Sen. Schumer Calls on VA to Overturn New Service Dog Policy for Vets With PTSD
North Country Gazette, Sept. 17, 2012
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to immediately revise a recent directive that will prevent veterans with PTSD and other mental and emotional disorders from receiving VA benefits for service dogs.
According to federal law, the VA can reimburse veterans with both physical and mental disabilities for the costs of owning a service dog, if a medical professional deems such a dog to be beneficial.
However, according to a new VA directive that will go into effect on Oct. 5, only veterans with physical disabilities will have this option, until a VA study on the matter is completed in 2014.
This is despite evidence that service dogs have the capability to assist those with mental disabilities.
In the New York metro area, there are approximately 6,614 veterans who suffer from PTSD and are being treated at VA medical facilities or Readjustment Counseling Centers and 182,147 around the country.
Read what the Army’s former top psychiatrist, Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, has to say about the effectiveness of service dogs in PTSD treatment.
Schumer was joined by Barbara Jenkel of Educated Canines Assisting With Disabilities (ECAD), and her dog Blip; Iraq veteran Charles Hernandez and his dog Valor; and Afghanistan veteran Leslie Wohlfeld and her dog Lizzy.
“Our veterans fought bravely on the field of battle, but unfortunately, for some veterans, the battle does not end once they return home,” said Schumer.
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Barbara Jenkel of Educated Canines Assisting With Disabilities (ECAD), Charles Hernandez, Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, Leslie Wohlfeld, Mental Health, military service dogs, PTSD, Senator Charles Schumer, Suicide prevention, Veterans Affairs