Archive for the ‘Veterans' Resources’ Category
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) are the latest asset to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as it continues to focus on elimination of the veterans’ disability claim backlog. The VA recently announced that it has developed a partnership with the Disabled American Veterans and The American Legion – two prominent national VSOs that have been providing services to disabled veterans for many years.
The main focus of this partnership is to promote the submission of Fully Developed Claims (FDCs) when disabled veterans apply for veterans disability benefits. A FDC is a claim that:
- is submitted with all available supporting evidence;
- includes any private medical records;
- has notice of federal treatment records; and
- is certified that there is no further evidence to submit.
Claims identified as “fully developed” are not added to the regular queue for processing; they are expedited for a quicker decision. The more FDCs that are submitted, the fewer veterans’ disability claims there will be added to the already backlogged queue of cases awaiting decisions.
Veterans Service Organizations often have local representatives helping veterans in the community determine if they are eligible to file a claim for disability benefits. By working closely with these organizations and improving the pre-development of new disability claims, the VA hopes that more fully developed claims will be submitted and it will be able to further decrease the backlog.
VSOs may provide assistance to veterans filing first-time claims for disability benefits, but their claims representatives often do not have the resources necessary to appeal a denied claim or unfavorable disability rating. A veterans disability attorney is the legal advocate for disabled veterans facing these situations.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. has a dedicated team of veterans’ disability attorneys to help develop and support your claim through the initial application all the way to appeals. 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.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
The success of many veterans jobs initiatives have led to the recent announcement from first lady Michelle Obama that goals for veteran employment have been met threefold.
Since several veterans benefits programs related to veteran employment and training had been launched in August 2011, Mrs. Obama reported that there had been more than 290,000 veterans and military spouses who have been hired or trained thanks to these programs – three times more than originally projected.
Veterans jobs initiatives have focused on encouraging businesses to emphasize the hiring of veterans and offered incentives to do so in both local and national capacities. Other veterans benefits programs exist to help provide new training for veterans to put their military skills to use in the civilian job market.
The Joining Forces initiative is one of the main veterans benefits programs that helps encourage the creation of more veterans jobs and helps military family members find educational and employment opportunities. The program has pledges from many businesses claiming they will contribute to the hiring or training of an additional 435,000 veterans and military spouses within the next five years.
There are Resources Available for Disabled Veterans
A unique part of some veterans employment programs is the focus on disabled veterans. In many cases, a veteran who suffered injury in combat or developed a disability due to military service is no longer able to work in previous lines of employment. Through veterans benefits programs such as the GI Bill, these disabled veterans are often able to learn new skills or re-train to work with the limitations of their disabling condition.
While many disabled veterans are still able to work despite their conditions, there are thousands more whose injuries or illnesses render them unable to perform the work they previously did before or during military service. The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is a disability law firm in South Florida dedicated to helping servicemembers obtain the veterans benefits they deserve. Contact us today to speak with a disability claims representative – 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.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
New policies for disabled veterans under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Wounded Warriors Screening program further accommodate veterans and helps expedite security screenings at U.S. airports.
The Wounded Warrior Accommodations program is one of the services for veterans traveling by air who suffer from a disabling condition. According to the TSA, approximately 5,914 disabled veterans utilized the expedited screening program in 2012 and already reported 3,315 servicemembers used these services for veterans in 2013.
The special accommodations for disabled veterans allow wounded warriors and veterans to inform the TSA of travel itinerary after making arrangements with the airline. Once at the TSA checkpoint, they can be escorted through the security check. Under the new policy, they will be allowed to leave their shoes, light jackets, and hats on their person, allowing for a faster, less-effort pass through the scanners.
To apply for these additional services, disabled veterans or their traveling companion must contact the Wounded Warrior/Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center via e-mail at MSIJSOC@dhs.gov or phone at 888-262-2396 with the full itinerary details.
After confirmation via e-mail or phone, the Operations Center notifies the Federal Security Directors at the airports. Upon arrival at the TSA checkpoint, the disabled veteran’s name is flagged to ensure the utmost care and respect is given during security screening to make the overall experience for the wounded servicemembers as trouble-free as possible.
There are many services for veterans and benefits that are available to disabled veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for monetary veterans’ disability benefits. If you have been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for disability benefits from the VA, the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is here to help. Contact us to learn more – 1-888-234-5758.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently launched a new phase of its VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2). The new program, the VA Center for Innovation (VACI), will continue to build upon the success of VAi2 by reaffirming the VA’s commitment to innovators in the veterans’ services field.
