Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New VA policy on PTSD

Should veterans diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty have to separately prove PTSD to the VA?

According to VA Watchdog "Yesterday it was reported that the VA had a new policy regarding proof of trauma in PTSD claims. (see

Unfortunately, a confusing story published by the Military Times Group did not mention that the new policy applies only to those diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty.

We now have a clarification from Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Akaka's press release on this matter is here..." "


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Suggested Reading for non-military Types

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has posted a useful list of books for those of us fortunate enough not to have learned about Iraq in person.

* Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective by Paul Rieckhoff

Synopsis: Recounting his service on the front lines in Baghdad as the insurgency emerged in 2003, Rieckhoff provides a fascinating account of the danger and frustrations troops face every day. Chasing Ghosts challenges the Iraq policies of Republicans and Democrats alike, while chronicling the creation of IAVA and outlining the key issues facing a new generation of returning veterans, including an unprepared VA system, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury, suicide and homelessness.

* Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq by Jason Christopher Hartley

Synopsis: "From K-rations to dead civilians to extreme boredom punctuated by moments of extreme fear, Just Another Soldier takes the reader into the day-to-day experience of the Iraqi war. In addition to putting a human face on the Iraqi soldier, Just Another Soldier puts a human face on the country of Iraq; its culture and its people."

* Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops by Ilona Meagher

Synopsis: "Moving A Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops is a grassroots call to action designed to break the shameful silence and put the issue of PTSD in our returning troops front and center before the American public. In addition to presenting interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering with PTSD, this book will be the most comprehensive resource to date for concerned citizens who want to understand the complex political, social, and health-related issues of PTSD, with an eye toward "moving our nation to care" to do what is necessary to help our fighting men and women who suffer from PTSD."


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Some Educational Benefits Issues

According to an article by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

"Today, 1.5 million troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to a very different future than the one FDR made possible for the Greatest Generation. The current educational benefits offered to veterans are far lower than the original GI Bill. Today, after paying a nonrefundable contribution from their first military paychecks, troops can receive a total of up to $39,600 towards their education. Unfortunately, this covers only 60-70% of the average cost of four years at a public college or university, or less than two years at a typical private college.

In addition, structural problems and bureaucratic delays discourage veterans from using their GI Bill benefits. National Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who have served multiple combat tours, typically receive only a fraction of their GI Bill benefits.

Moreover, 30% of troops who pay the nonrefundable $1,200 contribution do not end up using the GI Bill at all. These veterans have paid the government $230 million, but received nothing in return."

Read the entire article:,com_/Itemid,66/option,content/task,view/id,2492/