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McKown & Myers, LLP

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VA reconsiders benefits eligibility for “bad” discharges

Lawmakers in Washington are concerned about struggling veterans after learning their fate after receiving “bad paper” discharges. The developments, which may result in good news for veterans in Indiana, are causing the Department of Veteran Affairs to reconsider some of its policies.

Proposed policy amendments by the VA include provisions that could make veterans’ benefits like the GI Bill, home loans, and health care available to veterans who were discharged under less than honorable conditions.

Specific changes proposed by the VA include a fresh look at discharges for reasons like “willful and persistent misconduct” and “offenses involving moral turpitude.” Discharges for veterans due to these reasons are considered “dishonorable” for benefits purposes.

Those who fall into this category have faced dire consequences and hope more progress in the future. It is estimated that at least half a million veterans are living with other than honorable discharges. And about one-fourth of all discharged veterans receive bad paper discharges. These veterans are denied most benefits offered by the VA and are more likely to become homeless, incarcerated, suffer from lack of medical care, and die from suicide than veterans discharged with honor.

The ability of military veterans to receive the benefits their service to their country has earned can play a huge role in their success and happiness following their military careers. Individuals who have questions about what veterans’ benefits they qualify for or the steps they should take to receive these benefits may find that a consultation with an attorney who has experience in matters that concern veterans’ benefits will prove helpful.