Good News for Veteran Discharged Without Benefits
More than 20,000 men and women have left the Army and Marines in the last four years with other-than-honorable discharges, jeopardizing their benefits and leaving some of them struggling to find treatment for health problems.
by Hal Bernton
Seattle Times, Sept. 8, 2012
Jarrid Starks, a troubled Army veteran who received the Bronze Star for Valor but was dismissed from service with an other-than-honorable discharge, has been granted health-care benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Starks was featured in an Aug. 12 Seattle Times story that examined the plight of veterans whose other-than-honorable discharges have put their veteran’s benefits at risk.
Starks had been told that it might take a year or more for the VA to undertake a review to see if he is eligible for benefits.
However, Starks, who requested the review in late May, received the VA decision on Aug. 31.
“I was really happy to get the news,” said Starks, who was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and now lives in Salem, Ore. “They are already calling me and getting me set up with health-care appointments.”
Starks, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a twisted vertebra and a possible traumatic brain injury before leaving the service.
But during his last year in the Army, he repeatedly went AWOL and smoked marijuana. He ended up leaving the military last spring with an other-than-honorable discharge in lieu of a court-martial, and 90 days’ worth of prescription medication to treat his PTSD and other ailments.
Under federal law, the VA can review the cases of other-than-honorably discharged veterans to determine whether they are worthy of health care and disability benefits.
Nationally, VA officials have said they don’t know the average time it takes to process those claims.
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Administrative separation in lieu of court martial, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jarrid Starks Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Joseph Weeks suicide, Military misconduct discharges, Pattern of Misconduct Discharges, PTSD, Veterans Affairs