Some levels of military discharge can mean no benefits for former service members

For many who leave the U.S. military with less-than-honorable discharges, including thousands who suffered injuries and anguish on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, most or all of the standard veterans benefits are off limits.

That includes items such as medical and mental health care, reduced rates for home loans, subsidized college and work training.

The effects can be severe: Ex-military members with mental health problems or post-traumatic stress disorder can't turn to Veterans Affairs hospitals or clinics. They are excluded from the GI bill, job training and homeless programs.

Republican Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, believes reforms are needed to assist men and women who sacrificed for their country, even if they made mistakes that led to the less-than-honorable discharge.