April 25, 2013
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will move again this week to pass symbolic legislation allowing retired National Guard and reserve component members to officially be called “veterans.”
This will be the third time the committee has passed a measure that offers no extra pay or additional benefits — just the ability to stand and be recognized publicly on Veterans Day, Memorial Day or other ceremonial occasions.
“Today, a reservist can successfully complete a Guard or reserve career but not earn the title of ‘Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States,’ said Rep. Timothy Walz, D-Minn., a retired National Guard command sergeant major and chief sponsor of HR 679, The Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2013.
For the full story, click on the following link: http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130422/BENEFITS04/304220016/Lawmakers-renew-fight-call-retired-reservists-veterans-
December 4, 2012
Gulf War illness, the series of symptoms ranging from headaches to memory loss to chronic fatigue that plagues one of four veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, is due to damage to the autonomic nervous system, a study released Monday shows.
“This is the linchpin,” said the study’s lead author, Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
“The disease itself is so difficult to express and to understand,” Haley said, explaining that veterans described simply that they “don’t feel well” or “can’t function,” without being able to further explain a disease that affects the automatic functions of their bodies, such as heat regulation, sleep or even their heartbeats.
November 20, 2012
In a 2011 audit of the VA Disability Compensation System at 16 Regional Offices, the VA Office of the Inspector General estimates that the rating staff incorrectly processed 23 percent of the 45,000 claims inspected.
The IG investigated offices throughout the US and focused mainly on the handling of the following five types of claims: 1) extra-schedular 100 percent disability evaluations (TDIU), 2) PTSD, 3) TBI, 4) Herbicide Exposure, and 5) Haas (Haas v Nicholson: “blue water” claims from Vietnam Agent Orange exposure). The processes evaluated ranged from mail handling to actual disability percentage awards.
Of the 16 Regional Offices, Baltimore, MD and Anchorage, AK scored the lowest in compliance with VA standards. Both failed to meet 14 of the 15 process requirements. Extended management vacancies were cited as one of the linking factors between all poorly performing Regional Offices. Because of the vacancies, these offices lacked continuity and proper oversight. As a result, procedures were not developed or implemented to correct previously identified problems.
Veterans with legal advocates are more successful at obtaining benefits. Viterna Law provides qualified help–Veteran to Veteran to help you get your benefits.
Read more: http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2011/05/va-audit-23-percent-of-disability-claims-incorrectly-processed/#ixzz2Cp7k81CC MilitaryAdvantage.Military.com
November 20, 2012
WASHINGTON — More than half of America’s veterans say they have little or no understanding of the benefits due them, despite efforts over recent years to match returning soldiers with the help and services they need.
An analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs survey data found that younger veterans — those who served in the post-9/11 war period — are better versed in their benefits. But even among those veterans, 40 percent say they have little or no understanding of their benefits, a figure that climbs to two-thirds for those unfamiliar with life insurance benefits available.
To read the article in its entirety, please click on the following link:
November 20, 2012
- There have been 10 times as many long-term spinal pain casualties unrelated to combat injuries among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans compared with blast injuries.
- After being medically evacuated from Iraq with non-battle-related spinal pain, patients have less than a 20% chance of returning to their unit and regular duty.
- 60% of veterans seeking care for spine problems have serious psychological distress.
“We see quite a bit of spine pain among returning veterans,” said Tom Kotsonis, a staff physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee. “The vast majority of young combat veterans we see are suffering from neck and back pain.”
To read the entire article, click on the link below:
November 11, 2012
DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of the following:
- Military service member who died while on active duty, OR
- Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
- Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling
- for at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
- since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
- for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
The surviving spouse is eligible if he or she:
- validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
- was married to a service member who died on active duty, OR
- married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
- was married to the veteran for at least one year, OR
- had a child with the veteran, AND
- cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
- is not currently remarried.
Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC.
The surviving child(ren) if he or she is:
- unmarried AND
- under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school.
(Note: Certain helpless adult children are entitled to DIC. Call the toll-free number for the eligibility requirements for those survivors.) The surviving parents may be eligible for an income-based benefit. See our fact sheet, Parents’ DIC, or call the toll-free number below for more information.
September 30, 2012
WASHINGTON—The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has approved $28.4 million in grants to fund 38 projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia that will provide transitional housing to homeless Veterans. Among these 38 projects, 31 will provide temporary housing to homeless Veterans with the goal that they will retain the residence as their own.
“As we drive toward our goal to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015, VA continues to find innovative ways to permanently house Veterans who were formerly homeless,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “Under President Obama’s leadership, we have made incredible strides in creating programs to aid these brave men and women who have served our Nation so well.”
Thirty-one of the grants were awarded through VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program’s (GPD) “Transition in Place” model. The program allows Veterans the opportunity to take over payment of a lease instead of moving out after using VA services—substance use counseling, mental health services, job training and more. Other VA programs require Veterans living in transitional housing to move out after 24 months. A list of the grant recipients can be found at: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/GPD.asp.
GPD helps close gaps in available housing for the nation’s most vulnerable homeless Veterans, including women with children, Indian tribal populations, and Veterans with substance use and mental health issues.
Those receiving funding have undergone a rigorous review by teams of experts rating each application under objective criteria to ensure that those funded have the ability to provide the services described and a solid plan to get these Veterans into housing with a high probability of obtaining residential stability and independent living.
September 25, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. — It took four suicides to raise public awareness of how devastating head injuries can be in football.
It took brain injuries from countless improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan to help turn what was called a “silent epidemic” into a very vocal one.
Since 2006, four former NFL players have committed suicide by shooting themselves: Andre Waters, Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and Ray Easterling, who killed himself in his Richmond home.
Studies of the brains of Easterling, Waters and Duerson showed damage from repeated blows to the head. The initial autopsy on Seau’s brain did not list concussions or brain injury as a contributing cause of death. Samples of Seau’s brain tissue have been sent to the National Institutes of Health for more advanced studies.
September 24, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California veterans and their families will receive a slew of new state benefits — from cheaper college tuition to expedited vocational licenses — under a legislative package signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday.
The Democratic governor said in a statement that the 18 bills “respect the honor and dignity of those who serve.”
He also took the opportunity to needle Congress about failing to work across party lines for the benefit of service members in a similar way.
“Yesterday, a bill to invest in job training for veterans was blocked because of Washington political infighting,” he said. “Here in California, Republicans and Democrats joined together to support our veterans.”
Among the bills signed into law are AB2371, which provides treatment for criminal defendants suffering from a mental illness acquired during military service, and SB1287, which grants injured veterans discounted fishing licenses.
September 24, 2012
For more than two years, former Marine gunnery sergeant Matt Hannan has waited for a ruling on whether he is entitled to disability payments for PTSD.
The 35-year-old New Kensington resident said he filed the claim with the Veterans Benefits Administration before he was medically discharged in 2010, following 15 years of service and two tours of duty in Iraq.
“Every time I try to get an answer, I get no answer,” he said.
Hannan is one of nearly 825,000 veterans nationwide stymied by a bureaucratic backlog that has delayed payments for war-related disabilities, according to a national analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting.