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VA To Set Up A New Office To Eliminate Racial Disparities Among Veterans

The new office has been set up by the Department of Veteran Affairs to eliminate the racial disparities against black veterans.

August 3, 2023

The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a new office and team to address health and other benefit inequities among veterans based on racial, sex, or gender discrimination. VA officials announce the set-up of a new team to address disparities across the federal government and assist in improving outcomes for underserved veterans by creating and implementing the VA action plan.

According to the department, the disparities in recruitment, hiring, promotion, or retention of VA employees will be addressed now. A new equity assurance office in the Veterans Benefits Administration has been created to eliminate disparities in benefits decisions, housing, and education benefits.

The department currently maintains multiple offices dedicated to promoting diversity initiatives, such as the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans and the Center for Minority Veterans. These offices were established to generate policy recommendations, provide support to minority veterans, and enhance their access to healthcare and benefits.

VA Secretary, Denis McDonough said, “This new agency equity team will help us deliver on that promise, making sure that we provide every veteran with the world-class care and benefits they deserve — no matter their age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual identity. The team’s first order of business will be identifying any disparities in VA health care and benefits and eliminating them.”

A lawsuit filed in November of last year in Connecticut claims that the department has engaged in discrimination against Black veterans for an extended period of time.

Marine Conley Monk Jr, A veteran filed a lawsuit when he was denied disability benefits, housing assistance, and education benefits because of his skin color. The data reveals that 30% of the claims filed by black veterans were approved.

Compared to the white veterans, the black veterans had a lower grant rate for disability claims which is 65% only. Still, there are higher applications for black veterans than for white veterans.
Consequently, the department is on a mission to serve all veterans, caregivers, and their families and strives to eliminate disparities in giving benefits to veterans.

The Department’s equity team initiatives in the first year will be led by Josh Jacobs and Gina Grosso.

In a February 16 executive order, President Biden mandated that all Cabinet departments establish equity teams and implement new initiatives aimed at promoting racial equity and providing support across the federal government. Emphasizing the government’s obligation, Biden stated that it is its responsibility to eliminate obstacles for those who have faced historical discrimination.

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Kime Patricia. “VA Unveils Team to Study Racial Disparities in Benefit Payouts to Veterans”., June 21, 2023,
VA Unveils Team to Study Racial Disparities in Benefit Payouts to Veterans |

Last Updated: September 20, 2021