On July 16, approximately 200 active duty servicemembers and veterans marched in the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade for the first time. Although the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy remains in effect, the services are currently prohibited from investigating or discharging servicemembers under the rule.
For more information on DADT, click here.
The repeal of DADT is expected this fall, and many are anticipating the policy changes regarding same-sex married military couples and families that will accompany the repeal. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a legal aid and advocacy organization which represents servicemembers and their families against discriminatory policies and regulations, has published a guide providing LGBT servicemembers with an overview of laws and policies relevant to their military status.
The Military Acceptance Project (MAP), founded by graduate students and faculty of the USC School of Social Work’s San Diego Academic Center to promote social justice, equality, and fair treatment for all military servicemembers, also provides information and support regarding military service for LGBT servicemembers.
Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden–who launched Joining Forces, the White House initiative to support and honor military families–announced the Joining Forces Community Challenge, an effort to recognize the work done by the community to help military families.
For more information on how to submit an application or nominate an individual or organization to the Joining Forces Community Challenge, click here.
The submission deadline is September 30, 2011 and winners will be awarded non-monetary prizes and honored at an event in Washington, DC in early 2012.
Report on Educational Options and Performance of Military-Connected School Districts Submitted to Congress
On July 11, the American Institutes of Research (AIR) submitted a report to the defense and education congressional committees office staffs based on its research study, Educational Options and Performance of Military-Connected School Districts. The study, which Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) contracted with AIR, focuses on how military-connected school districts compare to other districts regarding demographics, funding, and student performance.
For more information, click here.
In the most recent episode of Homefront Heroes, Crystal Nicely–the wife of Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely, who is one of three surviving quadruple-amputees from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan–shares her perspective on her husband’s wounds and recovery. This episode is scheduled to air in a live concert broadcast on the Pentagon Channel on Tuesday, July 26. To view the episode online, click here.
The next episode of Homefront Heroes will feature stories about the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Wreaths Across America. If you have a story about your own experience with the wounded warrior community, please share it here!
Mr. Eifert, who served in Iraq as a Staff Sergeant in the Army, suffered panic attacks and nightmares upon returning home. His inability to obtain effective treatment of his symptoms led him to a standoff with police and embroiled him in the criminal justice system. Fortunately, his case was processed through a veterans treatment court, a court model that is gaining traction throughout the country as a means to consider and address the special circumstances associated with some veterans who commit crimes. Through this court system, he was able to obtain treatment and rehabilitation support instead of being sent to prison.
In a recent CIR Policy Brief, Glenna Tinney and Kathleen M. West address the need to include special consideration of veterans’ circumstances and experiences in criminal court cases. Click here to read their article on how to address violence in families impacted by military service.
CIR Policy Brief ADDENDUM:
“Together We Stand, Divided We Fall: Connectedness, Suicide, and Social Media in the Military”
This addendum to our most recent CIR Policy Brief, entitled “Together We Stand, Divided We Fall: Connectedness, Suicide, and Social Media in the Military,” includes feedback from several branches of the military regarding the link that is often made between deployment or combat exposure and suicide.
We are very grateful to the service representatives who contacted us and were willing to take the time and energy to clarify this issue. As always, we welcome and encourage feedback on our policy briefs–it is our intention to provoke dialogue on these issues in order to enhance our understanding of them and highlight needed changes.
According to an article on Stateline.org, several states are now in the process of implementing a program that saves them money by shifting health care costs associated with veterans to the federal government. The program seeks out veterans receiving state-funded Medicaid and switches them to medical benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is funded by the federal government. Thus, the state saves money it would have spent through Medicaid, and the veteran receives equal, or even more generous, medical benefits through the VA. Bill Allman created and piloted the program in Washington State, where it has saved the state government $27 million, and is now advocating the program across the country. The program is currently being implemented in Arizona, Texas, and California.
Less than half of veterans use their VA health benefits, and many are not even aware that they are eligible for them, and seek health care through Medicaid instead as a result. There are numerous websites that publish information on veterans benefits, but not all are reliable. The best source for information is the VA website, where veteran eligibility for medical benefits is explained and further information on benefits and resources is available through the VA blog.