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VA Disability Benefits and Guns: How proposed legislation may impact you

Rep for Vets > News  > VA Disability Benefits and Guns: How proposed legislation may impact you

Do you need help or advice? Contact us now.

VA Disability Benefits and Guns: How proposed legislation may impact you

Veterans around the country possess firearms for recreation, protection, and employment, among other things.  Many are apprehensive about pursuing medical treatment and/or the VA disability benefits they may be entitled to because they’re concerned their guns will be taken away. Those who are in treatment (particularly for mental health) may underreport their symptoms as a preventative measure to not lose their right to own a gun.

 Unfortunately, these things hinder a veteran’s ability to get an increased disability rating, which results in them missing out on thousands of dollars in cash benefits they’re entitled to every month. 

However, change may be on the way.

Enter,  the “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act.” The proposed legislation would stop the VA from taking away the gun rights of veterans who require fiduciaries to handle their monthly disability checks, pensions, and other VA benefits. Currently, when a fiduciary is appointed, a veteran is now unable to own or buy a firearm. Also, upon the VA’s appointment of a fiduciary to manage a veteran’s benefits, they are required by federal law to submit the names of these veterans to the FBI’s national instant background check system. This system is utilized by law enforcement to identify people who are ineligible to own or possess firearms.  If the proposed legislation is passed, it would prevent the VA from sending personally identifiable information to the Department of Justice and FBI solely on the basis that the person requires a fiduciary to manage his/her benefits.

If the legislation is passed, who gets to decide when guns get taken away from Veterans? Under the proposed bill, veterans will only lose their right to own or possess firearms after a court determines they are mentally incapacitated and pose a danger to themselves or others. A VA administrator will no longer be empowered to make this determination.

What should I do if the VA proposes a rating of incompetency and wants to appoint a fiduciary? You reserve the right to appeal against the decision to appoint a fiduciary. If the appeal is successful, the Veteran will maintain benefits and keep their right to own a gun. Our office is well-versed in handling this aspect of a case.

I have a mental health condition, but I’m worried about applying for benefits because I don’t want to lose my guns. What should I do?  At Rep for Vets, our goal is to help all veterans get the maximum amount of benefits they’re entitled to. Gun ownership is not restricted simply because you have a disability rating for a mental health condition. We’ve helped tens of thousands of veterans over the years in their pursuit of VA disability benefits, and even those rated at 100% for PTSD typically maintain their gun rights. 

Do you need help or advice? Contact us now.

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