© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The Coming Home Project was launched by WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil in 2011 to tell the stories of veterans in transition and the issues that matter to them and their families.

Defense Department Settles Suit Over Discharge Upgrades

The U.S. Army via Flickr
Creative Commons
2011 Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade.

Almost two years ago, advocates filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense seeking records for how often veterans with "other than honorable" or "bad" discharges applied for discharge upgrades due to their PTSD diagnoses. Now the DOD will be turning over that information.

Last week, the U.S. District Court in Connecticut approved a settlement which requires the Department of Defense to disclose on a quarterly basis the number of applications each military branch receives when a veteran is seeking a discharge upgrade and the outcome of each.

This is important because veterans without honorable discharges don't get service connected benefits like health care and disability compensation.

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law Schoolrepresented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress. The VVA said that thousands of Vietnam veterans were wrongfully discharged because they suffered from PTSD, at a time when the disorder was not medically accepted.

Michael Wishnie is the Director of Yale's Veterans Legal Services Clinic. In a statement, he said the settlement will allow the public to know whether the DOD is fulfilling its obligations under what's known as the Hagel memo.

In 2014, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a directive that required military record correction boards to give "liberal consideration" to veterans with PTSD who were seeking discharge upgrades.

The settlement will also require the DOD to reach out to veterans who may now be eligible for service connected benefits.

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.