Too many veterans are ineligible for VA mental health and suicide prevention care based on behavior stemming from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and other mental health diagnoses. Because of other-than-honorable discharges, these wounded veterans are without access to VA benefits and care, leaving them at increased risk for suicide.
A hearing was held by the House Veterans Affairs Commission’s (HVAC) Health Subcommittee on proposed legislation to address these issues. While we laud the HVAC for its efforts to end the epidemic of veteran suicides, our position is that this proposed legislation will not protect the most at-risk group of veterans. The Committee can improve this bill by instructing the VA to take combat deployments and acquired mental health conditions into account when deciding whether misconduct disqualifies service members from eligibility for VA benefits.
Bradford Adams, an Afghanistan combat veteran and an attorney with Swords to Plowshares, testified before the Committee in support of the important amendment that we have proposed. We hope the bill is passed with our amended language so that all veterans in need will get the care that they have earned.
To read the Bradford’s full testimony, click PDF links here: