PA 13-48—sSB 70

Veterans' Affairs Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT RESTORING BENEFITS TO VETERANS DISCHARGED UNDER "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL"

SUMMARY: This act makes veterans eligible for state benefits if:

1. they were denied or would be denied such benefits because they were ineligible for federal benefits,

2. they were denied federal benefits based solely on their orientation under a federal policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving in the armed forces, and

3. their eligibility for federal benefits has been reinstated.

The act requires, to the extent practicable, the Department of Veterans' Affairs to inform veterans of legal services organizations that can help them get military discharge upgrades and reinstated federal benefits. The department must (1) post information on its website, with links to the organizations' websites, and (2) distribute the organizations' pamphlets at department offices and facilities and to local veterans' advisory committees. These committees are established by municipalities to coordinate local, state, and federal programs for veterans. These include programs pertaining to reemployment, education, vocational training, rehabilitation services, and the provision of veterans' benefits.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

DEFINITION OF VETERAN

The act defines a “veteran” as anyone released or discharged, regardless of the discharge classification, from active duty in the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, or any reserve component thereof, including the Connecticut National Guard performing duty under U. S. Code Title 32 (e. g. , on certain Homeland Security missions).

BACKGROUND

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy

From December 21, 1993 until September 20, 2011, the United States prohibited openly homosexual persons from serving in the U. S. Armed Forces, under a policy called “Don't Ask, Don't Tell. ” It discharged those who violated the policy less than honorably.

OLR Tracking: DL: KM: VR: RO