"...Arrowood decided to call Veterans Affairs and see if he could get some help from them. He wasn't suicidal or anything, but he wanted to know what they could do to help him out, because he was lower than he’d ever been, felt more alone than he knew was possible, and the furthest into the future he could imagine was reaching for the door handle that led outside.
It was kind of interesting speaking with the Department of Veterans Affairs, because Arwood learned that the U.S. government considers eligibility for psychological counseling to be a reward for not really needing it. By excluding veterans with less-than-honorable discharges, they were excluding those who had acted the worst in a war - probably for psychological reasons - and, rather than assisting, set them loose instead on the general population, resulting in pretty predictable violence, wife-beating, alcoholism, criminality, family disintegration, long-term unemployment, welfare,emergency medical costs, unpaid medical bills, loan defaults, drug use, federal and state drug-enforcement costs, state legal fees for prosecuting criminals, prison costs, and appeal processes, not to mention all the traumatized children they beat the crap out of. But Atwood was told that he wasn’t necessarily excluded. His was an in between case - being other than honorable - that may or may not have been disqualifying, based on the standards set under Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations <C.P.R.> §3.12.
Now, as it was explained to Arwood one afternoon by phone in 1991, as he wiped potato chip crumbs from his AC/DC T-shirt, he still might retain eligibility for VA health-care benefits for service-incurred or service-aggravated disabilities, unless he was subject to one of the statutory bars to benefits set forth in Title 38 United States Code §5303(a), Authority: Section 2 of Public Law 95-126 (Get. 8, 1977).
“Uh-huh,” he’d said.
He might be eligible for pending verification status. “You have to put in a request for an administrative decision regarding the character of service for VA health-care purposes, and that must be made to the local VA regional office or VARO. Do you know where your VARO is?”
“Um . .
“This request may be submitted using a VA Form 7131, Exchange of Beneficiary Information and Request for Administrative and Adjudicative Action. In making determinations of health-care eligibility, the same criteria will be used as are now applicable to determinations of service connection when there is no character-of-discharge bar.
"Sir! Are you there?"
-- "The Girl in the Green Dress"