The VA has announced that, effective October 5, 2012, it will discontinue payments for service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. The VA’s reasoning is that there is not enough evidence to support the medical need for service dogs for vets with PTSD. The VA does not disagree that the service dogs improve the quality of life for the veteran, only that there is not enough to prove there is a medical benefit. The cost of service dogs for vision, hearing and mobility type disabilities will remain unaffected by the new rules.
In 2009, 38 U.S.C.S 1714 (c)(3) was amended to authorize service dogs for vets with mental illness including PTSD. The language of the statute was written in such a way as to state the VA may provide; meaning they are not required to provide compensation for service dogs. Studies into the medical benefit of service dogs for mental illness are ongoing and it is the hope that VA will remain flexible in their interpretation of medical benefit for PTSD sufferers and ultimately reverse their position.
For up to date information on whether the VA may approve the cost of a service dog for you or a loved one, please call Bosley & Bratch at (800) 953-6224 or complete our free evaluation form for a cost-free assessment of your claim. Our attorneys are committed to staying on top of the law governing VA benefits — we are dedicated to helping those who serve our country qualify for all the benefits they deserve under the law.