Veterans study: Thousands wrongfully discharged


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"The Defense Department violated regulations by discharging thousands of servicemembers under the pretense of personality disorders during the past decade, according to a study by Vietnam Veterans of America and the Veterans Services Clinic at Yale Law School.

The study data — obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests — reinforces previous smaller studies from the General Accountability Office and supports claims by others that the military diagnosed combat veterans with personality disorders to avoid paying retirement benefits to servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While PTSD constitutes a medical disability, personality-related diagnoses are considered pre-existing conditions by the Defense Department.

The data showed that 31,000 servicemembers were discharged from 2001 to 2010 because of personality disorders, a group of disorders in which a person’s behaviors and thoughts differ from their culture’s expectations, causing work and relationship problems.

The Army alone discharged 734 soldiers for personality disorders in 2002, but that number steadily climbed to 1,078 by 2007, according to the report, which was released last week.

In 2007, a series of articles in The Nation and later from other media led to congressional hearings and tighter regulations."


"Eileen Lainez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, told the New Haven (Conn.) Register last week that she could not comment on the report because she had not reviewed it, but said the department periodically assesses its policies on discharges.

“We encourage all separating service members who believe their discharges were incorrectly characterized or processed to request adjudication through their respective military department’s Discharge Review Board and Board for Correction of Military Records,” Lainez wrote in an email, according to the Register."