NEW JERSEY – Tragically there are approximately 1000+ New Jersey Veterans, who have received “Other Than Honorable” (OTH) discharge. The Department of Defense discharge status of OTH, typically for relatively minor offenses, has a major impact upon VA benefits.
Veterans have among the highest amount of homelessness, mental health challenges, and suicide. Sadly, veterans, disproportionately those having served in combat, comprise upwards of 8% of our state prison population.
For those OTH veterans suffering from combat trauma, brain injury, and military sexual trauma, there are often few, in any, services provided.
The NJRC report entitled, Click link A National Veterans Crisis: A New Jersey Solution (link here) (link here) examines the journey of those veterans returning home, principally from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have received OTH status and who have therefore largely been denied medical, psyche, and addiction treatment benefits.
Thank you to Senate President Scutari and General Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and Senators Cryan, Cunningham, and Vitale for their leadership in providing for a New Jersey legislative solution to this crisis. Thank you to the NJRC Veterans Task Force and Chair Will Sheehan for ensuring that the voices of our veterans are being heard.
At a minimum, our veterans returning home should receive those services necessary for reentry into civilian life; our responsibility is to make them whole from the trauma of combat.
Please read the report, advocating for our veterans, and working to provide basic essential services to those who have placed themselves in harm’s way for the sake of our nation.
Dennis M. Duddie
Bergen County New Jersey
Senior Vice Commander / Adjutant