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Exploring Disparities in Awarding VA Service-Connected Disability for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Active Duty Military Service Members from Recent Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Redd AM, Gundlapalli AV, Suo Y, Pettey WBP, Brignone E, Chin DL, Walker LE, Poltavskiy EA, Janak JC, Howard JT, Sosnov JA, Stewart IJ. Exploring Disparities in Awarding VA Service-Connected Disability for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Active Duty Military Service Members from Recent Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military medicine. 2020 Jan 7; 185(Suppl 1):296-302.

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Abstract:

INTRODUCTION: We explore disparities in awarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) service-connected disability benefits (SCDB) to veterans based on gender, race/ethnicity, and misconduct separation. METHODS: Department of Defense data on service members who separated from October 1, 2001 to May 2017 were linked to Veterans Administration (VA) administrative data. Using adjusted logistic regression models, we determined the odds of receiving a PTSD SCDB conditional on a VA diagnosis of PTSD. RESULTS: A total of 1,558,449 (79% of separating service members) had at least one encounter in VA during the study period (12% female, 4.5% misconduct separations). Females (OR 0.72) and Blacks (OR 0.93) were less likely to receive a PTSD award and were nearly equally likely to receive a PTSD diagnosis (OR 0.97, 1.01). Other racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to receive an award and diagnosis, as were those with misconduct separations (award OR 1.3, diagnosis 2.17). CONCLUSIONS: Despite being diagnosed with PTSD at similar rates to their referent categories, females and Black veterans are less likely to receive PTSD disability awards. Other racial/ethnic minorities and those with misconduct separations were more likely to receive PTSD diagnoses and awards. Further study is merited to explore variation in awarding SCDB.





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