San Juan Capistrano, CA – President Donald Trump signed legislation introduced by Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) to expand eligibility to receive counseling from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vet Centers to members of the National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard who served during emergency situations, such as a major disaster, civil disorder, or drug interdiction operation. The Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act is the fifth bipartisan bill from Rep. Levin that has been signed into law by the President.
“We must do more to help all servicemembers address the mental health challenges they face, and that includes National Guard, Reserve, or Coast Guard members who often serve during major domestic emergencies,” said Rep. Levin. “I’m proud that President Trump has signed my bill with Congressman Roe to expand access to counseling at VA Vet Centers. We have much more work to do, and I will continue reaching across the aisle to address tragic rates of suicide among our nation’s heroes.”
Prior to enactment of the Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act, National Guard, Coast Guard, and Reserve servicemembers were ineligible to receive readjustment counseling services at VA Vet Centers unless they had served on active military duty in a combat theater or experienced other limited circumstances. However, these servicemembers often serve during emotionally challenging deployments to natural disasters or civil disorders that require counseling but did not qualify for care. The Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act corrects that oversight by expanding eligibility for Vet Center care to these servicemembers.