Archive for the ‘Veterans' Disability’ Category
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Veterans can enjoy many health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to the VA, about 40 percent of the more than 22 million veterans are receiving health care from the Veterans Health Administration, and there are still more options available.
Veterans who were honorably discharged after at least two years of military service may qualify for VA health care. Disabled veterans are given priority for services through VA hospitals and medical centers. There aren’t any premiums, but a co-pay may be required and services may be limited in rural areas.
Disabled veterans may also qualify for other government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid benefits depending on their age, income, and the nature of their disability. Tricare is another option for military veterans and their immediate family members, with several plans and options for health care coverage.
Health Care for Disabled Veterans
When veterans apply for and are approved for veterans disability benefits they obtain proof that they have a service-connected disability. This can often help qualify them for expedited medical care and evaluations in the VA health system.
Disabled veterans currently enrolled in the VA health care system will qualify as having health care coverage in regards to the upcoming requirements of the Affordable Care Act that require everybody obtain health insurance. However, military spouses not covered under VA health care will still have to comply with the new laws, so programs such as Tricare may be important resources to look into in the coming months.
If you are a veteran seeking benefits for a disabling condition you believe was acquired due to or during your military service you have the right to file a claim for veterans’ disability benefits. The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is here to help, so contact us today – 1-888-234-5758.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been the center of many debates regarding how effective the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been on providing health care to disabled veterans. This condition can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia and emotional instability that makes life difficult in regards to working and socializing.
Therapy for PTSD has been improving over the years, but one of the biggest obstacles for many veterans suffering from this disorder has been obtaining mental health care. Therapy sessions are conducted by trained mental health professionals which requires visits to VA hospitals and clinics. Some veterans are unable to make these visits due to travel complications, leaving them without the benefit of therapy for their condition.
Recently, a study by the San Diego VA offices has found that the latest therapy choice for PTSD care – telehealth conferences – may be as effective as in-person sessions. Telehealth is where conferences between veterans and therapists or counselors are conducted via video feed, eliminating the need for travel.
The study included 207 veterans in the San Diego area who participated in a 12-week PTSD therapy course. During treatment, researchers evaluated the veterans’ preferences toward telehealth conferences compared to face-to-face therapy. They found that most veterans did not mind the video conferences, and some even preferred it over in-office meetings. While veterans in the in-person therapy group had greater improvement after the 12-session period, there wasn’t any difference between the groups in six-month follow-ups.
Telehealth services are available through many VA hospitals and clinics, especially in rural areas where there are no convenient VA health care facilities. Video conferencing is also helping with other veterans’ disabilities such as managing treatment plans for conditions such as diabetes or cancer.
Veterans who are enrolled in the VA disabled veterans benefits system may have earlier access to the latest medical technology and services. When a veteran works within the VA health care system they are entitled to health care for disabling conditions acquired due to their military service. The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is here to help disabled veterans obtain the health care and benefits they deserve after serving our country. Learn about your right to benefits as a disabled veteran – call today to speak with a disability claims representative – 1-888-234-5758.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Amputee veterans have seen some amazing advances in prosthetic technology in recent years and now smartphones may help give additional control to disabled veterans.
In the past, loss of limb meant a veteran had to work with a static prosthetic limb or undergo programming at a doctor’s office every time the limb needed to be adjusted. The i-limb line of prosthetics was among the latter class of bionic limbs, and for many amputees it was inconvenient to visit a specialist for programming of grip responses.
The latest line of i-limbs now features a phone application that can be linked to the prosthetic in order to let the user change grip settings when needed. The user can select from 24 grip patterns from a smartphone with the new technology.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has dedicated a specific research branch to helping amputee veterans regain mobility and dexterity after loss of limb. The VA Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering is focused on improving quality of life for disabled veterans who lose limbs during active duty or due to combat-related illnesses or injuries.
Amputee veterans who suffered loss of limb due to a combat injury or service-connected illness may qualify for veterans’ disability benefits. Losing a limb or even loss of a part of the limb can be life-altering and result in long-term and permanent medical needs aside from prosthetics. These needs are often qualifying factors for veterans’ disability benefit compensation.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is focused on helping our nation’s disabled veterans obtain the full range of benefits and compensation to which they are entitled. Contact our veteran’s disability firm to speak with a disability claims representative – 1-888-234-5758.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have suffered health problems that may lead to disability claims as a result of exposure to open burn pits during deployment. Respiratory problems have been linked to exposure to these pits among vets who were stationed at or near bases that use these pits to dispose of trash from the base. Recently, the Forward Operating Base Salerno has come under fire for inoperable incinerators and use of open burn pits for trash removal.
