Throughout our nation’s history, millions of men and women have served their country in the military. Sadly, many of those individuals have slipped through the cracks and have yet to receive access to the benefits that they were promised. Many of those veterans awaiting their benefits are in Indiana.

More than half a million vets have been issued other-than-honorable discharges. However, veterans are only supposed to lose their promised benefits if they are found guilty in a general court-martial, have gone AWOL or are conscientious objectors. Plenty of veterans are missing out on their benefits and do not fall into any of those categories.

Under the now-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, more than 100,000 service members were discharged based solely on their sexual orientation. Studies indicate that these individuals are at a higher risk of committing suicide, becoming homeless or being incarcerated.

While the VA says that it is doing the best it can with the number of discharges that must be processed, the organization has still only been able to complete only 30,000 character-of-discharge determinations over the last decade. That represents a mere 7% of the half a million men and women who may be eligible for benefits.

Any individual who has served in the United States military and is still waiting for the benefits that were promised to him or her is encouraged to speak to an attorney familiar with veterans’ benefits. A lawyer may review a person’s service, the terms of his or her discharge and gather more information about where the claim stands in the VA system. At that point, an attorney can begin working with his or her client to get him or her access to the benefits he or she were promised.