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Close-up of Hand on Shoulder Amongst Military Personnel
Press Statement March 29, 2023

NAACP Calls on VA to Address Racial Disparities in PTSD Disability Claims

Close-up of Hand on Shoulder Amongst Military Personnel


March 29, 2023

Contact: Jonah Bryson,

WASHINGTON — Following the recent discovery of an internal 2017 Department of Veterans Affairs report summarizing a documented pattern of denials regarding  PTSD disability claims filed by Black veterans as well as inequities in disability ratings over many decades, NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson released this statement calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to fully investigate and implement reforms to ensure Black veterans receive proper care and support:

"The NAACP is gravely concerned about recently uncovered patterns of racial disparities in PTSD disability claims filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our country has a responsibility to provide for those who fought to protect our democracy, especially those who live with life-long physical and mental trauma. The unfortunate reality is, the wrongful treatment of Black soldiers and systemic healthcare inequities are issues that our community has been grappling with for decades. It is entirely unacceptable that, 75 years after the desegregation of our military, Black veterans are still being forced to endure deeply entrenched racism which affects their ability to receive the benefits they need and deserve.  

We demand that the Department of Veterans Affairs immediately conducts a thorough investigation and implements a plan to eradicate these discriminatory practices, provide restitution for those who have been impacted, and ensure that this never happens again. The NAACP advocates and supports Secretary McDonough's newly established Equity Team who will be responsible for carrying out these necessary actions. We will closely monitor the team's timelines, findings and future plans and will work in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that Black veterans and other underserved veterans receive their full benefits."



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.