Approved on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 – the $10 million dollar, five-year pilot program will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. For the first time in American history, the VA will pay for service dogs for Veterans with PTSD.
The PAWS ACT, or ‘Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members for Veterans Therapy Act,’ authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program on dog training therapy that will provide dog training skills and service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill earlier this month after it was passed by the House in March.
The new law will also:
- Designate eligible Veterans to receive dog training instruction from nongovernmental accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit Service Dog training organizations.
- Allow eligible Veterans to learn positive reinforcement training in skills that are unique to their own needs to help address or alleviate their PTSD symptoms
- Provide Veterans participating in the program with the opportunity to adopt a dog that they actively assisted in their training, provided that the Veteran and their health provider determine it to be in the best interest of the Veteran.
“We commend all involved that supported this bill. We have Veterans on staff, and we work with Veterans as part of our outreach program. We have seen first hand the many therapeutic benefits of dogs. This new law is a giant leap in the right direction to helping reduce Veteran suicide which currently claims over 22 Veterans each day. This will help with PTSD recovery and more. Thank you for doing the right thing. Veterans in need, please contact the VA immediately to learn more.” Kos Tonics
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