Research shows that service dogs are hugely beneficial to soldiers returning from service with PTSD. Not only can they reduce the need for medication and help veterans deal with anxiety, but they can also help veterans face fewer night terrors and thoughts of suicide. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the VA still does not cover the thousands of dollars it takes to get and train a service animal, and now, delays to an important study are making it even more difficult for veterans to reap the benefits of a service animal. As a result of these delays and prohibitive costs, help is either unavailable or unaffordable to many veterans.
A Congressional budget bill from 2010 directed to VA to study the use of service dogs for veterans with PTSD. The study should have been finished by 2014, but was suspended due to an incident in which badly behaved dogs bit two children. The $12 million study was redesigned and is now not expected to be finished until 2018. With a government estimate of 22 veteran suicides being committed each day in this country, this is far too long of a wait.
That is why Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida has introduced the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members Act (PAWS), which would set aside $10 million to provide service dogs to veterans with the most severe forms of PTSD. The project was designed as a solution to ensure that veterans have access to the potentially life-saving treatment of a service animal, and would also serve the dual purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of dogs in the treatment of PTSD.
According to Rory Diamond, executive director of K9s for Warriors, a Florida nonprofit that provides 192 veterans a year with service dogs, “Right now is the time to act – not after the VA gets its act together, but right now.”
If you are seeking a veterans disability attorney in South Carolina, George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help. Schedule a free case evaluation with our firm when you call (888) 612-7001. We’re available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.