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“It’s likely that if the person doesn’t have symptoms when they enter the military and then is exposed to traumatic stress — the two classic ones in the military are combat and sex assault — it’s most likely PTSD,” he said. “When you look at the numbers, it does seem like there is some financial incentive affecting the diagnosis of people who are showing symptoms after exposure to trauma.”

Mr. Jacob, the policy director at the Service Women’s Action Network, said it’s not only wrong to prematurely end someone’s career with a bad diagnosis, but the consequences can reverberate even after that person re-enters civilian life. Those diagnosed with adjustment or personality disorders are denied access to disability benefits or free VA care because both disorders are considered pre-existing conditions not related to service, Mr. Jacob said.

Medical discharges are a worry for members of Congress, who said they believe some troops suffering from PTSD are being discharged for other reasons — and that keeps them from being able to get VA care. Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Republican, attached a provision to the House defense policy bill that would give discharged service members diagnosed with a mental health condition a chance to appeal and to be seen by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

“As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I cannot accept the fact that combat veterans have been discharged who were clearly suffering from PTSD and that they were not only denied treatment before being discharged, but because of the type of discharge they received, did not have access to mental health care after they left the military,” the congressman said in a statement.