Military using personality disorder diagnoses to deny veterans benefits
March 31, 2007
Support the troops has become a cynical rallying cry when the Bush Administration has chosen to run the "war on terror" expensively abroad fattening the pockets of the military contractors like Brown and Kellogg, and the weapons manufacturers who put him in office, and on the cheap at home cheating veterans out of their benefits by using psychiatric diagnoses of "personality disorder" to refuse them benefits.
Joshua Kors has written a great article entitled "How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits" in the April , 2007 issue of The Nation. Every American who really supports the troops should read this article. You can access it by clicking on the link below.
In the Army's separations manual it's called Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-13: "Separation Because of Personality Disorder." It's an alluring choice for a cash-strapped military because enacting it is quick and cheap. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have to provide medical care to soldiers dismissed with personality disorder. That's because under Chapter 5-13, personality disorder is a pre-existing condition. The VA is only required to treat wounds sustained during service. Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can't collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days. If a soldier dismissed under 5-13 hasn't served out his contract, he has to give back a slice of his re-enlistment bonus as well. That amount is often larger than the soldier's final paycheck. As a result, on the day of their discharge, many injured vets learn that they owe the Army several thousand dollars.
Kors points out that over the last six years 22,5000 soldiers have been dismissed from the military due to personality disorders. This has saved the military over 8 billion dollars in disability pay and another 4.5 billion in medical care for those disabled vets.