Veterans who were discharged because of their sexual orientation will now be eligible for full benefits.
Under a Veterans Affairs (VA) policy adjustment, veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges for being LGBTQ will soon be eligible for full compensation.
According to a report published Friday by Military Times, the VA will announce the adjustment on Monday. The impacted Veterans may have been discharged under the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, with the announcement coming on the 10-year anniversary of the contentious policy’s repeal. The new regulation also applies to those who were compelled to leave the military before or after the rule was implemented, some as a result of intimidation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to reports, VA Secretary Denis McDonough will advise VA staff that veterans who left the military because of their LGBTQ status can get full benefits regardless of their discharge status. Although 100,000 LGBTQ veterans may have been driven out of the military in the last 70 years, it’s unclear how many of them received anything other than honorable discharges. Under the new policy, those with criminal records or bad discharges will still be refused benefits.
VA health care, education programs, housing loans, employment aid, counseling, and disability payments are all possible additional benefits for veterans. Those who have been affected can still appeal their discharge status, however it is a time-consuming procedure that most discharged veterans, LGBTQ or not, do not undertake.
Until 1993, when former President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, LGBTQ people were completely barred from serving in the military. On September 20, 2011, the order was repealed by former President Barack Obama. On Monday, President Joe Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, is expected to commemorate the end of the rule at the White House.
Although DADT was repealed by Congress, the VA is said to be confident that the new rule change will take effect without congressional permission or any action because it already has “extensive power” in determining which veterans are eligible for benefits.
Regardless, efforts are underway in Congress to make similar reforms. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and four Democratic colleagues reintroduced the Securing the Rights our Veterans Earned (SERVE) Act earlier this month, which would ensure VA benefits to veterans who received Other. This is a condensed version of the information.