MOVA provides special advocacy in the form of specialized outreach programs and expertise for several minority veteran populations, detailed below.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
If you experienced any form of sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence while on active duty and still suffer mental or physical health problems today, you can receive counseling and services at the VA.
If you have not filed for benefits or you filed and were denied and would like to learn more about the changed rules regarding filing for these benefits, please contact your local VSO or MOVA.
For more information: Federal VA: Women Veterans Program Managers
Self-Help Options and Resources
Ordering DD214s and other military documents:
- Through eBenefits: You may be able to access your military personnel records electronically by following the instructions here: Accessing ebenefits and Military Documents.pdf
- Through National Archives: You also may be able to request military records online through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). More information about this process can be found here.
- Through an SF 180: You may also request military records through the use of a Standard Form 180. See here for more information.
Online registration for VA health care: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) now offers an online option to sign up for VA Healthcare if eligible. For more information, see here: Online VA Healthcare Sign Up.pdf
Name Changes for DD 214s
Congress has authorized the correction of records when it is considered necessary either to rectify an error or to remove an injustice. DD Form 214 does not list gender, but it does list your name. While for most non-transgender people a service record showing a former name does not communicate any sensitive information, for transgender people disclosure of the former name can be equivalent to disclosure of transgender status. This can be considered an injustice and will be the strongest basis for your request to update your name on the DD 214.
Generally speaking, to update your DD 214 military discharge record, you will need two things: a completed DD Form 149 (Application for Correction of Military Record) and evidence to support your name change request. If possible, this evidence should include proof of your legal name change and gender transition, such as a U.S. passport, driver's license or government-issued ID card showing your updated name and gender.
The DC Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs can assist you with this process. A copy of DD Form 149 can be found online here .
For more information: "Transgender People and Military Records"
VHA LGBT Veteran Care
The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States and strives to be a national leader in providing care to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans. In 2012, the VHA's Office of Patient Care Services created the LGBT Health Program, which provides policy recommendations, provider-education programs and clinical services to support personalized, pro-active, patient-driven healthcare for LGBT veterans.
For more information: LGBT Veteran Patient Care
External LGBTQ and Veteran-Serving Organizations
Human Rights Campaign is a national organization that advocates for LGBT equality and educates the public about LGBT issues.
Outserv/SLDN works to represent the U.S. LGBT military community worldwide. Their mission is to educate the community, provide legal services, advocate for authentic transgender service, provide developmental opportunities, support members and local chapters, communicate effectively, and work towards equality for all.
American Veterans for Equal Rights is an organization dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, especially the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender current and prior military personnel who have been historically disenfranchised by armed forces policy and discriminatory laws governing military service and benefits.
American Military Partner Association, connecting, supporting, honoring, and serving the partners and spouses of America’s LGBT service members and veterans – our nation’s modern military families.
Transgender American Veterans Association acts proactively with other concerned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations to ensure that transgender veterans will receive appropriate care for their medical conditions in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration’s Customer Service Standards promise to “treat you with courtesy and dignity . . . as the first class citizen that you are.” Further, TAVA will help in educating the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on issues regarding fair and equal treatment of transgender and transsexual individuals. Also, TAVA will help the general transgender community when deemed appropriate.
DC Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs
The Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs (LGBTQ) is a permanent, cabinet-level office within the Office of Community Affairs in the Executive Office of the Mayor, established by statute in 2006 to address the important concerns of the District's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. The District of Columbia has one of the highest concentrations of LGBTQ residents in the country with an estimated 7 to 10% of the population being LGBTQ. Throughout the fiscal years 2008 and 2009 the Office fulfilled its mission through enhancement and expansion of its programs and services. Find out more: HERE
Tribal Veterans Health Care
The Tribal Reimbursement Program provides a means for tribal health facilities to receive reimbursement from the federal VA for direct care services provided to American Indian and Alaskan Native eligible veterans.
For more information: Federal VA: Tribal Health Care Benefits
Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Program
This program offers outreach to veterans incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and referrals and short-term case management assistance upon release from prison.
HCRV services include:
- Outreach and pre-release assessments services for Veterans in prison.
- Referrals and linkages to medical, mental health and social services, including employment services on release.
- Short-term case management assistance on release.
For more information: Federal VA: Re-entry Veterans Services
Incarcerated Veterans Benefits
VA benefits are affected if a beneficiary is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days. Disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran rated 20 percent or more disabled is limited to the 10 percent rate. Payments are not reduced for participants in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses or under community control.
Failure to notify the VA of a veteran’s incarceration can result in overpayment of benefits and the subsequent loss of all VA financial benefits until the overpayment is recovered. VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.
The VA may be able to take a portion of the amount that an incarcerated veteran is not receiving and pay it to his or her dependents, if they can show need. When a veteran is released from prison, his or her compensation or pension benefits may be restored. Depending upon the type of disability, the VA may schedule a medical examination to see if the veteran’s disability has improved or worsened.
For more information: contact your local veteran service officer, or visit the Federal VA: Incarcerated Veterans webpage.
DC Mayor's Office on Returning Citizen Affairs
The Mayor's Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA) mission is to provide zealous advocacy, high-quality services and products, up-to-date, useful information for the empowerment of previously incarcerated persons in order to create a productive and supportive environment where persons may thrive, prosper and contribute to the social, political and economic development of self, family, and community. Find out more: HERE
There is a growing effort nationally and in DC to institute veterans’ courts or dockets to allow district attorneys to send military members and veterans into treatment, rather than jail, when they commit a non-violent offense. These courts are staffed by people who take into consideration the charges and challenges facing veterans who return home from war. They may allow some military members to enter into mental health diversion programs as treatment for non-violent infractions as opposed to automatically jailing the off ender.
The law relies on the judgment of a prosecutor, who will determine on a case-by-case basis which defendants may be eligible for diversion. These prosecutors must consider, for example, whether a veteran who spent four years at a military base should be offered the same diversion opportunity as one who deployed twice to combat situations in Afghanistan or Iraq. Prosecutors must decide how serious the crime must be before diversion is taken off the table and must consider the victim of the offense.
For more information: contact the United States Attorney’s Office or your local veteran service office.
Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program
VJO offers outreach and case management to veterans involved in law enforcement encounters, overseen by treatment courts, and incarcerated in local jails. The purpose of the VJO initiative is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved veterans have timely access to VHA mental health and substance abuse services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.
VA Medical Centers have been strongly encouraged to develop working relationships with the court system and local law enforcement and must now provide outreach to justice-involved veterans in the communities they serve.
Each VA medical center has been asked to designate a facility-based Veterans’ Justice Outreach Specialist, responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails, and liaison with local justice system partners.
For more information: Visit the Federal VA: VJO website for a list of DC’s VJO Specialist Contacts.