The Salerno base is home to two inoperable burn pits that have gone into disrepair over the three years since they were initially installed. Currently, stagnant water has built up near the pillars which may create a potential hazard to nearby servicemembers, as it could become a breeding area for mosquitoes carrying malaria.
Burn pits were banned by the Pentagon in large war-zone bases due to the large number of health concerns and lawsuits, according to Stars and Stripes. Servicemembers in active duty in the areas where burn pits are operated may later find they suffer from health conditions due to their exposure to these burn pits.
From Agent Orange use in Vietnam to toxic burn pit fumes in Iraq and Afghanistan, any veteran who is exposed to environmental hazards during his or her active duty that causes disability may qualify for veterans disability benefits.
Proving a connection between military service and the disabling conditions is necessary to file a claim. A veterans disability attorney from the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help if you’re pursuing a claim related to health conditions stemming from burn pit exposure, or other conditions resulting from military service. Contact us at 1-888-234-5758.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Disabled female veterans are becoming a larger percentage of the veteran population. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), there were approximately 2.2 million women veterans, some of whom require medical care through the VA system for service-connected disabilities.
A new hotline, 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636) has opened to provide important information about veterans’ benefits, health care, and other resources and services. The hotline links female veterans, their families, and caregivers to valuable resources following their military service.
While disabled female veterans benefit greatly from this service from the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is open to all female veterans regardless of disability status. The operators can connect callers to various VA branches to assist with issues such as:
- health care appointments;
- education resources;
- veterans’ burial services; and
- benefit application status.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers many services for disabled veterans that specifically target the needs of female veterans. In 2010 the VA opened an outbound call center specifically designed to contact disabled female veterans to encourage them to enroll in the VA health care system.
With nearly 15 percent of active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve military forces made up of female soldiers, the number of female veterans is expected to climb in the next few years. VA health care totals showed 160,000 female veterans utilized its services in 2000 and climbed to more than 354,000 in 2012. VA health care services for female veterans may cover general care, women-specific services, and disability care.
The qualifications to apply for veterans disability benefits are no different between male and female veterans. When veterans believe they are suffering from disabling conditions related to military service, they are entitled to seek disability benefits through the VA.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help disabled female veterans file for veterans disability benefits. Call us at 1-888-234-5758 or fill out our contact form to get in touch with us today.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that disabled veterans waiting over one year for a decision on their veterans disability claim will have their cases expedited. A new initiative has started to help expedite the claims that have been sitting in the backlog for over a year – a situation that should never have occurred, according to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“Too many Veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” said Shinseki. His department is implementing a new policy where VA veterans disability benefits claims raters will now make provisional decisions to determine if a year-old claim requires more evidence or if it is complete enough for a decision to be issued.
If any additional evidence such as a medical examination is required, the VA will expedite the order and place the disabled veteran on a priority list for a VA examination. Approved benefit compensation will be retroactive to the date the initial veterans disability claim was filed, especially in cases where an increase is warranted due to additional evidence of the severity of the disability.
Further, homeless veterans’ disability claims will be prioritized along with disabled veterans with limited resources and income. Other special categories of disabled veterans include those who received the Medal of Honor, are terminally ill, are former Prisoners of War, and those filing Fully Developed Claims.
Veterans falling into the category of Wounded Warriors – those who are separating from the military due to medical reasons – will still be handled with special priority with the Department of Defense. These veterans’ disability benefits claims are typically handled within 61 days of discharge.
It takes an average of 286 days to complete a veterans disability claim and many sit for several more months before they are processed and come to a decision. This leaves thousands of veterans awaiting decisions on their veterans disability benefits.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is ready to help through its team of dedicated veterans disability attorneys. To go over eligibility for disability benefits and for help filing a claim or appealing a claim decision, contact us at 1-888-234-5758.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects many disabled veterans who seek health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. But despite VA guidelines that advise against using benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium, some VA doctors continue to prescribe them to treat PTSD, according to Stars and Stripes.
According to Dr. Nancy Bernardy, one of the VA’s clinical psychologists at the National Center for PTSD, nearly one-third of disabled veterans being treated for PTSD are given these sedatives. Typically used to treat disabling conditions such as seizures, insomnia and anxiety, these drugs were considered a better alternative to previously prescribed barbiturates which had a higher risk of abuse and overdose.
But they may interfere with the preferred method of treatment, prolonged exposure therapy. Therefore, the VA’s guidelines caution against use in veterans with PTSD, especially because many of these patients may also have substance abuse problems.
Prescription records of 357,000 veterans documented with PTSD from 2009 show that 37 percent were taking benzodiazepines for their disabling condition, according to a study with which Bernardy was involved. Many of these disabled veterans were Vietnam-era veterans who had been prescribed the sedatives years before the current VA guidelines were created.
