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AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

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  • AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

    We're in a bit of a conundrum. From what we've read it is virtually impossible to get into the Guard if you've ever been diagnosed with PTSD. However, my husband who was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA after he left AD, is a very accomplished clinician working solely with combat veterans, teaches grad school, has two masters degrees, and gives continuing education courses to psychologists and social workers about servicing veterans. He misses being an officer in the Army and would like to join the guard. He's got his physical scheduled in a few weeks. Is it even worth the hassle of disclosing his prior diagnosis if there is absolutely no way around it? I heard they aren't granting any mental health waivers for officers at any level. He thinks because of his education and experience and because it is AMEDD he's got a shot. I've dug up as many military documents/regulations as I can find and read a few discussion boards, but very few refer to officers or AMEDD. He's exceedingly successful on the civilian side, but he's also a highly decorated soldier and I think his heart is still there. If there is no chance, we really need to re-evaluate if this is all worth it. However, if for some reason, they would actually consider a waiver on a case by case basis, then maybe we should continue forward. Any thoughts or suggestions? Working with combat veterans is what he does for a living - along with teaching others how to effectively help them. The ARNG would be fortunate to have him, but rules are rules. I think we're just trying to figure out exactly what the rules are!

  • #2
    Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

    Unfortunately, even with his experience, (going AMEDD Officer or not) he'll still need to meet the general medical requirements for all Prior Service applicants. PTSD falls under mental health issues that are a disqualification and may possibly be under suspension for waivers. I'm not seeing PTSD specifically stated on the suspension list, so I would definitely get clarification from a recruiter. Overall, I think your approach is wise in getting as much information as you can. It never hurts to see what your options are! Just be aware that your final answer may be no, even though he has excellent qualifications.

    Good luck! I'd be interested to hear what a local recruiter tells him.

    EDIT:

    Here's the exact passage in AR 40-501 Medical Standards regulation:

    "k. Current or history of anxiety disorders (anxiety (300.01) or panic (300.2)), agoraphobia (300.21), social phobia
    (300.23), simple phobias (300.29), obsessive-compulsive (300.3), other acute reactions to stress (308), and posttraumatic
    stress disorder (309.81) do not meet the standard
    ."
    Last edited by RyCass; February 13th, 2013, 08:36 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

      And to add, he will need to disclose his PTSD when asked. How can he refrain disclosing, when it is already in his military medical documents which are electronic.

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      • #4
        Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

        Military medical records and VA records are completely separate. And due to HIPPA laws they cannot be shared unless the patient signs off on it. There is nothing in his military records that states he was diagnosed with PTSD or any other medical condition for that matter. However, because he's a man of character, he won't lie...as tempting as it is with the current bonuses. I've seen a lot of conversations on here mistaking this. The DoD and the VA are two completely separate entities. Another common misconception is that a VA disability rating and a military disability rating are the same. They are not. It has nothing to do with this conversation, just a clarification that may be helpful to others. He's going to call his recruiter today. Unfortunately, it appears that the recruiter may be fairly new to the job. We don't mind doing the leg work to get a waiver, if he/she will let us. Both of us are highly motivated intelligent hard working individuals. In fact, I think this may be the first time he's ever been turned down for anything - if it goes that way. But, we'll do our best, put it in God's hands, and go from there.

        I'm not a professional in the mental health field, and quite frankly have no interest in it. However, I have observed that most of the time the strongest men who have had to endure the most horrific violence of front line combat are those who actually seek help, hold their families together, and press forward, working hard to overcome such a traumatic experience. It is often those people who deny that they have issues that turn to self medicating, abuse their children and spouse, and frequently commit suicide. Let's face it, anyone who has ever endured true hand to hand front line combat on a daily basis doesn't walk away from it the same person they were before. Perhaps the DoD would be wise to reconsider how they handle mental health issues, because frequently it is more to the soldier's detriment than well being. Much of the time they have to make a decision to get help or keep their job, and so many neglect getting help. It should be also noted that not every social worker out there is a good one. It is actually quite the opposite. As frustrating as our situation is, there are other families who have to deal with much worse scenarios. We'll know something in a matter of days/weeks and I'll let you know how it turns out. It is a unique situation, but perhaps someone else will learn something valuable from our experience.

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        • #5
          Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

          Is he getting disability because of his PTSD?

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          • #6
            Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

            I do not know who said a military disability and VA disability rating are the same on this forum but that is not the case and that was clarified by another poster who works in JAG. Also, my response was not based on that MEPS could get into his medical records because I know about HIPPA laws since my last assignment was in a medical unit. I was stating that he will need to mention it because if you said he was diagnose with it; that is in the system and that is something that he has to disclose. Also, I am not suggesting that he denies having PTSD even though it is in his record. I do not make the rules on who is able to get back in but from I am someone who has experienced combat and witnessed death and violence since I was a child and now how those things affect people differently. I have seen strong men break and weaker men persevere. I have seen how people could be affected by traumatic events. I have dealt with Soldiers under me who require to see a therapist and need to take medication and those appointments and sessions have taken them away from doing our mission. I am glad that military likes to work with Soldiers that are affected and try to have the remain in service but sometimes it comes as a cost. Just like anything in life; an event that is documented and becomes someone's life record could have negative repercussions that hinders one's goals. I wish you the best in his attempt to re-enter. http://vets.yuku.com/reply/534780/Re...g#.URwklBHTnIU
            Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; February 13th, 2013, 05:50 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

              A super moderator actually said it on this post: http://www.nationalguard.com/forums/...ability+rating , which is why I was clarifying that VA ratings and Army ratings are completely different. Also by definition, the weak would always break before the strong. Nevertheless, my original question was about waivers and RyCass pretty much gave me the information I needed. Thank You.

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              • #8
                Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

                He got through MEPS with a high recommendation and only needs that one waiver. It is still a process, but we've actually learned quite a bit about it and have a better understanding of how the system works. Still, a lot of people have to sign off on the waiver, so nothing is guaranteed. We won't know anything for 30-45 days and then the board meets. However, things are looking more promising than we originally anticipated. I'll post when we know something for sure, but perhaps there is hope for people who have had a PTSD diagnosis in their past - especially when they are considered experts in their field. We will see.

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                • #9
                  Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

                  Originally posted by mo393 View Post
                  Military medical records and VA records are completely separate. And due to HIPPA laws they cannot be shared unless the patient signs off on it.
                  When you apply to become an officer in the Army, you sign a blanket waiver granting them to access your medical records from organizations they request them from, including the VA.

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                  • #10
                    Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

                    If you are receiving more than 30% disability from the VA you can not get into back into the military.

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                    • #11
                      Re: AMEDD Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Waivers

                      This topic has spun into a rather large area of discussion, but I would like to point out that an LCSW looking for a commission as a 73A (prior service or not) should not be dealing with an enlisted NG recruiter regarding 40-501 or anything else. The Army Reserve has AMEDD recruiters geographically stationed regionally (I am not certain where you are located), and each state either has a AMEDD Recruiter as part of the OSM Office (if the state is large enough), or it is procured through the OSM themselves. All AMEDD Officers are direct commissions and a Chapter 2 physical is part of that process. I have no doubt that your husband could make a fine 73A, but regulatory guidance is not based on individuals. Policy stems from the strategic big picture. In this case, suicide rates are at an "all time" high, and it is not in the nation's interests to induct anyone with even a slightly higher potential to have mental instability. It is a utilitarian concept and not always easy to understand from the individual perspective.

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