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Estate and Elder Law

PTSD Ruling Returns Benefits to Thousands of Vets


The Defense Department issued a memo mandating that service members diagnosed with PTSD receive a 50% rating when they retire. A 50% rating guarantees lifetime TRICARE medical coverage and tax-free retirement payments. While the ruling has helped hundreds of veterans over the past four years, more than 4,000 veterans who left the service between 2003 and 2008 didn't have their records amended by the military corrections board. That was until December 22, when the U.S. Court of Federal Claims settled a class action lawsuit [enhanced version available to subscribers] that ordered the Defense Department to adjust the records of the more than 2,000 veterans named in the case to reflect a 50% disability rating to those diagnosed with PTSD.

Judge George Miller's ruling ordered the military to pay lifetime disability benefits to 1,029 veterans. It also increased the disability rating of another 1,066 veterans who have received disability benefits upon separation, but received a rating below 50%. The ruling also promised benefits to another 66 veterans who were class members, but had not yet completed their retirement benefits application through Veteran's Affairs.

In most cases, veterans will receive back pay for missed retirement payments as well as medical charges they accrued since their discharge. Each veteran with a disability rating above 50% will qualify to purchase life insurance coverage through the Survivor Benefit Plan; lifetime commissary and military post exchange privileges; eligibility for Combat-Related Special Compensation; tax free retirement payments; and lifetime medical care for themselves, their spouse and their children up to age 18.

View more information from Marc J. Soss at and

Marc Soss' practice focuses on estate and tax planning; probate and trust administration and litigation; guardianship law; and corporate law in Southwest Florida.  Marc is a frequent contributor to LISI and has published articles and been quoted in the Florida Bar, Rhode Island Bar, North Carolina Bar, Association of the United States Navy, Lawyers USA, Military.Com, Forbes.Com, and CNN Business. Marc also serves as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve.

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