Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans' rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.
They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it's doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses.
In the Army's separations manual it's called Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-13: "Separation Because of Personality Disorder." It's an alluring choice for a cash-strapped military because enacting it is quick and cheap. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have to provide medical care to soldiers dismissed with personality disorder. That's because under Chapter 5-13, personality disorder is a pre-existing condition. The VA is only required to treat wounds sustained during service.
Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can't collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days.
Disturbing breach of our societal contract to provide care and treatment to disabled veterans.
Mar 30, '07
OMG, I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. My husband and I are both disabled vets (him 30%, me 50%) and it has been a real blessing for us in many different ways.
It breaks my heart and angers me beyond belief that my husband and I can get benefits, but veterans that have been recently disabled are not getting the benefits they deserve:angryfire :angryfire :angryfire . It doesn't matter how or where your husband was hurt - if he was on active duty and with very few exceptions, he is entitled to benefits.
Please, do not give up. Keep pestering your senator and congressman. Call the press, beat down the door of your county Veterans Services Officer.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family - as well as all of our military. I will continue to do my best to fight for veterans rights. Hugs.
BTW, I just e-mailed my senator about this issue. Everyone else, please do the same.
Last edit by htrn on Mar 30, '07
: Reason: additional comment