Stop Denying Benefits to Veterans with Mental Disorders

Target: U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Goal: Award military benefits to veterans diagnosed with personality disorders.

Nearly 26,000 veterans have been denied military benefits after being diagnosed with a ‘pre-existing’ personality disorder. The military screens each recruit extensively to ensure that they’re psychologically healthy before enlisting, however, so clearly these conditions are not pre-existing. The military must award benefits to these men and women who have served our country.

The United States military does not allow psychologically disordered individuals to serve in the military. For this reason, recruits undergo rigorous psychological screening prior to enlistment. If an individual who is actively serving is later reassessed and diagnosed with a personality disorder, this person is discharged without honor and denied all military benefits on the basis that the disorder was pre-existing. Furthermore, if the soldier was discharged prior to completing their service contract, he or she is forced to return a portion of the re-enlistment bonus. This often forces veterans into debt. How can the military claim that these conditions are pre-existing if they screened these individuals themselves? And even if they did somehow miss the diagnosis during the screening, should the veterans be punished for their oversight? This is nothing more than an excuse for the military to avoid paying medical care and disability, a move that has saved them an estimated 12.5 billion over the years.

The men and women who serve our country risk their lives at the military’s orders. The stress and trauma of war can have overwhelming psychological effects on these individuals, and they deserve our support in dealing with these challenges. By singing the petition below, you can ask the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to award benefits to veterans diagnosed with personality disorders.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Shinseki,

Thousands of military veterans are currently denied benefits on the basis that they have personality disorders that existed prior to serving. How can this be the case, however, when each recruit is carefully screened before enlisting? In other words, the military says that an individual is healthy enough to serve in order to use them, and then claims that they were never healthy enough to serve in order to evade supporting them. This is nothing more than a shameful loophole to avoid paying expensive veteran benefits.

It is generally accepted by the psychological community that while certain people are predisposed to developing personality disorders, the environment they live in is the final determinant. War provides one of the most stressful and traumatic environments possible. It therefore stands to reason that these veterans are casualties of the time they served for our country, and we should honor them for this service. Please end this injustice by awarding military benefits to veterans diagnosed with personality disorders.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: US Army Africa via Flickr.

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One Comment

  1. Any soldier that criticizes the government is now considered mentally ill. These soldiers go and put their lives on the line to protect the rights of Americans, then they come home and some of their rights are taken away. Fight for your rights, fight for the constitution.

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Signatures

  • Alper Arslan
  • Jeanie Streit
  • Daniel Martin
  • Cynthia Hulpiau
  • Robyn Smith-Martin
  • Stefano Serpico
  • Mary Ellen Wagner
  • theodore spachidakis
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