The PACT Act is somewhat misunderstood. First, it is a great help to Veterans who have been fighting for service connection for many years, as it removes the key hurdle to establish service connection. However, the PACT Act does not establish new or different benefits; instead, it ensures Veterans who served in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan (among other locations) are presumptively service-connected for certain disabilities related to service in those locations.
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly benefit paid to qualifying surviving spouses and dependent children of Veterans. The monthly rate for 2023 is $1,562.74 and the benefits are tax exempt. For certain surviving spouses, additional monthly payments are available as part of their DIC eligibility. Continue reading “Widows (Surviving Spouses) May Be Owed Additional DIC Amounts”
Our office has recently achieved service-connection for multiple veterans based on personal assault and other forms of harassment caused by race-based enmity. Fortunately for the veterans, as they had been fighting the VA sometimes for decades to demonstrate the effect of race and country-of-origin discrimination, they were awarded significant back benefits as part of their awards. Continue reading “VA Benefits Awarded Based on Race-Based Assaults and Harassment”
The VA healthcare system provides much-needed access to medical care for millions of Veterans each year. Although the majority of VA healthcare professionals are mission-focused and provide quality care to the Veterans they serve, the titanic size of the VA healthcare system permits negligent and sometimes even willful practitioners to repeatedly harm Veterans due to a lack of oversight and accountability at certain VA medical facilities. As demonstrated in the linked Washington Post article, incompetent and/or impaired practitioners not properly supervised or whose adverse events are not monitored in systematic fashion can harm or kill large numbers of patients at a single VA medical facility.
Please click the link below to access the full article…
In 2018, we posted a blog entry addressing that, well over a decade past Hurricane Katrina, Veterans’ claims were still hampered by mistakes made by local VA offices in the months and years following the disaster. The prior post discussed that Louisiana Veterans who filed claims between 2005 and 2012, or those whose claims were in the evidentiary phase at the New Orleans Regional Office, faced myriad problems including unadjudicated claims, ratings mistakes, and failure to retain and consider medical records, examinations and lay statements, among other issues. Continue reading “Louisiana Widow Prevails At the CAVC on Katrina-Era VA Mistake”
A recent memorandum decision by Judge Hagel serves as a reminder to Veterans that forwarding a favorable disability finding by the Social Security Administration is no “slam dunk” for a finding of unemployability/TDIU. Veterans that submit SSA decision letters on their own miss the crucial opportunity to explain at the outset that while an SSA finding may reference several conditions that—in the aggregate—render the Veteran disabled; the Veteran’s service-connected conditions, even considered alone, render the Veteran unemployable. Continue reading “Unrepresented Veterans Beware: SSA Disability Determinations Do Not Guarantee Unemployability Findings By the VA”
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. The VA considers prostate cancer as “presumptively related” to Agent Orange exposure, so that any Veteran who served in Vietnam will have their prostate cancer service-connected for disability purposes. Continue reading “Prostate Cancer and Vietnam-Era Service: What Widows Should Know”
Studies of young U.S. veterans show that the probability of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) grew with the increasing severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. OSA is often seen in older Veterans whose long-term PTSD or other service-connected disabilities caused increased weight gain, a common cause and/or aggravating factor of OSA. Continue reading “Veterans’ High Rates of Sleep Apnea Linked to PTSD”
Veterans who are discharged under Conditions Other Than Honorable often face considerable difficulty earning VA Benefits. Veterans with such discharges will often receive medical care at a VA medical center, and may have a PTSD or other mental health diagnosis directly related to combat service. Those Veterans are oftentimes befuddled and frustrated when the VA denies their service connection claim despite the confirmed combat stressor and current PTSD diagnosis by a VA provider. Continue reading “How Vets with “Bad Paper” Can Still Win PTSD Benefits”