The Army has planned on medically retiring about 20,000 soldiers it deemed “physically or mentally unfit for duty.” Once discharged, these veterans with disabilities will face other issues inside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation system, according to an article in USA Today.
For some soldiers, with disabling conditions, they could face another 18 months of wait time before they’re separated from the service. Not only is this stressful on those waiting to get home, it impacts this country’s military readiness.
According to Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who’s the Army’s second highest ranking officer, the VA’s disability compensation system is “complex, disjointed, and confusing,”making it increasingly difficult to medically retire soldiers. The sheer bureaucracy that needs to be addressed in this situation is a direct result of this country being in war for the last 10 years.
The entire disability process averages 400 days. Soldiers are required to participate in 30 of them, at the very most. This isn’t a process exclusive to the Army, this is a service-wide issue. Just like when they’re in the military, soldiers are put on a “hurry up and wait” schedule throughout the disability process.
In 2010, there were 15,000 soldiers unfit for duty. This year there are 20,000, which is a 33% increase in 12 months. The Army may be forced to retain some of those troops in non-combat roles because there aren’t enough clinicians and psychiatrists to handle the growing number of soldiers returning from deployment with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.