Veterans march for PTSD compensation

War veterans argue PTSD often develops more than six months after soldiers return home, but if it does they are not entitled to any compensation

War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder marched on parliament yesterday in protest over rules about claiming compensation for work related injury.

Currently, veterans have to document that they are suffering from PTSD within six months of arriving home from a tour of duty in order to successfully claim compensation for a work injury.

But many argue that this is an impossible task, as it can take several years for the first symptoms to arise.

“We are fighting to the end,” Christian Ring, a veteran of peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, told Jyllands-Posten. “When politicians sent us out, they expected action. Now it’s their time to act. It doesn’t just cost money to send soldiers out, it also costs money to get them home again.”

According to Jyllands-Posten, 72 percent of veterans suffering from PTSD are denied compensation, while in Norway 80 percent have their condition recognised as a work injury.

The employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne), has already called for a study to determine whether PTSD can arise several years after returning from a deployment, after some evidence suggests PTSD can take longer than six months to develop.

“If there are medical arguments in favour of changing practice and recognising PTSD according to work injury law, it would allow completed cases to be reassessed according to the new criteria,” Frederiksen told the Ritzau news bureau.

A recent report published by SFI, a social-welfare research organisation, one in six veterans is either diagnosed with a psychiatric problem, is medicated for a psychiatric illness or is treated for drug abuse.

In addition to the participating in peacekeeping forces in the Balkans, Danish soldiers served in Iraq until 2008, and have been in Afghanistan since 2002.