ALBANY – A new law that installs protections for LGBTQ veterans goes into effect today.
State leaders say the Restoration of Honor Act creates a pathway of eligibility for state veterans’ benefits for those who were dishonorably discharged because of their LGBTQ status, military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The state division of veteran’s services started accepting applications from the potential eligible veterans back in June.
State leaders say under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and similar policies hundreds of thousands of veterans received less than honorable discharges. As a result of that those individuals are ineligible for veterans’ benefits.
While military discharge decisions can only be formally changed by the federal government, the Restoration of Honor Act allows these veterans to apply to claim their New York State benefits.
This makes New York the first state in the nation to restore the benefits of veterans who received less than honorable discharges either because of these traumas or because of their LGBTQ identity.