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Dishonorably discharged? You may be entitled to benefits soon

Veterans are entitled to a number of benefits by law in the United States, but they must meet the qualifications. One of the primary qualifications is that the service member must not have been discharged from the military dishonorably.

Now, a new proposal would help those with dishonorable discharges seek benefits they used to be denied. Is that something that should occur now, though? The Department of Veteran's Affairs already recognizes that many veterans wait many months or years for services they want from the VA, and it's believed adding more veterans to the list is only going to make the wait longer.

The changes in law would allow anyone who was previously in the military to claim they were feeling suicidal in order to obtain benefits typically withheld for those with good service records. It's a good idea, because 22 veterans a day, by estimate, commit suicide. Still, it would continue to put strain on a system that is already struggling.

Across the nation, reactions to the plan have been mixed. Some believe it would place too much strain on the system, and others wonder why the government should spend money on those discharged for poor behavior or criminal acts.

Your attorney can help you understand if changes in the law could give you the opportunity to claim benefits you didn't have access to in the past. Even if you've been dishonorably discharged, you have a right to live, and if you feel suicidal after coming home from the service, you should be able to get the care you need.

Source: Fredericksburg.com, "Column: Expansion of benefits for veterans raises questions," Daniel P. Cortez, March 21, 2017

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