Monday, September 17, 2012

VA PTSD Service Dogs Rule: Senator Schumer NY Pushes Back

New York Senator Charles Schumer is speaking out against the new US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule that cuts off funds for service dogs of veterans with PTSD.  This new VA rule is set to take effect next months.

According to CBS New York:
Senator Schumer said research shows that trained service dogs are effective in helping veterans with mental and emotional disorders such as PTSD cope with their return to civilian life.
Federal law currently states that the VA can reimburse vets for the cost of owning a service dog if a doctor signs off on it, but the new policy would limit that reimbursement only to vets with physical disabilities.
The senator was joined by service dogs and veterans during his news conference to appeal for the directive to be tossed out in favor of allowing doctors to decide if a service dog can assist a veteran.
The VA is conducting research on how effective service dogs are at helping vets cope, but wanted to end the program until the study is complete in 2014.
In fact, the VA is conducting a three year clinical trial study on the effects of service dogs relieving PTSD symptoms.  The study is in the first year of the three year study.  
The purpose of this study is to evaluate use of service dogs for individuals who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Objectives include:
(1) assess the impact service dogs have on the mental health and quality of life of Veterans;
(2) to provide recommendations to the VA to serve as guidance in providing service dogs to veterans; and
(3) To determine cost associated with total health care utilization and mental health care utilization among veterans with PTSD.
 Several service dog organizations are participating in this study.  Dogs are adopted from animal shelters, trained as PTSD service dogs, then matched with a veteran.  Individual base line studies are done, then followed quarterly to determine if medical stats - such as blood pressure - change after the veteran is working with the service dog.  At present, there are 350 veterans enrolled in this Florida based study.


  1. I sure hope something comes out of this.

  2. I hope the Senator gets this over-turned. Quite honestly I'm appalled at the treatment of our veterans.

  3. Kim here - I just wanted to let you know that am still following this – early this morning when I first saw this, I promptly added CBS’s news report of Senator Schumer’s news conference to my Facebook wall. When I get home from work I will also add a tweet and add it to my Pinterest if I can. Also, I am on the EEO Committee at work and have a few contacts with those who work with veterans with PTSD – I sent them an email along with a couple of links to news articles about this issue. I don’t know if any of this will help but I don’t see how it could hurt. I will try to get back later when I am home instead of having to use my work computer.

  4. And I also found this article with Senator Schumer

    In the past hour I have flooded my Facebook wall and Twitter with links concerning this issue. Even sent a tweet to Ellen DeGeneres - not sure why but I know she is supportive of vets and is an animal lover.

  5. it was an honor and privileged to be 'one of the veterans with their service dogs' from project heal. as a combat veteran from a deployment to afghanistan in 2003, as a recent graduate from project heal, my service dog lizzy has been their for me because of my mobility injuries and combat ptsd. senator schumer has a back and will continue to be there for us veterans.


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