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As many as 4,000 Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are expected to be impacted by the PTSD settlement reached with the Department of Justice and military on Thursday.
Still requiring court approval in this class action lawsuit, the settlement will provide at least 1,000 soldiers discharged between 2003 and 2008 with lifetime disability benefits, while also increasing disability compensation and retirement benefits for at least another 1,000.
Under federal law, the military is required to give at least a 50% disability rating to soldiers discharged for PTSD, allowing them to access lifetime disability benefits, reports the Associated Press.
As a result of the PTSD settlement, the military will have to reevaluate thousands of discharges, raise disability ratings, and increase or grant disability benefits.
With over 400,000 veterans receiving treatment for war-induced PTSD in 2010, this settlement deals with one of the primary problems facing soldiers in this country.
Despite its ubiquity, the military has increasingly come under fire for its ineffective treatment of PTSD, depression and other mental health issues amongst soldiers--both former and present.
This tension came to a head in May when the 9th Circuit ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to overhaul its mental health care system.
Pointing out that, on average, 18 veterans commit suicide every day, it concluded that men and women, like those included in the PTSD settlement, who do not receive the proper care and coverage have had their 5th Amendment due process rights violated by the government.