Biden Admin Wants More Black Veterans Declared Mentally Disabled

( – The Biden administration wants to declare more black military vets mentally disabled in the name of equity promotion. Currently, black vets get mental health disability payments at around twice the rate of whites, but a new report, the Equity Assessment and Action Steps for Mental Health Compensation Benefits says that should be even higher.

The report states that 21.7% of black vets receive payments for mental health conditions, compared to 12.7% of whites. It furthermore notes that blacks apply for help at a higher percentage than whites but have lower grant rates at 70.3% versus 76%. Therefore, the Department of Veteran Affairs said it will take “immediate and aggressive action” to close the gap.

The grant rate refers to the number of people who are deemed eligible, and that gap indicates that more whites are considered eligible than blacks.

The study also found that between 2017 and 2023, black veterans received more grants than whites in the first year after departing from the military, at a rate of 85% to 83%, but after the first year, that figure changes to 85% for whites and 83% for blacks.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonagh said his department will now “investigate any disparities” and eliminate them.

The report comes weeks after the military announced that vets who are suicidal will be entitled to free emergency care at any medical facility. This includes 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of follow-up outpatient treatment. The new rules apply to any private medical facility, as well as veterans treatment centers, and mean that the government will cover the cost of private treatment. Mr. McDonagh said the change will help save veterans’ lives, and “there is nothing more important than that.”

The Veteran Affairs Department reports that there are currently 9 million vets receiving medical care and 9 million more that are entitled to treatment. It also states that 6,146 military veterans committed suicide in 2020 – 343 fewer than the previous year.

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