by Jim Fausone
We see soldiers discharged for or diagnosed with “personality disorder” all too often in our veteran disability practice. As a result, the veteran is not going to receive VA benefits. Personality disorder is a “preexisting condition” so there will be no grant of VA disability compensation. After an article in The Nation magazine, the Defense Department changed its policy and began requiring a top-level review of each case to ensure post-traumatic stress or a brain injury wasn’t the underlying cause rather than a pre-existing condition. The Army had been discharging 1000 vets per year with personality disorder. However, the annual number of personality disorder cases dropped by 75% after the new policy was implemented. Only 260 soldiers were discharged on those grounds in 2009.
At the same time, the number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases has soared. By 2008, more than 14,000 soldiers had been diagnosed with PTSD – twice as many as two years before. The Army is now looking at if it misdiagnosed and discharged thousands of veterans in the last few years. The article attached discusses this problem and highlights the need to challenge a VA denial of claims for personality disorder.