Obama Announces New Help for PTSD

Posted July 10, 2010 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama used his weekly Saturday radio address to announce a new process aimed at making it easier for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive benefits.

Obama called attention to a problem that has plagued veterans with PTSD for years: They have been required to produce evidence proving that a specific event caused their PTSD. That practice, he said, has kept the majority of those with PTSD who served in noncombat roles, but who still experienced war, from getting care.

“Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application,” Obama said. “So we’re changing the way things are done.”

Starting Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs will begin providing a streamlined process that makes easier for a veteran with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs.

“This is a long-overdue step that will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, but generations of their brave predecessors who proudly served and sacrificed in all our wars,” the president said.

In the Republican response to Obama’s weekly address, Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) criticized the president and Congressional Democrats for excessive spending and for failing to create more private-sector jobs. In the meantime, he said, the federal government has grown by more than 400,000 jobs.

Democrats “are still trying to convince Americans that their trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ is working. But our economy has lost more than 3 million private-sector jobs since February 2009,” he said. “More government, fewer jobs — that’s not recovery, those aren’t results. They’re just more of the same broken promises.”

Gingrey pointed to a new GOP web forum, AmericaSpeakingOut.com, aimed at helping Americans to better engage with lawmakers. The initiative allows people to submit ideas for a new legislative agenda, regardless of party, and then discuss it with others.

The Georgia Republican said to expect GOP lawmakers to highlight the project in town hall meetings in their communities. The goal, he said, is “to get a real, face-to-face dialogue going about what we need to do to turn things around.”