The Connecticut Chapter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA-CT) carries out IAVA’s mission to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans in the state. IAVA-CT is dedicated to ensuring that all Connecticut veterans – including those who were discharged from the military under less-than-honorable conditions – are welcomed back home, and continue to receive effective support and care in their communities.

In conjunction with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, IAVA-CT released a report on February 12, 2018, detailing the need for legislation to ensure equal access to state benefits for Connecticut-based veterans who were discharged from the U.S. military under Other-than-Honorable (OTH) conditions, and who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or military sexual trauma (MST) during their service. Although these veterans experience significantly higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, and homelessness, Connecticut state law bars them from accessing vital benefits as they navigate the transition back to their communities.

Veterans with experiences of trauma are disproportionately likely to receive an OTH, a non-punitive administrative discharge status that can be issued for relatively minor misconduct, including taking unprescribed painkillers or missing training exercises, and which often stems from PTSD, TBI, or MST. But because of their discharge status, these veterans are ineligible for services such as treatment for addiction and mental illness at the state-run veterans’ home and hospital at Rocky Hill, tuition waivers for in-state colleges, and funeral and burial assistance. IAVA-CT’s proposed legislation would right this wrong, and ensure that these veterans receive the benefits and recognition that they deserve.

Report: A Time to Heal: State Benefits for Connecticut Veterans with Bad Paper