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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that LGBTQ veterans who were denied honorable discharges due to their sexual orientation can now apply to have their state veterans’ benefits restored.

“Restoring state benefits to LGBTQ veterans who were denied honorable discharge simply for being who they are is the right thing to do and an appropriate way to show our appreciation for their service to this country,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday according to Fox News.

“Countless service members were discharged from the military simply because of who they are,” Cuomo said after signing the bill into law. “Adding insult to injury, they were then denied the services and benefits they earned as members of our armed forces who fought to protect our country and defend our ideals. With this measure, we are righting that wrong and sending a message to LGBTQ veterans that we have their backs, just as they had ours.”

In order to receive the state benefits, veterans must fill out the state’s Restoration of Honor Act application, as well as provide their official military personnel file and a personal statement explaining why their character of service was unjust. In certain cases, applicants must also provide an award letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs verifying a service-related disability.


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