Friday, March 6, 2015
A recent GAO report found that the Armed Forces cannot count the number of troops who have been discharged for mental health problems that, in the military’s estimation, did not rise to the level of a disability. When servicemembers are discharged for mental health conditions, the Department of Defense has ordered that one of five codes should be used to designate that the separation was for “mental conditions.” None of the branches have been using these codes, making it impossible to count accurately the number of servicemembers who have been separated for mental health concerns.
A Military Times article highlights that this failure on the part of the branches is important because it can obscure the number of servicemembers separated erroneously with no benefits who instead should have been medically retired. With all of the problems that have plagued the services regarding misdiagnosis of mental health conditions, this concern is a legitimate one. Now, how will the DoD deal with this development? Do a blanket review of all discharges that are not coded (a mighty undertaking!)?
See the Military Times article here: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/benefits/health-care/2015/03/02/gao-pentagon-mental-health-discharges/24262045/
See the GAO report here: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-266