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Veterinary Care for Service Dogs Now Covered for Veterans with Mental Health Disorders

Posted on August 22, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Some mental health disorders can cause a veteran to suffer from limited mobility. Many of these veterans require the presence of service dogs to help them get around.

Up until recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) only provided veterinary health benefits to service dogs assisting veterans with visual, hearing, or non-mental health-related mobility issues. Now, under the VA’s Service Dog Benefits Pilot, veterinary health benefits will include care for service dogs that assist veterans with chronic mental health-associated mobility impairments.

Through the new benefits, these service dogs will be eligible for:

  • comprehensive wellness and sick care
  • urgent/emergency care
  • prescription medications
  • care for ongoing health conditions that impair the dog’s ability to perform its service duties forits veteran

It is important to note that service dogs are different from comfort animals that provide emotional support to veterans. A dog is only classified as a service dog if it receives training from an Assistance Dogs International-accredited facility and meets VA regulations.

Not all veterans with mental health-related mobility impairment will require or benefit from a service dog. The VA utilizes service dogs in situations where they are the optimal option to compensate for the veteran’s mobility limitations and allow him to live independently.

Veterans’ Benefits Provide for Several Different Conditions and Needs

Veterans’ benefits for disability go beyond just compensation for a disability rating. Once you have received a rating, there are many other resources and amenities the VA provides to veterans with certain needs or conditions.

The Disability Help Group assists veterans with obtaining those disability benefits. For help recovering the benefits you need, contact us at 800-800-2009 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our disability advocates today.