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Surge in Diggers' Disorder Claims

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by Roerich, Jan 28, 2007.

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  1. Roerich

    Roerich M.D.

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    Note: I was a bit puzzled by the title of this PTSD news, so after some digging on the Internet I found the definition of a "digger".

    "Digger was a popular term used to describe Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the First World War. Diggers (cobbers) were seen to possess the characteristics of hardiness, the ANZAC spirit, mateship and resourcefulness. The term is still used today as slang for an Australian soldier."

    Roerich

    Michael McKinnon, FOI editor
    January 29, 2007

    ONE in four Australian soldiers who served in Vietnam has made a successful claim for post-traumatic stress disorder.
    Documents from the Veterans Affairs Department, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, reveal 15,000 successful claims for PTSD out of the 60,000 defence personnel who served in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.

    They also reveal that, more than 60 years since the end World War II, a legacy of PTSD is still emerging, with more than 726 successful claims by Australia's oldest veterans between 2004 and last year.

    The documents show Veterans Affairs has accepted 3069 claims for PTSD between 2004 and last year from Australian military who served overseas, including 1637 successful claims from Vietnam Veterans.

    Recent military operations are taking a toll, with 236 claims for PTSD from defence personnel sent to Iraq, East Timor or Afghanistan.

    Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson said yesterday that a "significant increase" had emerged recently in the number of claims, which had been steadily rising since 1995.

    More than 2760 Australian veterans of overseas service have successfully claimed PTSD in the past three years.

    The ADF has been operating at a punishing tempo in recent years with nearly 3000 soldiers currently overseas. The offshore deployment reached a peak of 5000 during the East Timor crisis in May last year.

    Legal sources said PTSD claimants can receive a $100,000 payout and a pension, with compensation depending on the extent of disability, starting at a 5per cent impairment level.

    Mr Billson said PTSD was the "top priority" of Veterans Affairs.

    He said multiple deployments, with soldiers returning for two or three tours of duty, could be contribute to the rise in PTSD claims.

    About 80 per cent of claims from ex-servicemen for PTSD were accepted by his department, Mr Billson said.

    Australia's leading PTSD expert, Alexander McFarlane, said "significantly more" claims would emerge because of Australia's high tempo of military operations.

    Professor McFarlane -- head of the University of Adelaide's Centre of Military and Veterans Health and a senior adviser in psychiatry to the ADF -- said PTSD could emerge long after the events that caused the harm.

    "There is often a long tail to the disorder -- I have patients only manifesting in later age," he said.

    "Someone can function extraordinarily well in combat and break down some years later."

    Legal firm Nicol Robinson Halletts partner Simon Harrison said his firm handled up to 100 cases of PTSD a year, with claims increasing. "There is often an under-estimation of the extent of the damage caused to people," he said.

    "People suffer suicidal impulses, flashbacks, grief, fear, anger, depression, which not only impacts on their lives but the lives of those around them."

    Source: The Australian
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Now let me add something more to this, the truth of what goes on from my own experience and those of my mates who have been deployed in the same locations as I, and the issues at hand.

    DVA state they accept most claims, however; what they state is that they accept most as what is known as a white card. A white card entitles the veteran to free medical for life to do with PTSD only, being medications and anything attributed and proven to PTSD. What they are not doing though, is accepting claims for compensation, ie. pensions. From all the mates I served with in multiple operations, there are three of us that got full DVA entitlements, gold card, pensions, the lot. The rest, being 20+ of my mates, got a white card and told they are not ill enough for the rest. They are the same as me, PTSD from the same operations, just as ill at times as what I get, yet they failed to cross the "T's" and dot the "i's" at some point during their applications, thus they are now tied into legal battles with DVA in order to get compensation for what they have, PTSD. They have been diagnosed because of the same operations I have been, yet mine was processed and theirs where not. Why? Political red tape. The Australian DVA would like to let people think they are doing wonders, but they are suffering the same issues as most countries with all these increases in global operations, thus handing out PTSD to more veterans, they just didn't imagine the problems after the fact.
     
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