Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to change its new policy that denies benefits for veterans who need service dogs to help treat their post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although we do not disagree with some... subjective accounts that mental health service dogs have improved the quality of their lives, VA has not yet been able to determine that these dogs provide a medical benefit to veterans with mental illness. Until such a determination can be made, VA cannot justify providing benefits for mental health service dogs.
There is at least one study in progress that looks at whether or not PTSD service dogs provide medical benefits to veterans. According to the Associated Press, Schumer sent a letter to the VA, urging officials there to allow coverage for PTSD service dogs while this research is being conducted.
The VA does pay for for service dogs that aid veterans with "visual, hearing, or mobility impairments" under the new policy that takes affect October 5th. The benefits pay for things like veterinary care, dog training, and the cost of travel to obtain a trained dog.