We like to think that those who serve in the military are treated with respect and offered the benefits they deserve as veterans. Recent data from the Veterans Affairs suggests that for people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ veterans, getting benefits isn’t as easy as it is for white veterans.
According to NBC News, in 2023, 84.8% of all black veterans who applied for physical or mental health benefits were offered VA assistance. In comparison, 89.4% of white veterans who applied who were offered assistance.
Furthermore, the data shows that since 2017, white veterans had higher grant rates than their black counterparts year after year.
To help combat the inequality, the VA announced on June 23 that it’s created an Agency Equity Team. The mission of the team is to help determine why benefits are issued at different rates to minorities vs white veterans and to see if it can level things out by offering the same benefits to all veterans regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a press release:
“At VA, it’s our mission to serve all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors as well as they’ve served our country. This new Agency Equity Team will help us deliver on that promise. The team’s first order of business will be identifying any disparities in VA health care and benefits and eliminating them.”
NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson added in the press release, “We must acknowledge the fact that Black Veterans have not always received the just treatment they deserve. That’s why the NAACP is proud to embark on this historic partnership with VA to further our commitment to ensuring that representation does not come without respect. We look forward to all that we’ll accomplish together on behalf of our Black Veterans.”
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