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The Insanity Exemption to Other than Honorable Discharge for the Purpose of Claiming Benefits: The Role of the Mental Health Examiner

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Abstract

Former service-members are barred from veteran benefits if their character of discharge is other-than-honorable due to willful and persistent misconduct. One exception is if it is determined that the service-member was legally insane at the time of the behaviors resulting in discharge. Offering an expert opinion on a mental state years or decades in the past is complicated. Yet, cases involving such opinions are assigned to veterans affairs-based mental health professionals without additional training or resources. This article fills this gap by discussing the unique legal statutes that define insanity for the purpose of benefit eligibility. In addition, it shares available resources and highlights themes resulting from having opined in such cases and having reviewed 30 Board of Veterans Appeals decisions involving claimed insanity.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jeffrey Garbelman.

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The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (national and institutional). Informed consent was not required as all data was retrieved from public domain databases.

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No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Garbelman, J. The Insanity Exemption to Other than Honorable Discharge for the Purpose of Claiming Benefits: The Role of the Mental Health Examiner. Psychol. Inj. and Law 10, 177–190 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12207-017-9285-7

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Keywords

  • Veterans
  • Compensation
  • Insanity
  • Benefits
  • Mental health