Biden Admin Wants More Black Veterans Declared Mentally Disabled In The Name Of ‘Equity’

Black veterans get disability benefits twice as much as whites. Biden says ‘equity’ means they should get even more.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with the U.K. Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps at the Pentagon on January 31, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia.
(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

A new “equity” initiative in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to declare more black people to be mentally disabled.

Black veterans currently receive disability payments for mental health conditions at nearly twice the rate of whites. But the Biden administration’s Equity Assessment and Action Steps for Mental Health Compensation Benefits, released Wednesday, said that to attain “equity,” that number needs to be even higher.

“A higher percentage of Black Veterans currently receive disability compensation benefits than white Veterans for mental health conditions (21.7% vs. 12.7%),” the assessment said. “On average, Black Veterans also apply for disability compensation at higher rates and receive slightly higher disability ratings from VA than white Veterans. However, Black Veterans have lower grant rates than white Veterans for mental health conditions (70.3% vs. 76.0%). … In response to these new findings, VA will [be] taking immediate and aggressive action to eliminate this gap and ensure that Black Veterans get the benefits they deserve.”

The justification uses a tortured logic in which, although there is a large discrepancy in blacks’ favor when it comes to actually being granted government disability checks, the Biden administration sliced the numbers until they found a secondary metric in which blacks were slightly behind: The percentage who apply for disability but are deemed ineligible.

The “grant rate” means the portion of people who sought a disability rating who had it granted by the VA, as opposed to the VA saying that the evidence did not support a finding of disability. The Biden administration contends that the “grant rate” needs to be equal by race — even though that would make the percentage of each race actually receiving checks even more unequal.

The move appears to put pressure on evaluators to either look the other way at fraud and rubber-stamp unjustified disability ratings for blacks, or deny benefits to potentially suicidal whites. It also puts the Biden administration in conflict with science, with the result of ostensibly objective medical evaluations being swayed for political reasons.

Ironically, the six-point discrepancy in grant rate, used to justify more equity policies, was likely caused by an existing VA “equity” policy that encouraged blacks to apply for disability. “In recent years, VA has worked to engage Black Veteran [sic] to encourage them to file for the benefits they’ve earned,” the VA said. People who have to be persuaded that they are disabled are likely to have borderline cases more prone to be rejected, causing the “grant rate” to go down for their group.

The VA said it plans to continue that effort, even though it mathematically contradicts its own purported goal. “Throughout 2024, VA will work to continue this trend by working with directly with Black Veterans and organizations to spread the word about this study and encourage Veterans to apply,” it said.

The VA declined to answer questions from or share data with The Daily Wire.

But it acknowledged in its paper that even when it comes to grant rates, blacks are actually ahead of whites in one category, and behind in the other. “There has not been a grant rate gap by race since 2011 for Veterans who filed within one year of discharge,” the paper admitted, but “the gap remains for Veterans who filed more than a year after discharge.”

About half of veterans seek disability within a year of leaving service, while half wait longer. The VA said there was a racial “gap” in the second category, with whites about 2% ahead of blacks, but that there was no racial “gap” in the first category, when blacks were about 2% ahead of whites.

Rather than try to ameliorate the disparity in which blacks are more likely than whites to get disability if they apply within a year of leaving the service, it will lean into it by “doing direct outreach to encourage Black Veterans to file for disability compensation benefits within the first year of discharge,” VA said.

The argument that VA assessors reject certain blacks’ applications out of racism, while readily granting other blacks’ applications, is a more convoluted one than the simple explanation that assessors make decisions based on whether the evidence supports it.

Black people are overrepresented among VA employees by double their portion of the population. They make up a quarter of the VA’s workforce, giving the VA the fourth-highest rate of black employees out of 19 Cabinet agencies, a Daily Wire review of Office of Personnel Management data showed. Nonetheless, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) released a Benefits Equity Assurance Plan in conjunction with the study that said it will seek to hire more blacks by recruiting employees at HBCUs.

The VBA also said it will “mandate unconscious bias and implicit bias training for all VBA employees.” Implicit bias training has been derided by scholars as junk science.

The Equity Assurance Plan said it stems from “President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and EO 14091, which charged the Federal Government with advancing equity.” It said it “has created a new Office of Equity Assurance led by a career senior executive to assess any disparities,” and will use artificial intelligence to try to make sure all numbers are equal by race.

“VBA will continue to champion 
uniform training and curricula related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (I*DEA) to ensure consistent messaging and instruction to its workforce in the respective benefit programs and services,” it said.

The military is undergoing a recruitment crisis driven largely by a decline in white people who want to enlist.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Biden Admin Wants More Black Veterans Declared Mentally Disabled In The Name Of ‘Equity’