Veterans Affairs

"Don't ask, don't tell" is how many veterans have approached health care conversations about marijuana use with the doctors they see from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Worried that owning up to using the drug could jeopardize their VA benefits — even if they're participating in a medical marijuana program approved by their state — veterans have often kept mum. That may be changing under a new directive from the Veterans Health Administration urging vets and their physicians to open up on the subject.

It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bill extending the program intended to speed veterans' access to health care beyond its original August end point.

Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

In the winter of 1950, Chinese communist forces stampeded across the frozen border with North Korea. American troops were among those on the other side. They were surrounded and outnumbered.

It became known as "The Battle of Chosin Reservoir," and it left thousands of American service members dead or wounded.

Many Americans just went missing — for decades. Among them was 22-year-old Sgt. Robert Dakin, of Waltham, Mass.

The fix is broken.

Two years ago Congress created the Veterans Choice Program after scandals revealed that some veterans were waiting months to get essential medical care. The $10 billion program was designed to get veterans care quickly by letting them choose a doctor outside the VA system. Now Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing through new legislation to fix the program.

Midway through Matt Keil's second deployment in Iraq, he came home and married his fiancee, Tracy, in 2007.

He had two weeks R&R; no time for a honeymoon.

Before he went back to war the couple had the sort of conversation unique to newlyweds in the military. "I told her if you get a phone call that I'm injured, I'm probably fine," Matt says. "But if they come to the apartment or to your work in person, then I'm dead."

Allison Herrera

Soldiers returning from battle face special challenges. Thousands suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and their care can be more involved and long-term. The nation’s VA hospitals, although under recent scrutiny, will care for more than a million of the nation’s soldiers.


But, the nation’s Native American veterans face a set of extra challenges after fighting on the front lines.


Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education.

Veterans serving time behind bars are still entitled to some — but not all — of the benefits earned through military service. Wednesday, we told you the story of the struggle one former inmate faced trying to inform the Department of Veterans Affairs about his incarceration. Today, we look at a one-of-a kind inmate-run program trying to help other incarcerated veterans work and communicate with the VA to get their benefits.

Clay Hull has a stubborn sense of justice.

After an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq ended his time in the military, he fought the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the amount of compensation they awarded him for his injuries.

"If I'm in the wrong, I'll admit it. But I'm not going to let somebody just push me around, especially the VA," he says.

It was complicated and drawn out, but Hull now gets the maximum the VA pays for disability.