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Good news for Vietnam War veterans' benefits

A successful federal lawsuit by a Vietnam War veteran who was denied benefits for 45 years may have opened the doorway for other veterans in Pennsylvania and other regions of the country to get the benefits they deserve. The case involved a man who was dishonorably discharged from military service as a result of post traumatic stress disorder. The fact his discharge was labeled dishonorable has prevented him from obtaining veterans' benefits -- until now.

In this case, the man was removed from military service due to post traumatic stress disorder. Until 1980, PTSD was not a recognized medical condition by the military, which is why his discharge was labeled dishonorable. The wounded veteran was thus left high and dry, and he could not get the medical benefits for his condition after leaving service. 

By current estimates, approximately 80,000 military veterans contracted PTSD as a result of their wartime service in the Vietnam War. Four of them -- including the man in this case -- filed a class action lawsuit last year in a last-ditch effort to get their military benefits. The lawsuit was successful, and the men will now receive their much-needed medical benefits after all these years.

Pennsylvania veterans who have been denied their veterans' benefits may have legal avenues available to help them obtain their benefits. Even those who have received denial letter after denial letter might be able to circumvent the barriers they are facing through the application of appropriate legal measures. Indeed, the law is constantly changing, and hope may still exist for military veterans to get benefits they were previously denied. 

Source: foxct.com, "Vietnam War vets to finally receive benefits after bad discharges", Jenn Bernstein, June 22, 2015

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