Supreme Court Denies Hearing on Suicidal Veterans Turned Away from VA

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the landmark case brought by Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) and Veterans United for Truth (VUFT) on behalf of veterans delayed and denied medical care and benefits by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki: No Answer for Suicidal Veterans Denied Care

Originally filed in July 2007, Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki went to trial in April 2008 before Senior Federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti. Despite finding that “the VA may not be meeting all of the needs of the nation’s Veterans,” Judge Conti concluded that the power to remedy the crisis facing Veterans lies with the other branches of government, including Congress and the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In May 2011, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the District Court’s decision, and berated VA for the staggering 18 Veteran suicides each day. However, in May 2012, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of VA.

On September 5, 2012, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth, submitted a petition for writ of certiorari requesting the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s en banc decision. The issue presented to the Supreme Court was whether the Veterans Judicial Review Act allows Veterans to challenge in federal court the systemic delays in the VA’s provision of mental health care and death and disability compensation. The Supreme Court announced that it denied the petition for writ of certiorari, thereby bringing an end to this landmark case.

PTSD and Suicide

The issue of prompt PTSD care is vital for recently returning veterans. Up to 30 percent of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans may return home with PTSD, according to a recent Stanford University Study, or as many as 750,000 of the 2.5 million deployed to war in the past 11 years. A new 2008 law, advocated by VCS, provides up to five years of free VA care after deployment to a war zone. A new 2010 VA regulation, prompted by a VCS petition to VA, provides streamlined PTSD claims processing based on scientific research.

If you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of PTSD or other mental symptoms after military serviceyou are not alone. If your symptoms make you unable to work while you seek treatment, you may also be due VA benefits. We welcome you to complete our free online VA disability case evaluation form or call our advocates for veterans now at (855) 855-8992.

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