The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced Wednesday that service personnel who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 may lose their eligibility for veterans’ benefits.
Benefits US Troops Will Not Receive If Not Vaccinated
In a recently published article in Newsweek, when it comes to removal from the military, troops who refuse the vaccine will not be offered any special protections. The Navy said on Thursday that sailors who refuse to be vaccinated would be isolated.
Military members are starting to face consequences for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In the Navy’s case, the sanctions range from a reprimand to removal from the armed forces and loss of benefits.
According to the military, those who are dismissed will get a general discharge under honorable circumstances, which may prevent them from collecting veterans’ benefits. Local station commanders will now have to determine whether to issue troops an other-than-honorable or dishonorable discharge. The commanders were not to make “any positive judgments for veterans’ benefits eligibility.” according to a report published in Military Times.
Lawmakers are Pushing for the Removal of the Benefits
Republicans in Congress have recently campaigned for the removal of benefits in order to make it simpler for people who refuse to take the vaccine. The House passed a measure preventing the military from awarding dishonorable discharges to members of that group in September, and the Senate is presently debating it.
Furthermore, almost 8,500 US Air Force and US Space Force employees failed to comply with the current vaccine deadline of November 2. In the next weeks, the other branches will also have deadlines for the shoot.
Furthermore, VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy stated that military members discharged for vaccine refusal will be evaluated in the same way as all other discharges when determining benefits: to see if there were “mitigating or extenuating circumstances, performance, and accomplishments during their service, the nature of the infraction, and the character of their service at the time of discharge.”