VA Expands Mental Health Coverage, Other-Than-Honorable Discharges Potentially Eligible
Jun 12, 2019
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2019 – A new law has expanded mental health coverage to other-than-honorably discharged veterans through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The VA has been accused of mishandling the implementation of the change and failing to effectively notify potentially eligible veterans. The new law is an expansion of a 2017 program which granted some other-than-honorable discharges access to acute mental health care services during a crisis. Eligible vets can now receive ongoing mental health care outside of a crisis situation. The VA had 180 days after the law went into effect in March 2018, but it did not do so until January 2019 when it sent letters to some veterans who were potentially eligible.
“Veterans who have an other-than-honorable discharge from the military are particularly at risk for mental health issues and suicide,” says James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan. “They can face significant barriers to getting care.”
An other-than-honorable discharge is issued when a service member is released from military service for misconduct. This leaves them unable to collect any VA benefits except in a few cases, such as when the misconduct was caused by PTSD or other service-related trauma. The new law will not entitle them to other VA healthcare or disability compensation.
There are an estimated 500,000 veterans with an other-than-honorable discharge status and the VA estimates it has treated less than one percent of them in each of the last two years — 2,850 in 2018 and 940 in 2017. Seventy percent of this care was for mental health issues.
Given the VA’s failure to effectively notify eligible vets of the new law, veterans may qualify for this coverage and not know it. It is important to check for eligibility.
James G. Fausone is a military veteran with years of experience in the legal field.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800
- Study finds brain changes for veterans with TBI and PTSD
A new study recently published by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation found that veterans and active duty military personnel with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injuries have larger amygdalae than others who only have brain injuries. The amygdala is the area of the brain associated with emotions, especially fear, anxiety, anger […]
- Wilkie pledges increased government focus on veteran suicide prevention
Early April, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie said that the entire government was focused on reducing the rate of suicide among veterans. This statement comes in the wake of several suicides committed outside VA clinics and much turmoil within the agency. Instead of seeing suicide as a stand-alone issue, Wilkie said that the government […]
- New tool seeks to help caregivers of vets with TBI
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common injuries sustained by veterans and it can have a profound effect on their daily lives. Around 384,000 service members and veterans have suffered a TBI and a third of them are left with a disability. Some require regular care from a loved one. A new […]
- Pentagon testing new grief support app
Volunteers are needed to test out a new app designed to support survivors of loss within the military community through their grief. The Department of Defense is seeking study participants who could benefit from the program and provide feedback. The Stepping Forward in Grief Study is being developed by Uniformed Services University and Columbia University […]