VA wants to hear from vets with discharges considered 'dishonorable'

VASIGN
The VA wants to hear from veterans with discharges that are considerd to be "dishonorable." Photo credit File photo

The Department of Veterans Affairs is modifying benefit eligibility regulations for discharges considered “dishonorable” and is seeking information to assist in developing the new framework.

“If enacted, the new rule will modify existing regulations governing VA character of discharge determinations to update and clarify the regulatory bars to benefits,” said Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy.

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The change will make more veterans eligible to receive benefits. The request for information was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 9.

The proposed rule would modify VA regulations governing VA character of discharge determinations based on ‘‘willful and persistent misconduct,’’ ‘‘moral turpitude,’’ and ‘‘homosexual acts involving aggravating circumstances or other factors affecting the performance of duty.’’

In addition, the proposed rule would create a ‘‘compelling circumstances’’ exception to certain regulatory bars to benefits in order to ensure the fair character of discharge determinations in light of all pertinent factors.

The first public virtual listening session is scheduled for Oct. 5 to seek feedback. The second session will be held on Oct. 6. Each meeting will start at 8:50 a.m. Eastern Time and end at or before 4:15 p.m. Virtual check-ins begin at 8 a.m.

Those interested in attending the virtual sessions are encouraged to sign up and may submit written comments, including data and research, if unable to attend.

The virtual listening sessions will be held as WebEx events and will be open to the public to listen on a first-come, first-served basis.