Armed Forces News

Former soldiers who left the service because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other conditions related to behavioral health could soon see their discharges reviewed and upgraded.

Following guidelines set forth by the settlement of a class-action lawsuit, the Army has agreed to automatically reconsider Army Discharge Review Board decisions that took place between April 17, 2011 and effective settlement dates of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who received less than fully honorable discharges. Under the settlement, discharged soldiers who received adverse board decisions between Oct. 7, 2001 and April 16, 2011, can reapply for upgrades.

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The Army also has made arrangements for applicants for upgrades to appear before the board via telephone. Board members also will receive new training and guidelines that would improve their ability to render decisions in cases involving PTSD, TBI, multi-systemic therapy and psychiatric care, and other conditions relating to behavioral health.

The case that set the precedent, Kennedy v. McCarthy, was settled last April 26. According to Yale Law School, the case was filed by two soldiers – Steve Kennedy and Alicia Carson – on behalf of themselves and a class of 50,000 other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges linked to behavioral-health issues.

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