Benefits for Gay Veterans?
Once the repeal of the discriminatory DADT policy is fully implemented, gay service personnel who were released
because of DADT should be entitled to full veteran’s benefits (overseen by the Veterans Administration).
There are many such benefits, but they include full medical assistance for mental and physical ailments, especially
those directly relate to service; education stipends meant to help prepare veterans for a productive return to
civilian life; and many others.
Nearly all gay veterans caught in the web of DADT (usually through misapplication of the formal policy) served
their country at least as well as their straight counterparts. They were not released from service because of
being unable or unwilling to perform their assigned duties.
Representative Gwen Moore (Dem., WI) is one government official who is leading the charge to make sure that gay,
former military personnel are treated no differently because of their sexual orientation.
Last week, Moore sent letters to Gates and Eric Shinseki, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs, co-signed by the four openly gay members of Congress, all members of the House – fellow Wisconsin
Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and newly-elected David Cicilline
(D-R.I.) – along with 28 other House Democrats.
The letters say that many soldiers dismissed under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell were not given “honorable”
discharges – which qualify them for full benefits – but were given “other than honorable” discharges, which
limit benefits. Veterans with such discharges can still apply for VA health benefits, but the VA can deny them
or limit treatment to that for injuries they suffered during military service. They’re banned completely from
receiving GI Bill funds for college. [Read more]
If you agree with the premises of those of us who support all gay military people who served with
dedication, please support Rep. Moore and the other members of congress mention in the above quote. Ms.
Moore, Ms. Baldwin and Mr. Frank have had the opportunity to be well known as long time supporters of gay rights
and the LGBT community.