SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez reports that Assembly Bill 1565 to assist older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) veterans in accessing their military benefits passed the Assembly Floor today and now heads to the Governor.
“What we have found is that LGBT veterans do not access their military benefits and health care services at the same rate as their heterosexual counterparts,” said Pérez. “When these veterans go without adequate care, it can lead to serious health impacts. The situation worsens as people age, with chronic conditions, service-related injuries, and age-related diseases going untreated. Given the sacrifices veterans have made in serving and protecting our country, AB 1565 offers a sensible strategy to help them access adequate health care.”
Specifically, AB 1565 authorizes a grant program to support culturally competent outreach to older LGBT veterans to help facilitate access to their earned military benefits and health services that are provided through County Veterans Service Offices.
According to a survey conducted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, out of the people they serve, 22% or 681 individuals are LGBT veterans, and out of those, only 4% were receiving their earned benefits.
The idea for this bill was brought to Pérez by the Coachella Valley chapter of Veterans for Peace.