LGBT vets with other than honorable discharges will get VA benefits under new plan

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9/17/21

Tens of thousands of LGBT veterans forced from the military for their sexual orientation and given other-than-honorable discharges will be able to receive full Veterans Affairs benefits despite their dismissal status under a new move set to be announced Monday. The change comes as the country approaches the 10th anniversary of repeal of the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law which forced nearly 14,000 service members out of the ranks for admitting their sexual orientation. But the impact of the new VA announcement goes further than just those individuals, to potentially include troops who served before and after the law who may have been given bad performance reviews or intimidated into leaving the military because of their LGBT status. Outside advocates estimate as many as 100,000 over the last 70 years may have been involuntarily separated from the military based on their sexual orientation. Data on how many received other-than-honorable discharges is not available. According to sources familiar with the pending announcement, VA officials plan a series of reviews of those veterans’ cases, with a presumption in favor of granting them benefits unless records give a clear reason to oppose that.

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