Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are entitled to a vast array of benefits that can literally mean the difference between life and death. However, many former Service members do not meet the statutory definition of a “Veteran” based on discharge from the military for misconduct. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that roughly 20% of Justice-Involved Veterans are ineligible for VA benefits based on their discharge characterizations. For this group of veterans, who face homelessness and risks of recidivism at increased levels in the community, endless questions surround their potential for receiving VA healthcare, grants for subsistence, disability compensation, and other vital services specially-tailored to their unique physical and mental health needs. Unfortunately, due to various statutory and regulatory provisions, the process for answering these questions is intimidating, quite lengthy, uncertain, and normally requires a level of expertise that is not often accessible to those with the greatest need.
This webinar discusses the magnitude of this growing problem for Veterans Treatment Courts, especially given new pressures for the military to reduce the size of the Armed Forces. It provides insights into the purpose for and mechanisms by which Less-Than-Honorable military discharges are issued. And, it points to significant differences between the military’s measures for upgrading these stigmatizing discharges and the VA’s measures for evaluating eligibility in light of existing stigmatizing discharges. The Webinar also provides targeted guidance for identifying former Service members who have better odds of succeeding in their quest for benefits.
To watch a recording of this webinar, please visit our YouTube page by following this link.
To watch a recording of the follow-up Q&A, please visit our YouTube page by following this link.