» New Bill May Limit Service Dogs to Veterans, Cautions Veterans Disability Lawyer

New Bill May Limit Service Dogs to Veterans, Cautions Veterans Disability Lawyer

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 7, 2012 - A new package of bills, Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (HR 1627), recently passed by both the House and Senate and is awaiting signature by the President.

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

HR 1627 includes a number of new bills intended to benefit members of the military, including a stipulation that requires VA facilities to allow access to service dogs for veterans. Prior to the drafting of HR 1627, seeing eye dogs were the only service dogs allowed unchecked access in VA facilities, and service and disability advocates have been lobbying for a more broadly open policy.

But there's a hitch. The bill states that only service dogs specifically trained and currently accredited are covered, which means some service dogs will be turned away at the door.

"Many of our veterans are working with therapeutic dogs that may not fall under the strict guidelines set out in HR 1627," indicated veterans’ disability lawyer James Fausone of Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. "We may see veterans who have been going to the VA turned away if their dog does not meet these new requirements."

The service dog provision currently requires that the Veterans Administration allow access only to service dogs trained by an organization vetted and accredited by an evaluating service and guide dog organization. Previously, the only rule in place for the majority of VA facilities required that the dog owner confirm that the dog has completed specific training to assist the owner.

There are reports of dog owners purchasing service vests and identification cards and passing off non-trained dogs as registered service dogs. There have even been reports of aggressive dogs being brought into facilities, which is what the bill is seeking to prevent. "However, with a limited number of accrediting agencies, vets may see a backlog when it comes to getting their dog properly vetted," said Fausone.

"Everyone understands the need for a more uniform approach when it comes to properly trained, appropriate-care service dogs to ensure the safety of people both in and out of VA facilities," remarked Fausone. "We are hopeful a system can be put into place to expedite the accreditation process in order to provide disabled veterans with unrestricted access to the support they deserve."

Since 1961, the Veterans Health Administration has been assisting visually impaired veterans with guide dogs. As of 2002, the VA has included service dogs trained to aid hearing and mobility impaired veterans. And in 2009, the VA was authorized to provide service dogs trained to aid veterans with mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability attorney and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans attorney call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • Social Security blames VA for millions in improper payments to dead veterans
    A report from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) inspector general revealed that more than $37 million in erroneous payments were issued to deceased veterans. Hundreds of veterans have continued to receive SSA benefits despite being dead for years. The audit found over 3,900 cases in which beneficiaries were still getting regular payments despite being listed […]
  • Watchdog warns VA about growing risk of opioid abuse among veterans
    A recently released government report is cautioning the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about the growing risk of opioid abuse among veterans. The VA Office of Inspector General urged the department to enhance the monitoring of opioid prescriptions to veterans from private-sector health care providers. The VA watchdog said veterans who use VA programs, like […]
  • Lawmakers say no to medical marijuana for veterans
    House Republicans have blocked a key amendment to legislation concerning medical marijuana use for veterans. The measure would have enabled patients to receive marijuana for pain relief through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors in states where its use has been legalized for medical purposes. Federal law currently bars VA doctors from recommending or even […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required