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Massachusetts board to help LGBTQ veterans discharged under "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" get state benefits

BOSTON – A newly created “Veterans Equality Review Board” will help LGBTQ veterans who were discharged under the defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy get state benefits in Massachusetts.

As WBZ-TV reported last year, little had been done previously to make sure those veterans have access to state benefits like food, housing and medical assistance. But the new board will create an application process for those who received an “other than honorable discharge” under Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.

The five-member board will review those applications and then make recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Services.

“Twelve years after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the unfortunate truth is that many service members are still impacted by this policy and many of them call Massachusetts their home,” said state Sen. John Velis, who sponsored the new policy in the budget. “The work of the Veterans Equality Review Board is all about ensuring that LGBTQ veterans across the Commonwealth have the same access to benefits and services that their fellow veterans have.”

The policy that required LGBTQ members of the military to keep their sexual identity concealed was repealed in 2010.

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