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Obama Encouraged By Va Suspension Of Review Of 72,000 Ptsd Cases

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Obama Encouraged by VA Suspension of Review of 72,000 PTSD Cases

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Obama Contact: Robert Gibbs or Tommy Vietor, (202) 228-5511

Illinois Contact: Julian Green, (312) 886-3506

Date: November 10, 2005

Obama Encouraged by VA Suspension of Review of 72,000 PTSD Cases

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today said he is encouraged by the Department of Veterans' Affairs suspension of a proposed review of 72,000 cases where veterans were awarded 100 percent disability for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"Since the day I heard about this wrong-headed, costly and unnecessary review, I have worked with Senator Durbin and others in Congress to keep it from happening," said Obama. "So I'm encouraged that just before Veterans' Day, the day when we call on all citizens to remember the sacrifices of those who fought to protect our freedom, the VA has decided to suspend it."

In December, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Illinois ranked 50th in how much disability pay our veterans received compared to veterans across the country. Upon hearing that news, Obama, Durbin and other members of the Illinois delegation asked the VA Inspector General to investigate the staggering discrepancy.

In May of this year, the VA released the Inspector General report they requested, which indicated that one of the major contributing factors to this discrepancy was that the number of veterans in Illinois who were rated 100 percent for PTSD fell far below the national average - a discrepancy so great that it resulted in 33% of the differential in disability payments.

After the release of that report, the VA proposed a nationwide review of the 72,000 veterans who have received a 100% PTSD rating to determine if they are unjustly receiving benefits.

"For decades, veterans in Illinois have received less disability pay than veterans in nearly all other states. And according to the VA's data, approximately one third of this disparity is the result of differing numbers of veterans who receive full benefits for PTSD. But to cynically use this disparity to cut costs on the backs of veterans who need our help the most is morally wrong. I believe the VA should focus its attention on veterans who may not have received the benefits that they earned through their brave service to our country."

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