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Traumatized Oregon Veteran To Get Access To Medical Care Under New Law


When someone leaves military service on unfavorable terms, they can get one of several different types of dishonorable discharge.

In practical terms, it means they don’t get benefits like medical care.

But for tens of thousands of veterans their service ended through no fault of their own. Now, they could get access to medical care following passage of the Veterans Fairness Act on Thursday.

Bill Minnix petitioned the VA to reevaluate his discharge status. Earlier this year, the VA agreed to change his discharge status to honorable, making Minnix eligible for benefits.

Bill Minnix petitioned the VA to reevaluate his discharge status. Earlier this year, the VA agreed to change his discharge status to honorable, making Minnix eligible for benefits.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

For example, Tillamook resident Bill Minnix, who suffered from PTSD after being raped several times while in the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s. Minnix shared the details of his experience with OPB in April.

“This is a big step forward,” Minnix said. “It’s almost like many veterans got pardoned today. That’s basically what it is.”

Up to 22,000 Army vets with PTSD or traumatic brain injury have been issued dishonorable discharges.

The Veterans Fairness Act was contained inside a massive defense spending bill that passed both the U.S. House and Senate this week. President Obama has indicated he will sign it into law.

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