PTSD Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Vets Over Less Than Honorable Discharge Status
Two U.S. Army veterans have filed a class action lawsuit that alleges the military branch is failing to follow its own policy of making it easier to upgrade the discharge status for vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Stephen Kennedy and Alicia Carson filed the complaint last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeking class action status to pursue damages on behalf of thousands of other similarly situated veterans.
The plaintiffs indicate that they were both given less than honorable discharges, but were later diagnosed as having suffered PTSD.
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In a 2014 lawsuit, the U.S. military agreed to give ‘liberal consideration” for veterans with a PTSD diagnosis to have their discharge status upgraded following the diagnosis. Many of those veterans were discharged with General Under Honorable or Other Than Honorable discharge statuses. However, the new lawsuit claims that the Army is not following that policy.
The PTSD class action lawsuit alleges that the inappropriate discharge status has affected the veterans’ ability to re-enlist, as well as their eligibility for federal G.I. bill education benefits and scholarships regularly given by veterans groups and other pro-military organization, as well as property tax breaks and other benefits as well.
Kennedy, 31, is a veteran of the Iraq War who was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and founded the Connecticut Chapter of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America. While he is a doctorate student, Kennedy indicates that he has missed out on about $90,000 in G.I. bill benefits due to his Other Than Honorable discharge status.
Although Kennedy achieved the rank of Sergeant at one point, the lawsuit indicates that he was suffering from deep depression and PTSD when he left his base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2009, to go to his own wedding and honeymoon. He was demoted down to Private First Class, docked two months pay, and then discharged. He has tried twice since his PTSD diagnosis to get his discharge status upgraded.
Data from the Department of Defense estimates that nearly 82,000 Army personnel received General Under Honorable discharges from 2002 to 2013.
EthanMay 29, 2017 at 10:38 pm
I served my first enlistment from 2000-2003, and my second independent enlistment from 2005-2006. After serving my second enlistment with the 3-15 at FOB Hope, I came home to a broken family and sleep issues. I had less tan a year left when I failed a drug test and 2as given a less than honorable discharge that had since followed me and negatively inpacted more than one good job.
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