Veterans secure PTSD compensation

Up to 250 rejected and 150 pending PTSD cases will be looked at, potentially securing the veterans millions in compensation

Soldiers who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after six months of coming home will be entitled to receive compensation after all, the national board of industrial injuries, Arbejdsskadestyrelsen, announced today.

The decision means the board will reopen between 200 and 250 cases involving soldiers who developed serious psychological problems after returning home from combat deployment.

“We have found the cases involving the veterans and will inform them accordingly. And if there are other veterans who have had their PTSD cases rejected, I strongly urge them to contact Arbejdsskadestyrelsen to get their cases re-opened, even if the case was processed years ago,” Anne-Marie Rasmussen, the head of Arbejdsskadestyrelsen, said in a press release.

Under the previous rules, PTSD cases were not approved as work-related injuries if the condition developed more than six months after a soldier returned from conflict zones, but a new report by the occupational health clinic at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen showed every fourth case of PTSD develops more than six months after the traumatic experience has occurred.

The defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), admitted that it had been difficult for Denmark to help the soldiers.

“What has happened is that since Denmark has undertaken a more active foreign policy and has had many soldiers deployed we have had to change the way we do things and learn to take care of our soldiers,” Hækkerup told TV2 News.

Aside from the up to 250 cases that Arbejdsskadestyrelsen wants to re-open, the change will apply to 150 cases currently being processed.

If the veterans have their re-opened PTSD cases approved, they are entitled to financial compensation, although Hækkerup said no amount had been set.

“It really depends on how many cases are approved, but we are talking about a considerable figure in the millions. It can end up being a lot of money, but that is not the deciding element in this case. This is about helping someone who has served Denmark,” Hækkerup said.

Flemming Vinther, the head of HKKF, a union for enlisted soldiers, was pleased about the change but felt it was long overdue and it only came about due to the work of veterans.

”The politicians must be sitting red-faced right now. Even though it looks good now, it has taken far too long and it took a group of ill veterans marching on parliament to illustrate the issue,” Vinther told Politiken newspaper.

Read the PTSD report that formed the basis for the change

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