Sailors and Marines with PTSD or other trauma should have their discharge upgrade cases reviewed

Navy and Marine Corps veterans who were suffering the effects of service-related trauma when they were involuntarily separated from service – and then tried and failed to have their discharges improved – will have their cases reassessed. .

Under the final settlement of the Manker v. Del Toro, Navy agreed to review terminations of veterans with service characterizations other than honorable or general due to behavior related to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and other mental or behavioral disorders.

“The Court views the proposed settlement of this case as an impressive example of how a class action can be used to deliver substantial justice and advance the rule of law,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Charles Haight. in the signing order. on the plane on February 15.

The Navy will automatically review Naval Discharge Review Board discharge status upgrade decisions from March 2, 2012 through February 15 for instances where the Sailor or Navy has not received an upgrade to an honorable discharge and has been diagnosed with or shown evidence of one of these conditions.

Sailors and Marines whose upgrade decisions were issued between October 7, 2001 and March 2, 2012 are eligible to reapply for an honorable upgrade.

Additionally, the Navy Discharge Review Board is required to ensure candidates have access to video conferencing capabilities from home or another location at the time of the exam. The Navy will also conduct annual training with board members and staff regarding Sailors or Marines with a diagnosis or evidence related to these conditions.

Education, health care and other benefits are not granted to veterans with other than honorable discharges. The settlement paves the way for some of these veterans, many of whom were traumatized defending the nation, to receive these benefits.

The lawsuit was originally filed by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic in 2018, and a preliminary settlement agreement was reached in October 2021.

“The Manker settlement guarantees automatic reconsideration and extensive reapplication rights for thousands of Navy and Marine Corps veterans,” said Alexander Fischer, intern law student at the Veterans Legal Services Clinic, in a press release. “For many veterans, this will mean access to the essential care and benefits they should have received all along.

“This settlement is an important step to better meet the needs of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have returned with serious physical and mental injuries from service,” he said.

Applications will be decided on a case-by-case basis, according to the Yale Clinic.

According to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report, nearly a quarter of soldiers who received dishonourable discharges for misconduct in 2011 and 2015 were affected by PTSD, traumatic brain injury or another health condition. Mental Health.

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