Congress working to help those wrongly discharged for personality, adjustment disorders

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 09:21:39-04

Jessica Hinves thought coming forward to report her rape was the right thing to do, but it ended up ruining her budding Air Force career.

“I wasn't allowed to stay in the military just because I was sexually assaulted,” said Hinves.

Doctors deemed her unfit to deploy and separated her from service.

Instead of giving her a diagnosis of PTSD and military sexual trauma, they diagnosed her with personality disorder.

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“Because personality disorder is a pre-existing condition, that took away all my benefits from the VA,” said Hinves. “Every educational benefit, medical care, dental care, it was devastating and surreal, after all I had been through.”

Jessica fought the diagnosis and ended up getting her benefits, but so many others didn't have the same opportunity.

Since 2001, 31,000 vets have been discharged due to personality disorder.

“It really set me back in my trust in the military system,” said Hinves.

Now, Congress is trying to help those who have been wronged.

Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2014 Defense Appropriations bill and in it, they give $65 million to the Pentagon to tackle this problem.

Investigators will have to sift through sexual assault reports taken over the years and identify victims that were wrongly discharged for personality or adjustment disorders.

In turn, the Pentagon will then be forced to provide them with proper compensation and benefits they should have received years ago.

“It’s going to change veterans’ lives,” said Hinves. “It will create a ripple effect of people knowing they are taken care of, and veterans are going to trust the system again.”

Now, it’s up to the United States Senate to pass their version of the Defense Appropriations bill, hopefully with this money included.