Decisions on veterans’ mental health are being called into question as a new bill introduced by Congressman Tim Waltz of Minnesota urges the Department of Defense (DoD) to review thousands of decisions for veterans benefits.
The bill would require the DoD to review more than 31,000 records of veterans who received medical discharges after being diagnosed with “personality disorder” or “adjustment disorder”. Veterans who suffer from mental health disorders are typically qualified to receive veterans mental health disability benefits when the disorders are developed due to their military service.
However, personality disorder is considered a pre-existing condition under veteran’s disability classifications, and therefore would disqualify a veteran from disability benefits. Lawmakers believe that many of these veterans may actually be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is covered under veterans’ mental health disability benefits.
Personality disorder causes individuals to have problems relating to situations and people. Some types of personality disorders include:
- borderline personality disorder, which causes emotional instability;
- antisocial personality disorder, which causes patients to react abnormally and destructively toward others; and
- narcissistic personality disorder, which causes an inflated sense of importance and need for admiration.
Borderline and antisocial personality disorder may cause symptoms similar to PTSD, which is why lawmakers and veterans advocates believe many disabled veterans may have been misdiagnosed and their rights to veterans’ disability benefits violated in the process.
If the Servicemembers Mental Health Review Act of 2013 passes into law, it could potentially send those thousands of veterans’ records back into review to see if they are able to qualify for veterans disability benefits. In 2008, a review of records by the Government Accountability Office found that many veterans were misdiagnosed for personality disorders due to a failure by doctors to follow required diagnostic procedures and guidelines.
Veterans’ mental health disability benefits are often available to veterans who suffer severe mental disorders such as PTSD and anxiety. When a mental health disorder is developed due to military service, it may be classified as a service-connected disability and qualify a veteran to receive veterans disability benefits.
The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group is a South Florida disability law firm focused on helping disabled military veterans receive the benefits to which they may be entitled. Contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.