The NYC Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) connects LGBTQ+ veterans with services tailored to their needs.
Veterans who received an other-than-honorable or dishonorable discharge due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression may experience difficulty accessing benefits, including VA home loans, GI Bill educational benefits, and VA healthcare. DVS helps LGBTQ+ veterans impacted by past discriminatory policies get the benefits they deserve by connecting them to discharge upgrade assistance services. DVS also connects LGBTQ+ veterans to caregiver support, VA support groups, and more.
Connect to services by filling out the VetConnectNYC form:
See below for a list of resources to support LGBTQ+ veterans:
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COVID-19 Resource Guide
Generation NYC has launched an online NYC LGBTQ+ COVID guide. This mobile-accessible website contains nearly 100 listings of LGBTQ+ affirming services still available citywide, including food programs, legal services, health resources, and more. See the LGBTQ+ COVID guide.
Discharge Service Upgrades
DVS can connect veterans looking for discharge upgrade assistance to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the New York State Division of Veteran Services (NYS DVS), and the City Bar Justice Center's Veterans Assistance Project. To learn more, visit the discharge dervice upgrade assistance section of our Legal Support page.
Every VA medical center has an LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator who can support LGBTQ+ veterans to address their health care needs. Learn more about the LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System.
The Brooklyn and Manhattan VA campuses offer support groups for LGBTQ+ veterans. The support groups provide a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ+ veterans to share current and past struggles. Learn more about LGBTQ+ support groups.
Survivor and dependent compensation (DIC)
The VA is closing a gap in survivor benefits for certain survivors of LGBTQ+ Veterans—specifically, for those who were unable to wed until the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision, and who, therefore, were not married to their now-deceased Veteran spouses for long enough to qualify for survivor benefits.
Due to bans on same-sex marriages, many LGBTQ+ Veterans were unable to get married until Obergefell v. Hodges (6/26/2015) despite being in “marriage-type” relationships long before that. This wrongly precluded many survivors of those LGBTQ+ Veterans from becoming eligible for survivor benefits because their Veteran spouse died before the marriage met VA’s length-of-marriage requirements (1 year for survivor benefits, 8 years for a higher rate of benefits).
This decision addresses that problem by counting the duration of marriage from when the surviving spouse can establish a “marriage-type” relationship—such as a commitment ceremony, joint banking account, or joint purchase of a house. Importantly, these benefits are not retroactive.
This decision is effective immediately, and survivors can apply now for these benefits. Eligible surviving spouses who apply in the next year will receive benefits backdated to October 11, 2022.
LGBTQ+ Veterans can learn more about VA’s current health care offerings on the LGBTQ+ Health Program website.