Vol. 1 No. 2, Spring 2010; Iraq Veterans’ War with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims Under a Procedural Due Process Analysis
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This Comment explores the Department of Veterans Affairs and its current disability compensation and medical care systems for soldiers who have returned from the War on Terror with mental health disabilities, such as post traumatic stress disorder. More specifically, this Comment analyzes two assertions made by veterans groups — Veterans United for Truth and Veterans for Common Sense — against the VA: (1) there is a lack of neutral decision-makers for veterans who would like to appeal their compensation amount , and (2) there is a lack of an additional procedure allowing a veteran with a mental health emergency to challenge the timing of medical care if he is given a later appointment. These claims are analyzed under a procedural due process analysis by using the three prong test laid out in the landmark Supreme Court decision of Matthews v. Eldridge. Although the first prong of the test is satisfied because veterans do have a private interest at stake, the current systems do not meet the second and third prongs of the Matthews test. The current systems do not create a high risk of erroneous deprivation and adding further procedures to the current systems do not serve a substantial government interest. Nevertheless, the VA needs to strive to be more efficient and effective in the care they provide veterans suffering from mental health disorders , as the numbers of returning soldiers with PTSD are on the rise.