The Department of Veterans Affairs will unveil plans Monday to restore full benefits for LGBTQ service members who left the military with a classification other than honorable discharge due to their sexual orientation, according to a report.
The initiative would apply to LGBTQ veterans who were forced to leave the military under the now-repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Military Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Additionally, Veterans Affairs officials will open reviews into cases of veterans who served before or after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was implemented and were treated improperly upon discharge.
VA officials will announce the move on the 10-year anniversary of the policy’s repeal. White House officials are also set to hold an event commemorating the anniversary, according to the report.
Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately return a request for comment.
LGBTQ veterans with other-than-honorable discharges will gain access to VA medical care, disability and other benefits they did not previously receive. However, veterans who received dishonorable discharges or have a criminal record will not be eligible.
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was implemented in 1994 under the Clinton administration and repealed in 2011 when President Biden served as vice president under former President Barack Obama. Roughly 14,000 service members were reportedly forced out of the military under the policy.
The Biden administration has taken steps to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ service members in recent months.
In June, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the department would offer gender confirmation surgery for transgender veterans for the first time in its history. Months earlier, Biden repealed a Trump-era policy that largely barred transgender individuals from military service.