Thousands of veterans with PTSD to receive new disability benefits

The National Veterans Legal Services Program announced July 29 an agreement with the U.S. military to provide benefits to more than 2,000 veterans afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The veterans, who filed a class action lawsuit in December 2008, served between 2003 and 2008 and were found to be unfit for continued service due, at least in part, to PTSD, according to an article in the Blog of the Legal Times.

Under the agreement, which still must be approved by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims the military will provide lifetime military disability benefits to 1,029 veterans who were denied benefits despite receiving a disability rating of less than 50 percent, the regular threshold for determining eligibility for benefits. The veterans will also be able to apply for Combat-Related Special Compensation, receive lifetime military health care (TriCare) and be allowed to purchase life insurance coverage through the federal Survivor Benefit Plan.

“These veterans served our country in time of war, but have waited 3 to 8 years to receive the disability benefits which they’ve earned for their service,” said Bart Stichman, co-executive director of NVLSP, in a news release. “Today, a terrible wrong to our nation’s war veterans is being righted.”

The military will also increase the disability rating for another 1,066 veterans who received disability benefits but were denied a 50 percent disability rating for PTSD, which would make them eligible for additional back pay.