GURNEE, Ill. – State Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, is fighting to restore benefits to veterans who have been barred from receiving them due to having service-related PTSD, traumatic brain injury, experiencing sexual assault or being a member of the LGBTQ community.
“In most states, individuals who received Other than Honorable or general military discharges are prohibited from receiving veterans’ benefits. While this may appear to be a reasonable policy on the surface, this method of determining eligibility for veterans’ benefits discriminates against former military members because of service-related mental health issues, brain injury, or their sexual orientation,” Mason said. “For example, LGBTQ service members who were outed under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy were given Other than Honorable discharges, which means that to this day those individuals are unable to access veterans’ benefits solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The same applies to individuals who received Other than Honorable or general discharges due to PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression or other mental illnesses.”
Mason’s House Bill 3984 would allow former military members who received Other than Honorable or general discharges due to mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries, sexual assault or identifying as LGBTQ to access veterans’ services like physical and mental health care.
“It’s unethical to deny critical services to veterans because they’ve experienced service-related trauma, mental illness or because they belong to the LGBTQ community. My legislation would eliminate this injustice by restoring benefits to these individuals who have been wrongly denied them,” Mason said. “All veterans who served our country with honor deserve to be able to access benefits they’re rightfully owed.”
Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031