LGBTQ Vets Discharged for their Sexual Orientation to Receive Benefits
The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that LGBTQ veterans who were discharged entirely from the Military services due to their sexual orientation can now receive full benefits such as compensation, pensions, education and access to medical care.
An estimated 100,000 were liquidated from the U.S. military due to their sexual orientation, including 14,000 service members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Some military officials were also given honorable discharges because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status, making them ineligible for benefits.
The VA said, " hope that the policy statement will encourage more LGBTQ veterans and they may reconsider their eligibility to avail the maximum benefits".
LGBTQ and Veterans affected by homophobic and transphobic policies have not applied yet for a discharge upgrade due to a perception that it is not practical. This policy statement urges them to contact VA and determine whether they're eligible for care and services.
According to the source, Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2010 repealing the policy, but it didn't take effect until Sept. 20, 2011, ABC News reported. He said, "It is time to recognize that sacrifice, courage and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.
The Department of Veteran Affairs is devoted to serving all qualified service members, Veterans and their families. It also identifies the existing variety within this population, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
Some of the mentioned Benefits for which LGBT Service Members May Designate a Beneficiary:
Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
Veterans Group Life Insurance
Post-Vietnam era veterans Assistance Program
Montgomery GI Bills
The presentation of the flag of the United States
In addition, there are other benefits for Servicemembers that LGBT service members may designate as beneficiaries regardless of sexual orientation.