According to our Veterans Service Organization partners, there are an estimated 1 million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Veterans in the U.S. Here at VBA, we remain dedicated to providing all Veterans, service members and their families with the benefits they have earned, regardless of sexual orientation. To help us better serve all who served, here are the answers to some of the most common questions we hear and what you can do to make a difference.

What benefits are available to LGBT Veterans?

We provide health care and benefits to all eligible Veterans, including those who identify as LGBT. VA recognizes all same-sex marriages without regard to where Veterans live. All Veterans in same-sex marriages who believe they are eligible for VA benefits should apply. Those denied claims based on prior guidance should re-apply for benefits.

Benefits for dependents and survivors, such as Survivor’s Pension, home loans and more, are also available. In addition, Veterans can select beneficiaries for a variety of benefits, regardless of sexual orientation. These benefits include:

LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators are also available at every VA health care facility to help Veterans navigate available services. More information on health care services is available at VA.gov.

How can Veterans upgrade their Character of Discharge?

Another common question centers around how Veterans can get their DD214 upgraded, making them eligible for benefits and services. The specific process for updating a discharge varies depending on a Veteran’s circumstances. VA’s Character of Discharge wizard allows Veterans to answer a simple set of questions to get step-by-step instructions.

What can I do to help ease Veterans’ concerns?

We want to alleviate any fears or concerns some LGBT Veterans may have when seeking assistance from VA and at all our VBA facilities. To ensure that we continue to provide world-class customer service to all Veterans, it is our duty to report any incidents of harassment, poor treatment or discrimination immediately. We must also refrain from making assumptions, use inclusive language, and remember that words mean different things to different people. Check out the Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) National Glossary of Terms for evolving vocabulary and definitions.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, check out the Diversity and Inclusion training available from the Office of Resolution, Management, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Angela Childers-Conner is a marketing and communications specialist with VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement.

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3 Comments

  1. Megan Kleemann June 16, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Amazing changes within the VA, however as an Qrmy Veteran whose service-connected disability prevents me from safely carrying a child for myself and my wife, it really sickens me watching heterosexual veterans receiving fertility treatments because of the rule that requires a veteran and spouse to be able to individually provide both sperm and egg–no donors allowed. I would happily pay for sperm and have it sent to the VA’s preferred fertility center so that my wife and I can have a child, instead, we continue to be discriminated against and have to take out significant loans to pay for this all on our own, despite the fact that if it weren’t for the disability caused by my service, I would be able to healthfully carry a child with no extraordinary fertility assistance needed.

  2. Danny Dabbs June 16, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    I saw to mental health professionals at the Springfield,Il. VA clinic. When I told them I am gay they both assured me they could treat me but both let me know that homosexuality was against their religious beliefs. I am now going to try Bloomington,Il. VA. Hopefully I will encounter more enlightened therapists there. I don’t think I could have counted on the Springfield therapists to be non judgemental.

    • Kristen Jacobs June 29, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Danny, you should file a complaint. That is unacceptable. So sorry to hear this.

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