Northwest News
9:44 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Northwest Soldier Booted From Army Will Recieve VA Benefits

Former Staff Sgt. Jarrid Starks was initially barred from receiving VA health care. However, he recently learned he will now qualify for veterans’ benefits.

A follow up now to a story we brought you last month about a decorated Northwest soldier with PTSD who was kicked out of the Army for misconduct. As a result, former Staff Sgt. Jarrid Starks was initially barred from receiving VA health care. However, he recently learned he will now qualify for veterans’ benefits.

Jarrid Starks received the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan. But when he returned home with PTSD, he went AWOL and smoked marijuana. Earlier this year, Starks accepted an “other than honorable” discharge from the Army rather than face court martial.

One penalty: he lost his automatic right to veterans’ benefits. Starks appealed to the VA. In response, the agency has said Starks will receive care despite a finding of “willful and persistent misconduct.”

By phone from Salem, Starks calls the letter “bittersweet.”

“It’s a repeated kind of kick in the gut every time you read how dishonorable your service was just because of a couple of months of what they deemed to be misconduct.”

Starks will get health care and other benefits because his first stint in the Army ended honorably. But he won’t get disability payments for injuries that he received during his second tour of duty because of his misconduct.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network