Proposed VA law changes - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Proposed VA law changes

According to the "other" SD dog forum, over on Dogster, there are proposed changes to the VA's requirements for covering SD's. I won't quote the message here, due to forum rules, but I thought you might like to trot over there to find out about it, so I'm posting a link. (I read the rules and didn't see where that's prohibited - hope I'm right.) That thread also has a link to how to get your voice heard on the proposed changes.

The changes are pretty extensive - OT trained SDs won't be recognized anymore for payment/reimbursement, and only ADI affiliated programs will count as trainers. I know there's a lot of veterans here who will probably be affected by this change.

VA notice of proposed rulemaking-- we need your comments! - Service & Therapy Dogs Forum
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and I forgot to mention that SDs will only be recognized for physical impairments, so PSDs will no longer be a covered option for vets.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 03:19 AM
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wow that is messed up any word on why they are changing it? sorry no time to read article will read later

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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No clue why. The cynic in me tends to believe that with so many young veterans who are going to have PTSD, the VA is just looking for an excuse to avoid having to pay for all those dogs. But I don't know if that's really it.

The link goes to the post on the Dogster forum where someone who works for the Psychiatric Service Dog Society posted about it asking people to send in emails objecting. She put up a link for where to send comments. I figured there were a lot of vets here who would be interested.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 01:33 PM
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No clue why. The cynic in me tends to believe that with so many young veterans who are going to have PTSD, the VA is just looking for an excuse to avoid having to pay for all those dogs. But I don't know if that's really it.
I have a thought regarding what may be (partially) to blame for this, so bear with me for a second.

At my local base, my Civil Air Patrol squadron shares a building with the Purple Heart Society, which offers a wide variety for wounded soldiers. Among the fliers and posters they have out is one that offers "any veteran with PTSD or depression" a chance to either get a Service Dog or train their own dog to become a Service Dog.

I am all for making Service Dogs more accessible to people who need them, BUT one of the requirements for someone to have a Service Dog that seems to fall by the wayside with some of these programs I have seen locally is that the disability must be a legal and not just a medical disability, meaning that it severely impacts at least one major life activity. Many of these Soldiers who get interested in this program don't meet that definition of disability as their symptoms are controlled by medication and the dog is a pet or, at best, an Emotional Support Animal.

There are also a number of organizations that pair Soldiers with PET dogs because dogs provide "emotional support". I see a lot of blurring of the lines between legitimate, task-trained Service Dogs used by people who actually need them as adaptive medical equipment, and pet dogs / ESAs being given to Soldiers because they have signs/symptoms of PTSD, depression, etc.

I think the move from the VA is misguided as it does not recognize legitimate PSDs working for a person with a non-physical disability, but I can see where they are coming from based on what I said above, that a lot of people seem to be getting dogs without having an actual need for them in the sense of a true Service Dog.

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