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October 01, 2021

New Guidance Issued by VA for Discharged LGBTQIA+ Veterans

September 20 marked the 10th anniversary of implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the policy intended to prevent lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from serving openly in the military. It is estimated that nearly 14,000 service members were forced out under this policy and given other-than-honorable discharges.  An other-than-honorable discharge makes veterans ineligible for VA health care benefits and more. On this anniversary, the VA announced that those service members will now be eligible for health care, disability compensation, home loans, and burial benefits. With this new guidance, veterans separated due to their sexual orientation are now able to seek discharge upgrades. Kayla Williams, assistant secretary for public affairs at the VA, stated “we are hopeful that this policy statement encourages more [LGBTQ+ veterans] to contact VA to determine their eligibility for care and services.”