LGBT Vets Discharged For Their Sexual Orientation Will Now Get Full Benefits
Monday will be a great day for our veterans that were discharged from the US military because of their sexuality. The announcement has been timed to be released on the 10-year anniversary of the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy demise.
The Military Times reports that veterans who were given less-than-honorable discharges for being LGBTQ will reportedly soon be eligible for full benefits under a Veterans Affairs (VA) policy change. The new policy applies not only to the DADT discharged/victims, but also applies to those who were forced out before or after DADT.
But how many will this affect? It is believed that there are about 100,000 LGBTQ veterans may have been forced out service over the last 70 years. Now were they all given honorable or dishonorable discharges? Those with criminal records or dishonorable discharges will still be denied benefits under the new policy.
And what benefits may they receive as being welcomed back into the fold? These benefits for these now honored veterans will include VA health care, education programs, home loans, employment assistance, counseling and disability payments.
One thing that will not immediately change is the wording of their discharge status. Those affected can still choose to upgrade to their discharge status by appealing, although it may not be a quick and easy fix as it may be a time-consuming process.
LGBTQ people had been entirely banned from the military until it adopted DADT under former President Bill Clinton in 1993. The rule ended under former President Barack Obama on September 20, 2011. President Joe Biden, who served as vice president under Obama, is expected to commemorate the anniversary of the rule ending at the White House on Monday.
Although DADT ended after Congress passed a law repealing it, the VA is reportedly confident that the new rule change can go into effect without congressional approval or other intervention because it already has “broad authority” in deciding which veterans are eligible to receive services. – Newsweek.com
Will we see a fight in Congress to deny this proclamation from taking effect? There has been an act introduced into Congress to make sure approval comes from all sides. Earlier this month, the Securing the Rights our Veterans Earned (SERVE) Act, was penned to guarantee VA benefits veterans who received discharges due to their sexual orientation or gender identity status. Will it be signed/passed? We will have to wait and see.