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July 24 Deadline Approaches for Iraq & Afghanistan Vets Discharged for PTSD to Benefit from Lawsuit

Released 7/13/10 | Tags: Class Actions, PTSD

Class members can opt-in for guaranteed upgrade in military disability rating that may lead to additional financial benefits and improved healthcare for veterans and their families


WASHINGTON— The clock is ticking for 4,400 veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom and were discharged from military service due to their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) between December 17, 2002 and October 14, 2008, without the benefits to which they were entitled. 

These veterans have until July 24, 2010 to opt-in to a class action lawsuit that will potentially lead to the military retirement and healthcare benefits that they should have received. Class notices were mailed to 4,400 veterans beginning in January 2010. 

Eligible veterans who join the suit will be entitled to review of their PTSD disability rating by the military on a priority basis, a guaranteed correction of military records to show their rating for PTSD was at least 50% for the six-month period following the date of release from military service, as well as a determination of whether the new rating should be permanently increased, decreased, or remain the same after the six-month period. 

“No class member who opts in to the lawsuit will risk losing any other military or VA benefits that he or she is already receiving,” said Bart Stichman, co-executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, which filed the lawsuit in December 2008 with the assistance of pro-bono counsel Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP.

“Nearly all class members who have already gone through the prioritized review with the military have received higher disability ratings and better benefits,” said Stichman. “We stand ready to offer legal counseling at no charge to help every veteran who qualifies as a class member, but they must opt-in by July 24, 2010 if they want to take advantage of the terms we have negotiated with the military services.”

After their rating is increased, class members may receive back pay of disability benefits, reimbursement for health care expenses the military should have covered, as well as a higher amount of future benefits to which they and their families are entitled—potentially millions of dollars in benefits over time.

One hundred volunteer lawyers stand ready to offer free counseling to all class members. The lawyers for the veterans from NVLSP and Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP are donating their services for free. The lawyers involved say their payment is knowing an injustice is being righted for those who have served our country. 

The disability ratings which are the subject of the lawsuit are critically important to ensuring veterans receive the benefits which they’ve earned and deserve. For years, the law has required the military to assign a disability rating of at least 50% to all veterans discharged for PTSD.  A disability rating of 30% or more entitles a veteran to monthly disability benefits for the rest of the veteran’s life, to free lifetime health care for the veteran and his or her spouse, and to free health care for their minor children.  All of the veterans who qualify as class members for this lawsuit were illegally discharged from the military with disability ratings for PTSD of less than 50 percent.

All individuals who:
(a) served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force,
(b) were found by a Physical Evaluation Board to be unfit for continued service due, at least in part, to the individual’s PTSD,
(c) were assigned a disability rating for PTSD of less than 50%, and, as a result,
(d) were released, separated, retired, or discharged from active duty after December 17, 2002, and prior to October 14, 2008 (regardless whether such release, separation, retirement, or discharge resulted in the individual’s placement on the Temporary Disability Retirement List).

VETERANS WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LAWSUITVeterans who have not received the legal notice, but who believe they may qualify as a class member, should go to www.ptsdlawsuit.com or call 877-345-8387 for more information. 

Lawsuit information is available at www.ptsdlawsuit.com. Press information, more information about Lawyers Serving Warriors™ and the legal complaint for the lawsuit are available at www.nvlsp.org.

Press and media interview requests should be directed to Ami Neiberger-Miller, ami@steppingstonellc.com

ABOUT MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLPMorgan Lewis provides comprehensive transactional, litigation, labor and employment, and intellectual property legal services to clients of all sizes—from global Fortune 100 companies to just-conceived startups—across all major industries.  Its international team of attorneys, patent agents, employee benefits advisors, regulatory scientists, and other specialists—nearly 3,000 professionals total—serves clients from 23 offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.  For more information about Morgan Lewis or its practices, please visit: www.morganlewis.com.


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