptable" to praise the vets from the mid east than to even try to help the vets from Nam.

    Yes...I am proud of our new vets and hope that all of them return home safely and receive a good welcome home party. I just hate the way the government, AND THE CIVILIANS, treated us when we returned. Made us feel like dirt. Many of them still to.

    I'd better stop before I get more wound up than I already am.

    August 1, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe Meheski, Jr.

    I am a 100% Combat Disabled Vietnam Marine that feels that befuddled by the inconsistency in treatment among Combat Vets. I certainly do not Wish Any Diminished Treatment of returning Wounded Warriers, and Wish they have all the Success Possible in obtain the treatment that is warranted. What I am having trouble with is that back when I lost my leg, etc., in the Ashau Valley (Operation Dewey Canyon) and was exposed to Agent Orange and to what was described back then as Anxiety Neuroses, because PTSD was not in vogue at that time, it was not until my persistent work with my Service Officer that I was able to get Anxiety Neuroses changed to PTSD retro to the year 2000 when I became a casualty on February 13, 1969 and had to fight tooth and nail to recently obtain a rating of 100% that has been rather stable but not cast in concrete. I have all the symtoms, take all the medication and have Psychiatric support that I clearly evidenced and continue to evidence PTSD, yet the DVA's response to my Claim was to change Anxiety Neuroses to PTSD but without assigning a 100% rating but rather keeping the rating at 70%. What change the name, if it is a PTSD, then call it PTSD and assign the appropriate percentage reflective of the treatment I receive. Again Vietnam Vets seem to have been pushed aside, but I do not take offense with Wounded Warrior treatmetn, they Deserve All the Best in Treatment this Country can Provide, but let's not forget the "Other Wounded Warriors...."

    January 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
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