Before you read this, understand that this is not “new” for any veteran. Claims take far too long to be approved and the burden is on the veteran. Always and unrightly so. They have to prove everything and meet time constraints or see their claim having to be refiled instead of continued. It took my husband over 6 years and that was back in the 90s. I’ve heard even longer cases when families suffered financially and emotionally. To be wounded or injured while serving this country, body or mind and often both, have a medical diagnosis linking it to service, then enduring the VA rejection of the claim is like a dagger to their soul. Now adding in the color of their skin is a barrier to receiving the medical care and compensation they were promised. This story made me grieve!
Black veterans were more often denied VA benefits for PTSD than white counterparts, newly surfaced study showsNBC News
By Laura Strickler
March 17, 2023 “Ever since I came back from Vietnam, I knew that I had a problem, but I didn’t know what it was,” said one Black veteran.
Richard Brookshire co-founded the Black Veterans Project in Baltimore.
A newly surfaced 2017 internal Veterans Affairs report shows Black veterans were more often denied benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder than their white counterparts.
The analysis crunched claims data from fiscal year 2011 through 2016 and showed that Black veterans seeking disability benefits for PTSD were denied 57% of the time, compared to 43% for white veterans. The report emerged as part of an open records lawsuit filed by an advocacy group for Black veterans.
Terrence Hayes, a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said the agency did not immediately have current data on a racial breakdown of PTSD disability benefits awards and said the agency “is gathering the data and will share it once fully compiled.”
Hayes wrote in an email that the agency could not comment on any ongoing litigation but that VA Secretary Denis McDonough is committed to addressing racial disparities as it relates to VA benefits.
In 2015 he applied to the VA for a service-connected disability claim for PTSD. Nine months later the VA turned him down. With the assistance of advocacy groups, he appealed the VA’s decision multiple times and received retroactive approval last month, seven years after his initial denial.
Forbes told Shaban that he believes racism played a role in his yearslong pursuit of PTSD benefits. “I dealt with it in the military and now outside of the military,” he said. “As a veteran, I’m dealing with the same issues through this appeal process.”
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