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Know Your Rights: Returning Service Members with Disabilities

March 16, 2010
DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess, U.S. Navy/Released

DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess, U.S. Navy/Released

The following post appears courtesy of the Civil Rights Division.  Tremendous sacrifices are made by the brave men and women who serve our nation in the military. When they return home, veterans often face new challenges. For those men and women who are wounded in combat, barriers can be even greater. A returning service member may have new disabilities resulting from the loss of a limb, hearing or vision loss, traumatic injury or post traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Justice wants to ensure that those who return home from war with new disabilities know they are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other federal laws. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in American civic life. The Department’s Civil Rights Division has created an easy-to-follow booklet designed to provide service members who have been seriously wounded with a general understanding of their rights. The booklet also includes information about where to turn for additional information and assistance. An electronic version of the booklet can be viewed here and downloaded here. The ADA uses different standards than the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs in determining disability status. It is critical that returning service members know their rights under the ADA. To order individual print copies of the Returning Service Members with Disabilities brochure, please call the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY). Those organizing a national or regional conference related to service members wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom can contact the ADA Speakers Bureau to request a expert speaker who can discuss these laws.

Servicemembers Initiative

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Updated March 3, 2017