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 Process and form for OTH based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identify or Sexual Expression

  

Public Act 21-79 directs 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 that was as likely as not based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

A veteran who received an OTH based on their Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression, or Gender Identity should apply to the EQRB.

 

 

  1. Required Documents

    An application is complete when all the following are submitted:

    1.  Completed and signed application for Restoration of Eligibility for State Veterans Benefits.

    2. Copy of applicant’s military discharge document(s) (e.g., DD 214, NGB 22) reflecting the character of discharge. If the DD-214 clearly indicates the discharge was due to a qualifying condition – for example, the DD-214 states “homosexuality” as the narrative reason for separation – no additional supporting documentation is needed.

     

  2. Optional Supporting Documentation

    Supporting documentation is strongly suggested if the DD-214 states “misconduct,” “discharge in lieu of court martial,” or similar narrative reasons for separation. This section contains examples of documentation the EQRB may find helpful in making an eligibility determination. The listed documents are not required but may be submitted if they help demonstrate that the applicant’s OTH was as likely as not based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

    1. Signed personal statement explaining how the assigned discharge character of Other-Than-Honorable was based on the applicant’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

       

    2. Relevant portions of the Official Military Personnel File. Applicants may contact the DVA if they need assistance in obtaining their OMPF.

       

    3. Letters of support from persons who can attest to the applicant’s good character while serving in the military and/or to the credibility of the information in the applicant’s personal statement. To be helpful to the application, letters should be signed and contain the name of the author.

       

    4. Evidence of medals, commendations, and decorations earned during the applicant’s military service.

       

    5. An administrative decision from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs indicating that the veteran is “honorable for VA purposes,” if such a decision exists. Veterans are encouraged to apply to the EQRB even if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has previously determined the applicant is not eligible for federal benefits.

       

    6. Any other documentation in support of applicant’s claim.

     

  3. Submission of Application

    • Application for Restoration of Eligibility for State Veterans Benefits - Form
    • Applications may be sent via email with all attachments to:  EQRB.dva@ct.gov

    Or via U.S. Mail to:

    Eligibility Qualifying Review Board

    Department of Veterans Affairs

    287 West Street,

    Rocky Hill CT 06067.  

    Questions may be emailed to OAA.dva@ct.gov or call: 860-616-3685   

     

  4. Following Submission of Application
  • An applicant may request a hearing before the EQRB. The EQRB may also require a hearing and/or additional documents may be required at its discretion. In either circumstance, the applicant will be contacted by the DVA to schedule a hearing which may be conducted in person or via an online virtual platform.


  • 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 thirty (30) days of such review.

     

  • The EQRB will consider all documentation and evidence provided by an applicant as part of an application. If an applicant can demonstrate that their OTH discharge was as likely as not 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).