Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi invites you to attend the Department of Veterans Affairs annual Black History Month Ceremony at the DVA Campus on Thursday February 23rd at 10:30am with keynote speaker State Representative Anthony Nolan. Information click here

Application Processes for Restoration of State Benefits for Certain Veterans with an OTH Discharge

EQRB Administrative Structure and Procedures

 

• Public Act 21-79 directed the CT State Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to establish the Qualifying Review Board, hereinafter administratively referred to as the Eligibility Qualifying Review Board (EQRB), for the purpose of restoring eligibility for State Veterans Benefits to Veterans who have an Other-Than-Honorable (OTH) characterization of discharge due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The EQRB will also review restoration of State Veterans Benefits eligibility applications for Veterans who have an OTH caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting from military service or as a result of military sexual trauma (MST). PTSD, TBI and MST applicants may submit a complete and clinically approved Qualifying Condition Verification form to receive a DVA Eligibility letter.

• The EQRB is a five-member body with three members appointed directly by the DVA Commissioner, one member from the DVA Board of Trustees and the DVA Manager of Advocacy and Assistance. • Restoration of eligibility for State Veterans Benefits to an applicant who is a military Veteran domiciled in Connecticut by the DVA as a result of the EQRB or Qualifying Condition Verification review process does not alter an applicant’s official federally issued character of discharge and does not provide eligibility for federal Veterans benefits.

• EQRB applicants are to submit as complete a record an Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) as possible in connection with their application, which they may request online at: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/evetrecs-help.html  All such military records requested must be sent directly to the EQRB address in the instruction page, and not to the applicant or any other person. Applicants may contact the DVA if they need assistance in obtaining their OMPF, and if there is an unreasonable delay in the applicant being able to obtain a complete OMPF the applicant may request that the EQRB consider the application without a complete OMPF.

• Only complete applications will be considered by the EQRB. The EQRB will conduct a review within thirty (30) days of receipt of a completed application and will render a written recommendation to the DVA Commissioner of whether to restore eligibility for State Veterans Benefits to the applicant within ten (10) days of such review. Oral argument or testimony and/or additional documents may be required at the discretion of the EQRB. In such circumstances, the applicant will be contacted; however, the EQRB will strive to make determinations without the need for oral argument.

• The EQRB will consider all documentation and evidence provided by an applicant as part of an application. If an applicant is able to demonstrate that such discharge was based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, then the EQRB will recommend that the DVA Commissioner restore eligibility for State Veterans Benefits to the applicant.

• The DVA Commissioner will consider the recommendation of the EQRB and render a written decision on the restoration of eligibility for State Veterans Benefits to an applicant within ten (10) days of receipt of an EQRB recommendation. Said decision will be sent to the applicant via email and U.S. Mail.

• An applicant denied restoration of eligibility for State Veterans Benefits may file a request for reconsideration (which may include supplemental supporting documentation) within fifteen days of receipt of the decision. The DVA Commissioner will consider each request for reconsideration and render a final decision within ten days of receiving a request. The DVA Commissioner’s final decision upon reconsideration may be appealed to the state Superior Court within forty-five days pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (C.G.S §4-183).

 

Revised July 6, 2022