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Can a war injury jeopardize your right to VA benefits?

A service member injured while serving his or her country should be entitled to medical and/or financial benefits. To the extent that some injuries are permanent and prevent the individual from working, adequate compensation should be provided until the service member is once again able to enter the work force. 

Unfortunately, some combat-inflicted injuries may affect a service member’s performance in the field, potentially jeopardizing his or her right to future benefits. According to reports, conditions like traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder may result in negative behaviors. If undiagnosed, those behaviors may unfortunately be characterized as misconduct.

Depending on the severity of the misconduct, a service member could be discharged. Yet certain discharges, such as an Other Than Honorable discharge or a Bad Conduct discharge, may result in the loss of service-related benefits. To make matters worse, that negative military record could impact a service member’s ability to transition into the civilian workforce, akin to a bad recommendation or termination.

Our law firm focuses on military law. In this situation, we might recommend an independent medical examination about a service member’s injury and its disabling consequences. Symptoms like poor decision-making and concentration, social withdrawal, anger, missing appointments, or memory deficits have all been associated with TBI or PTSD.

If you have been injured and fear that it is affecting your performance, a consultation with a military lawyer can help you understand your options. A lawyer can also fight for a military-record correction if you were wrongly discharged for an injury.

Related article: “Invisible war injury can be root of behavior dubbed military misconduct,” copyright 2016, Law Offices of David P. Sheldon, PLLC

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