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Biden admin unveils new ‘equity’ plan for black vets

The entrance to the Edward P. Boland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leeds. (Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican/TNS)
February 16, 2024

A new “equity” plan by President Joe Biden’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is pushing for more black veterans to be labeled mentally disabled.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration released a report titled “Equity Assessment and Action Steps for Mental Health Compensation Benefits,” which noted that the rate of disability payments for mental health conditions for black veterans is almost double the rate of disability payments for mental health conditions for white veterans. The Biden administration claimed that the VA needs to take additional steps to increase the number of black veterans who receive disability payments in the name of “equity.”

“A higher percentage of Black Veterans currently receive disability compensation benefits than white Veterans for mental health conditions (21.7% vs. 12.7%),” the report stated. “On average, Black Veterans also apply for disability compensation at higher rates and receive slightly higher disability ratings from VA than white Veterans. However, Black Veterans have lower grant rates than white Veterans for mental health conditions (70.3% vs. 76.0%).”

The report explained that the VA will take “immediate and aggressive action” to remove the gap between grant rates for black veterans in order to “ensure that Black Veterans get the benefits they deserve.”

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According to The Daily Wire, the Biden administration’s emphasis on increasing the number of black veterans who are granted mental disability compensation pushes the narrative of black veterans having a slightly lower grant rate than white veterans while completely ignoring the fact that a significantly higher percentage of black veterans receive disability compensation benefits for mental health conditions compared to white veterans.

To advance the Biden administration’s “equity” policies for black veterans, the VA announced that it would conduct visits at various Defense Department facilities to “discuss the report of disparity findings between Black and white Veterans,” update its training curriculum to place emphasis on the report’s findings, enhance the VA Solid Start Program, work closely with Veteran Service Organizations to ensure service access for black veterans, and work directly with black veteran organizations to encourage more black veterans to apply for mental disability compensation.

The Biden administration’s report concluded, “Moving forward, VA will continue to work aggressively to learn from these findings and use them to eliminate disparities in grant rates for mental health conditions. VA will also continue to study these gaps so we can identify how best to eliminate them.”