Veterans groups claim that delays by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in processing combat-related mental health claims has contributed to the 6,500 veteran suicides each year, and filed a federal court case in July 2007 asking the courts to invervene. Friday — after five years of legal battle spearheaded by veterans advocates Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) and Veterans United for Truth, Inc (VUFT) — the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, let stand a May 2012 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on VA’s behalf.
The 2007 case, Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, sought to hold VA — the second largest federal agency — responsible for the widespread delays and denials in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) associated with service in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which has resulted in an astonishing 18 veteran suicides daily. In June 2008, Federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti of San Franscisco ruled that, though the plaintiffs had shown that veterans endure long waits for medical care and thereby suffer higher rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, an understaffed VA can not remedy the situation on its own. Instead, he said, it requires an intervention by Congress and even the President.
- Supreme Court shuts down veterans’ case for neglect against the VA (rawstory.com)
- Supreme Court won’t take combat veterans’ mental health appeal (news.terra.com)