Gov. Cuomo signs bill restoring benefits eligibility for discharged LGBTQ veterans

New York Gov. Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation restoring benefits eligibility for LGBTQ veterans who were denied of an honorable discharge due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Governor’s office noted that hundreds of thousands of veterans received less than honorable discharges under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and other similar policies. As a result, these individuals are not qualified to receive veterans’ benefits.

The Restoration of Honor Act

The newly-signed Restoration of Honor Act gives LGBTQ veterans the right to apply for the restoration of their New York State veterans benefits.

Additionally, the law restores benefits eligibility for those who received less than honorable discharges because of military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic disorder.

New York is the first state in the country to restore benefits for veterans who received less than honorable discharges because of their LGBTQ identity or traumas.

In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said the state through the Restoration of Honor Act is “sending a message to LGBTQ veterans that we have their backs, just as they had ours.”