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VA Won't Pay For Veterans' PTSD Service Dogs

Army veteran Johnnie Petersin and service dog Athena
Army veteran Johnnie Petersin and service dog Athena

A new Department of Veterans Affairs policy denies benefits for veterans who need service dogs to help treat their post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the policy, there isn't enough scientific evidence support the medical need for PTSD service dogs:

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.

Under the new rules, which take effect October 5th, the VA will pay for service dogs that aid veterans with "visual, hearing, or mobility impairments." The benefits pay for things like veterinary care, dog training, and the cost of travel to obtain a trained dog.

Not surprisingly, veteran supporters (and dog lovers) are displeased with this new policy. Loretta Barr Dumond wrote on the Dogs on Deployment Facebook page:

Why can't the VA look at independent studies that show therapy dogs do wonders for people? The dogs used for PTSD don't necessarily have to be 'trained' because every dog has an innate sense of what its human needs. The VA does what the VA always does - stall to save time & money. Epic fail.

What do you think of the new rules? Have your say in our comments section!