A New Bill May Prevent Less than Honorable Discharges for PTSD/TBI
by Greg McCormack
For those in the military, service can come at a tremendous cost. One study by the RAND corporation estimates that at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or severe depression. Other sources indicate that this percentage may be higher. Unfortunately, returning veterans are not always able to get the medical care that they have worked hard for and deserve. However, a new bill seeks to offer veterans better protections.
The recently introduced legislation aims to better protect returning veterans by ending the practice of bestowing less-than-honorable discharges on soldiers who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The bill is backed by both Democrats and Republicans who have previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq. If passed, an untold number of veterans and service members could be affected.
PTSD can manifest in a myriad of ways and can affect each person differently. Symptoms can include self-destructive behavior, severe anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately, there have been cases of infractions by soldiers exhibiting signs of PTSD leading to less than honorable discharges. According to army information, more than 22 thousand combat veterans have received less than honorable discharges due to infractions such as lateness and alcohol use, possible signs of PTSD.
A less than honorable discharge can affect a veteran’s livelihood for years to come. It may prevent them from receiving full veteran’s benefits and care, which may have adverse and sometimes fatal consequences. A recent article in the Military Times notes that veterans in this situation have a higher risk of suicide. Without the access to healthcare services, veterans who may be in their greatest period of need can find themselves on their own.
Standing up for Veteran’s Rights
At McCormack & McCormack, we believe that all veterans deserve access to the benefits that they have earned. If a criminal offense or infraction is putting your future and your career at risk, contact our firm immediately and tell us your story. As a service member, the charges and punishments you face can differ significantly from those levied against a civilian and it is important to retain the services of our legal advocate who is experienced in these matters. Our military criminal defense attorney is a former member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps and possesses decades of experience helping those in your situation.
Call (757) 209-2390 or request a no-cost consultation online to learn about your legal options.