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GAO Report Finds Prevelance of PTSD, TBI and Other Conditions in Discharged Troops

A recently published United States Government Accountability Office Report to Congressional Committees found that a majority of service members separated for misconduct had been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or other conditions within two years of their separation.  The report analyzed those separated for misconduct in the years 2011 through 2015, finding that 62% had been diagnosed with these conditions.  Those separated for misconduct run the risk of losing out on VA health benefits, education funding, and disability pensions.

The most common of the conditions affecting separated personnel were adjustment disorders and alcohol-related disorders.  Sixteen percent had been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI.  The report additionally found that required health screenings prior to punishment were often not being conducted by branches.  This is directly in opposition to Department of Defense policy, which mandates that servicemembers be screened for TBI and PTSD prior to separation and that they receive counseling regarding potential ineligibility for benefits.

In response to this GAO report, the Department of Defense agreed with recommendations to ensure screenings for PTSD and TBI prior to separation, to counsel those being discharged, and to train service members on identifying symptoms of TBI.


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