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New Rule Allows Veterans With Other Than Honorable Discharges  To Apply For VA Benefits

New Rule Allows Veterans with Other Than Honorable Discharges to Apply for VA Benefits

In April, the VA announced that Veterans who received other than honorable discharges for misconduct, questionable behavior, or homosexuality will have the opportunity to apply for VA health care and benefits. 

The VA plans to change the regulation around “character of discharge” by removing a barrier faced by Veterans who were discharged on grounds of homosexuality. This change will also provide an exception for Veterans who were discharged for misconduct related to mental health issues.

Previously Denied Vets Should Reapply for VA Benefits

With this new rule in place, the VA encourages Veterans who have previously been denied benefits to reapply. 

Under Secretary for Benefits Josh Jacobs stated, “Too often, former service members believe that they cannot come to VA due to their discharge status — but the truth is that many former service members who were not discharged honorably can get health care or benefits from VA… When you apply — as with all VA benefits — we will do everything in our power to get to ‘yes.'”

Does This New Rule Change Discharge Status?

No, the VA’s new regulation around the character of discharge does not change the military’s discharge status. 

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said that “Although VA cannot change your discharge status, we want to provide you with any health care or benefits we can — and we will work with you every step of the way to do exactly that.”

While the VA does not have the authority to change a Veteran’s discharge status, Veterans can apply to change their discharge status through their individual services’ military records correction boards.

We are Veterans Helping Veterans

The Veteran Legal Assistance Program is here to support Veterans and Active-Duty service members. We want to inform you of the issues affecting the Veteran community and connect you with people we trust.

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