If you are a disabled veteran suffering from the symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, and other social disorders, you can seek evaluation by a mental health professional at a VA clinic or hospital. If you are diagnosed with PTSD, you may qualify for veterans disability benefits.
PTSD is one of several disabling conditions that may qualify for veterans disability benefits. If you have been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for disability benefits from the VA, contact the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. to learn about your options – 1-888-234-5758.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Over 600,000 nonenrolled beneficiaries of TRICARE (that is, beneficiaries who do not enroll in TRICARE Prime, a program using a civilian provider network) may have trouble finding medical professionals who will accept their health care benefits. TRICARE is a government provided health care program for Pentagon employees and their families, yet many civilian doctors are reluctant to accept this type of insurance coverage.
According to a study by the General Accountability Office (GAO), the number of civilian health service providers that accept TRICARE is on the decline. Most notably are mental health practitioners, of whom only about 39 percent accept TRICARE. Only 67 percent of primary care doctors and 77 percent of specialty physicians accepted the insurance plan according to the study.
TRICARE covers an estimated 9.7 million service members, including active-duty troops, National Guard members, and military retirees. Of this group, nearly 70 percent are veterans and their dependents. Veterans suffering from service-related disabilities, meanwhile, may seek veterans’ disability benefits.
Veterans’ Disability Benefits Can Help Disabled Vets
These benefits, obtained through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), can provide compensation to disabled veterans so they are able to afford the medical care they require.
Qualification for veterans’ disability benefits involves proof of military service, a disability rating, and a connection between a veteran’s military service and the disabling conditions they now experience. Medical care through the VA is also available for veterans, including those who often face disabilities unique to military service like Gulf War Syndrome or Agent Orange exposure.
If you have been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. have a team of disability attorneys ready to help. Contact us at 1-888-234-5758 for help with your disability claim.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
In late 2011 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began a 15-month trial of a pilot program designed to expedite fully developed veterans disability claims. The pilot program, known as the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) program, is the VA’s latest initiative to reduce the disability claim backlog.
The ACE program combines the resources of the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration to promote instant sharing of records. The two administrations work together to evaluate a claim for completeness in regards to medical records.
The ACE Process
During the ACE process, a Veterans Affairs medical provider uses the disabled veteran’s existing medical records to complete a disability questionnaire. If necessary, a telephone interview with the disabled veteran is conducted to fill in any missing medical information. If the medical provider can gather enough evidence through medical records and interviews, the disabled veteran may be eligible to forgo the in-person medical evaluation, saving time, travel, and stress.
Officials from the VA are confident that the ACE program will help, “expedite the determination of disability ratings in turn eliminating the wait time to schedule and conduct an exam from the claims process.” The pilot test at one regional VA office found that 38 percent of all incoming claims were eligible for evaluation through the ACE program.
Medical evidence and military records are the two most important parts of a veteran’s disability claim application. Errors or omissions in these forms of documentation can lead to delays or unfair denials of veterans’ disability benefit claims.
If a disabled veteran or family member of a wounded warrior needs assistance navigating the veterans’ disability claims process, the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help. Contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.
Monday, March 18th, 2013
Caregivers for disabled veterans are responsible for the support and care of our wounded troops across the U.S. These caregivers, many of whom are family members, are the unsung heroes of disabled veterans’ support resources and often face mental and physical health concerns themselves.
A new study recently released by RAND and commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation reviewed the conditions many caregivers for disabled veterans face. The study found that these military spouses, parents and siblings acting as caregivers face a greater risk of adverse health conditions such as:
- heart disease;
- lowered immune systems; and
- emotional difficulties.
Officials are worried that there is no standardized national strategy for supporting the caregivers of disabled veterans in a similar manner that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) supports the veterans themselves. The report estimates there are as many as 275,000 to one million caregivers for disabled veterans.
Some of the stress may be associated with frustration from dealing with the VA and other government benefits programs for veterans’ disability benefits. The paperwork, applications, approvals, appeals, and evaluations take a toll on both the disabled veteran and their caregivers who assist them with completing the veterans’ disability benefit process.
One of the best resources a caregiver can utilize is a dedicated veterans’ disability attorney. Veterans’ disability law firms help disabled veterans and their caregivers navigate the long process of qualifying and applying for veterans disability benefits when a service-connected injury or disabling condition impacts their quality of life.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is here to help disabled veterans and their families acquire the veterans’ disability benefits to which they may be entitled. To learn if you may be entitled to benefits contact our firm today – 1-888-234-5758.