Tyson Manker, a veteran with PTSD, filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Navy. Manker believes that he, and other veterans given a less than honorable discharge because of PTSD and other forms of traumatic mental health issues were unfairly treated.
Manker: Hundred of Thousands of Vets With PTSD Denied Support
Tyson Manker, who jointly filed the federal class action with the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress, is being assisted by Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic. In a statement related to the class action, Manker said, “The American public needs to know that hundreds of thousands of military veterans with service-connected PTSD and [traumatic brain injuries] are being denied support and VA resources because of an unfair discharge status.”
A PDF from the VA that explains benefits for “Other than Honorable Discharges” states that “An individual with an “Other than Honorable” discharge that VA has determined to be disqualifying under application of title 38 C.F.R. §3.12 still retains eligibility for VA health care benefits for service-incurred of service-aggravated disabilities unless he or she is subject to one of the statutory bars to benefits…”
On the second page of the PDF, the document addresses mental health care: “Treatment for mental health conditions may be provided under VA’s tentative eligibility authority (38 C.F.R. § 17.34) to an individual with an other than honorable discharge who presents to VA seeking mental health care in emergency circumstances for a condition the former servicemember asserts is related to military service.”
Naval Discharge Review Board May Be Defying Congress
Samantha Peltz, a law student intern who works with Yale Veterans Legal Service Clinic is quoted in an article from their Clinic webpage: “The Navy is defying the Department of Defense, Congress, and the Constitution in a way that the other Boards are not. In 2017, the Army and Air Force Discharge Review Boards granted approximately 51% of discharge upgrade applications involving PTSD, while the NDRG granted a mere 16% of applications during the same period. The disparity is staggering.”
U.S. Senator and combat veteran Tammy Duckworth supports Manker: “Not every wound suffered by those who serve this country in uniform as obvious as mine, but all of them require care and treatment just as mine did. We owe it to our veterans to make sure they get the care they earned – but too many are denied fair access to the care they need because of an unfair discharge status based in antiquated policies that fail to recognize invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress.”