Veterans Are Not Applying For Discharge Status Upgrades, Pentagon Blamed
Conn. Health I-Team Writer
November 2, 2015
"Without significant reform within these boards, veterans with TBIs and psychological disorders will be unsuccessful in acquiring discharge upgrades and the attending benefits they deserve,"Very few veterans take advantage of a Pentagon policy designed to make it easier for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to upgrade their discharge status and become eligible to apply for veterans' benefits, according to a Yale Law Clinic report.
At a news conference Monday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., veterans, and Yale law students, blamed the Department of Defense for not adequately publicizing the policy to veterans with less than honorable discharges. Since new guidelines were announced last year, just 201 of tens of thousands of eligible veterans applied for a PTSD-related service upgrade, according to the report. Blumenthal called the statistic "a staggering, outrageous fact."
"Veterans on the streets of New Haven or Connecticut or the rest of the country have no idea about this," Blumenthal said.
"It takes a vigorous and rigorous effort, which the DOD committed to and they have failed," he added.
Sundiata Sidibe, a student in the law school's Veterans Legal Services Clinic, called the number of applicants "miniscule." In previous years, an average of 39 veterans applied annually for status upgrades in connection with PTSD, the report states.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had asked the Pentagon to give the committee a progress report by August 2015 on its efforts to inform veterans about the policy. A report was never submitted, he said.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015
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