Health Editor’s Note: We all know how a dog can make our lives better and now Veterans with mental health conditions will be guaranteed the ability to have a companion to help them to move through their lives…..Carol
by Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will allow some veterans with mental health conditions to receive service dogs.
The new law orders the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary to develop and launch a five-year pilot program that provides service dog training to benefit veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Previously, the VA only covered some costs of service dogs for veterans with certain physical disabilities, such as blindness, hearing impairment and mobility issues — but not mental health conditions.
Biden signed the bill in the Oval Office. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who led the legislation through Congress, attended the ceremony.
“I’ve had the chance to visit with veterans and their service dogs in my district, and it couldn’t be clearer how service dogs make life better for our veterans,” Slotkin said in a statement Wednesday. “From waking them from PTSD-related nightmares, helping them open doors, or finding an exit in a crowded space, it can be transformational.”
The Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act, or PAWS Act, requires the VA to start the pilot program in early 2022, and it must be carried out by at least five VA medical centers. Read More: