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Assistant Professor Yelena Duterte is Published in the Washington Post

Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Veterans Legal Clinic, Yelena Duterte, writes an opinion piece was in response to an OpEd by the Washington Post’s Editorial Board in regards to veterans disability benefits. Check out her blurb below or click here to access the full article.


"Veterans go into the military for many reasons. They might feel a patriotic pull to serve this nation. Others might see it as a steppingstone in their career in public service or leadership roles. And many veterans go into the service because of the promises this country makes for when they come home to have the American Dream. We made a promise to veterans that if we send them into danger and they are injured, we will take care of them.

I agree with the editorial that Veterans Affairs needs to revise its rating schedule, as many ratings do not reflect the severity of a veteran’s disability or symptoms. The VA rating schedule needs to be amended to reflect what we now know about disabilities and how the symptoms impact employment.

As for income restrictions and taxes, it is important to understand that a veteran’s income potential might be diminished by service-connected disabilities that can negatively affect employment opportunities. This can be a shorter career, a shorter life span, missing days of work and income because of illness, or not getting the opportunities they would have gotten but for those disabilities. The National Institutes of Health has found that female and male veterans with 100 percent VA ratings have 22 percent and 11 percent diminished life expectancies, respectively. We are responsible for this.

Saving money on the backs of veterans who sacrificed for this nation is not the answer. Instead, we should consider whether going to war is worth the cost. That cost includes caring for our veterans when they come home."