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Old 09-07-2012, 06:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Finally - Facts on VA Regs re: Benefits

After being covered in blogs, postings, emails, and Facebook of what people were guessing, we can begin to get into the "real" facts on the Federal changes re VA & SDs.

The law discussed in this thread is on new benefits. It is a regulatory law passed by the regulatory agency - The Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Published in the Federal Register on 09-05-12
Department of Veterans Affairs
38 CFR 17
2012-21784
Final Rule

Quotes:
"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its regulations concerning veterans in need of service dogs. Under this final rule, VA will provide to veterans with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments benefits to support the use of a service dog as part of the management of such impairments. The benefits include assistance with veterinary care, travel benefits associated with obtaining and training a dog, and the provision, maintenance, and replacement of hardware required for the dog to perform the tasks necessary to assist such veterans."

"A certificate is required under § 17.148(c)(1) only to enable the veteran to receive service dog benefits, but is not required to gain entry to VA facilities. This rulemaking does not permit or prohibit the access of service dogs to VA health care facilities."

This rule is effective October 5, 2012.

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...rvice-dogs#p-3
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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 09-09-2012 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Two different issues happening at same time.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Rule Does Not Deny Access of Any Service Dog to VA Health Care Facilities

Quote:
"Multiple commenters contended that the certificate requirement in § 17.148(c)(1) as proposed would violate their access rights under the regulations implementing the ADA. See 28 CFR 36.302 (stating that “[a] public accommodation shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal”). We reiterate that this rulemaking does not address the issue of access to VA health care facilities by individuals accompanied by service dogs, and will not be used to determine whether a particular service dog will be allowed to enter a VA facility. Comments that allege unlawful violations of access rights or raise other issues relating to access to VA facilities, therefore, are beyond the scope of this rule. Therefore, we make no changes based on these comments. A certificate is required under § 17.148(c)(1) only to enable the veteran to receive service dog benefits, but is not required to gain entry to VA facilities. This rulemaking does not permit or prohibit the access of service dogs to VA health care facilities."
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Access Issues are mentioned in this quote:

"Access to VA facilities by service dogs accompanying individuals with disabilities is controlled by 40 U.S.C. 3103, which states: “Guide dogs or other service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities and especially trained and educated for that purpose shall be admitted to any building or other property owned or controlled by the Federal Government on the same terms and conditions, and subject to the same regulations, as generally govern the admission of the public to the property.” 40 U.S.C. 3103(a). The VA regulation that currently controls the access of animals to VA facilities is found at 38 CFR 1.218(a)(11), and we are in the process of amending § 1.218(a)(11) to be fully compliant with 40 U.S.C. 3103(a)."


As this quote states: access issues are dealt with by Congress via Public Law/United States Code U.S.C. and signed by the President. There has been major confusion as both laws were being addressed and changed at the same time.

A key that was brought up in several discussions lately with Kirsten Richards of Service Dog Central is the Issue of Access was by Congress in a change in Public Law and the Issue of Additional Benefits was by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in a change in their Regulatory Law.
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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 09-09-2012 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Additional Info inserted for clarification
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This new reg EXPANDS previous benefits -- previous benefits were Guide Dogs ONLY....

Previous regulation:

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 116 (Thursday, June 16, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 35162-35167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14933]

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
38 CFR Part 17
RIN 2900-AN51

Service Dogs
AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.
ACTION: Proposed rule.

SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its
regulations concerning veterans in need of service dogs. Under current
regulations, VA provides benefits to veterans with guide dogs, and this
rulemaking would broaden and clarify those benefits. This rulemaking
would also implement new benefits related to service dogs.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...part-17-a.html
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Under this final rule, VA will provide to veterans with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments benefits to support the use of a service dog as part of the management of such impairments.
Under the new reg. benefits will expand from Guide Dogs only to include Hearing Dogs, and some other Service Dogs but does not include Psychiatric Service Dogs.

In a previous thread I showed where there was a current review on the benefits of PSDs for Vets. It has been stated that when the 3 year study has been completed that the status of PSDs will be readdressed and considered at that time.

On 10-02-11 I posted the following quote:

In 2009, Congress authorized VA to provide service dogs for the aid
of persons with mental illnesses by amending section 1714. Although VA
welcomes the possibility that trained dogs may provide valuable
services to veterans diagnosed with certain mental illness, at this
time we do not have any scientific data to determine, from a purely
clinical standpoint, whether or when service dogs are most
appropriately provided to veterans with mental illness, including post-
traumatic stress disorder. In the National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. 111-84 (2009), Congress mandated a 3-year
study on the effectiveness of dogs for mental health purposes. The
results of this study will help us learn more about the services that
trained dogs can provide for veterans diagnosed with mental health
conditions. Upon the completion of the study and analysis of its
results, VA may revise its regulations in order to provide this service
to our veterans.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...part-17-a.html
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for this. My last day in the Army was August 30 and I am out on medical. I received 100% disability from the VA. I am also in the process of training my service dog. He is currently 17 weeks and we are doing his socialization/familiarization as of right now. He goes to an ADI training facility next year for his formal training. It is good to know he will not be denied access to VA facilities prior to his formal training. Unfortunately for me, military hospitals changed their regs and only ADI certified dogs ar allowed in their hospitals so my pup cannot come to my appointments there until his formal training is complete.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Under this new reg. only Guide, Hearing, or other limited SDs must be trained by an entity that has been approved and accredited by either ADI- Assistance Dog International or IGDF - International Guide Dog Federation.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Unfortunately for me, military hospitals changed their regs and only ADI certified dogs ar allowed in their hospitals
jaggirl47, I have a thread dealing with the other new law that deals with access issues that may interest you.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post2577009
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
jaggirl47, I have a thread dealing with the other new law that deals with access issues that may interest you.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post2577009

The only thing is that the Army Medical Command wrote their own policies regarding access to their military treatment facilities. You are required to have proof of training and obtain an identification tag from the medical center. This means that even during the first year prior to the official training, the service dogs are not allowed in anymore. ADI throughout the first year requires the dogs to go through a socialization and familiarization period. It's kind of backwards. How is my dog supposed to become familiar with the hospital I go to if he isn't allowed in during this time?
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
... You are required to have proof of training and obtain an identification tag from the medical center. This means that even during the first year prior to the official training, the service dogs are not allowed in anymore. ...
jaggirl47, This thread is about the law concerning new/additional benefits for the handlers in helping care for their dogs ..... the other thread that I posted a link for you is about a different law -- the one addressing access.

Two threads - two issues - two different laws from two different sources.
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