Washington The government is taking what President Barack Obama calls “a long overdue step” to aid veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, making it easier for them to receive federal benefits.
The changes that Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will announce Monday fulfill “a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they’ve earned when they come home,” Obama said in his weekly radio and online address Saturday.
The new rules will apply not only to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but also those who served in previous conflicts.
No longer will veterans have to prove what caused their illness. Instead, they would have to show that the conditions surrounding the time and place of their service could have contributed to their illness.
“I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application,” the president said. “And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.”