Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fort Carson Soldiers Treated Other Than Honorable

Fort Carson soldiers facing other than honorable discharges struggling
The Associated Press
October 25, 2015
Jerrald Jensen breaks down in the garage of his Central City, Colo., home on Sept. 1 while talking about his struggles since he was discharged from the Army two years ago. He is still toothless from a roadside bomb that blew off parts of his face in 2007.
(Photo: Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two of three Fort Carson soldiers who faced other-than-honorable discharges over the past few years say they still struggle, despite getting federal benefits to help cover medical costs, because the discharge also affects pensions and other benefits earned for service.

Joe Moore, a Maryland lawyer who argues veterans claims cases, said the agency can't change a soldier's military discharge status, but it can go ahead and award benefits.

"(The) VA doesn't like to re-characterize discharges," he said.

Jerrald Jensen and Kash Alvaro said they still struggle despite getting federal benefits to help cover medical costs. Sgt. Paul Sasse, whose case was also reviewed, moved to Washington state and declined to talk.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, says he is concerned that the Army improperly punished troops suffering from war wounds and is considering legislation that would force the Army to review past discharges for misconduct to determine if the behavior was triggered by their wounds.

"No doubt, there is a disconnect about the nature of the discharge and the ramifications relative to veterans benefits..." Coffman told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
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