In January, members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would give veterans access to free emergency mental health services. The bill is titled Veterans’ Acute Crisis Care for Emergent Suicide Symptoms Act (ACCESS Act) and would increase access to resources for former servicemembers and others who are typically not eligible for veterans’ benefits. Eligible veterans may include those who have an enrollment status, those who have been discharged, or those that qualify under a service-related condition.
The emergency mental health care is intended for qualified veterans who arrive at the emergency room or who call the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) with a suicidal crisis or other emergency situation. What would be covered under the bill as an emergency situation may change depending on the discretion of the VA Secretary.
Under the ACCESS Act, those who qualify for benefits would be able to call the VCL and talk to a medical professional who can clear an individual for treatment. After being cleared by the VCL, a qualified veteran may be eligible for a maximum of 30 days of inpatient care or 90 days of outpatient care.
However, the amount of time a former servicemember qualifies for may vary depending on what the Secretary of Veterans Affairs allows. Eligible veterans may also go directly to the emergency room and receive treatment from an ER medical professional.
Under the proposed bill, a former servicemember may qualify for ACCESS treatment if they have served on active duty for a minimum of 90 days. This may include those who have participated in basic training or additional military schooling. Additionally, members of the Coast Guard and those who are in a reserve unit may qualify for care under the ACCESS Act.
Many veterans find it difficult to identify what benefits they may be eligible for. The attorneys at VetLaw are passionate about helping you transition between active duty and civilian life. An experienced VA-accredited attorney can guide you through the available resources and solutions, so call us today.