The program integrates companies and organizations from government and private sectors to develop new technologies, procedures, and solutions focused on improving benefits to veterans.
VAi2, which has been in operation since 2010, built a 120-project portfolio containing initiatives for improving the accessibility and quality of services and care available to veterans. The VA Center for Innovation seeks to continue building this portfolio, starting with 13 new awards to partners across the U.S.
The VACI’s recent awards focus on the Blue Button medical record program, teleaudiology, prosthetic socket redesign for amputees, and automation of the sterilization process for reusable medical instruments. Research in these areas is of specific interest to disabled veterans who may suffer from hearing disabilities or lost limbs.
As more innovations in medical care and electronic record keeping are made, disabled veterans are entitled to benefit from these improvements. By applying for veterans’ disability benefits, a claimant may secure monetary benefits for disabling conditions, and veterans may benefit from enhanced care and opportunities to participate in medical trials through VA hospitals and clinics.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help you develop a claim for veterans’ disability benefits. If you have questions about veterans’ disability benefits, request a FREE copy of our eBook, Don’t Panic: Win Your VA Disability Claim. When you’re ready, contact us today at 888-234-5758 to discuss your case with one of our claims representatives.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
A February 11 announcement from the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that the agency is closing in on its goal of hiring 1,600 new mental clinicians and 300 mental health support staff. Since President Obama’s executive order in August 2012, the VA has hired 1,058 mental health clinical providers and 223 administrative support staff members.
These additional positions are helping improve the mental health care available to veterans across the U.S. The Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) is also being expanded under the executive order, with more staff being hired and trained to respond to veterans’ calls. At the end of 2012, the VCL reported that it had handled over 747,000 calls, 83,000 online chats, and 5,000 texts to help save more than 26,000 veterans in imminent danger.
Mental Health Care is Available to All Veterans
The VA health care system provides free mental health care to any veteran in need of assistance. The VA mental health care system is one of the largest workforces in the nation. Veterans are able to obtain care from mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and addictions therapists.
Some veterans may suffer from mental health disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and some may develop addictions to alcohol, drugs or prescription medications after the traumas of war. The VA can offer counseling, support and treatment for these and other mental health disorders.
If you are suffering from mental health disorders that cause disability in your daily life, you may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. The veterans disability attorneys at the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help you apply for veterans’ disability benefits. Contact us at 1-888-234-5758.
Friday, February 8th, 2013
Veterans suicides have become one of the main concerns for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent years as the veteran population continues to grow. A comprehensive report on the state of suicide rates for veterans was recently released and included new data from state departments, filling a gap in information.
Previous reports from the VA only included suicides reported from veterans who had sought health care through the VA. The latest report includes data from states on suicides by veterans who did not seek treatment in the VA health care system.
Veteran Suicides are Still a Major Concern Despite Lower Percentage
The VA report shows that the percentage of veterans who die by suicide has decreased slightly since 1999, but the total estimated number of suicides has increased among veterans.
Following the August 31, 2012 executive order from President Barak Obama, the VA has expanded the staff of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50 percent, allowing the organization to expand its effort to provide support for veterans in crisis. To date, the system has helped 26,000 veterans who were actively suicidal.
Other initiatives include the hiring of more mental health staff at VA hospitals and clinics across the U.S. and a request for suicide data for veterans to be collected and reviewed by individual states.
Support for Veterans Mental Health is Available
Mental health disabilities such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are common in veterans and are one possible factor that may lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Physical injuries may also lead to an increased risk of suicide, especially when a combat-related injury results in permanent disability.
Veterans who suffer from mental or physical disabilities related to their military service have the right to seek veterans’ disability benefits through the VA by filling out the application and providing evidence to support their claim.
The South Florida veterans’ disability attorneys at the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help with your veterans’ disability application. Contact us to get started – 1-888-234-5758.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
A proposal for offering mental health counseling to active duty military and their families is sparking debate. Currently, counseling at vet centers run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is offered to veterans.
The Senate-approved proposal opens the mental health counseling services to active servicemembers and their immediate family. This would include parents, siblings, spouses, children and step-children of active duty military members. There are over 350 Vet Centers across the U.S. that provide health benefits to veterans.
The Mental Health Counseling Shortages
The department already struggles to meet the demand for mental health evaluations and appointments. A recent initiative is working on increasing the mental health staff at many facilities by hiring 1,600 more mental health professionals nationwide.
Even with the new hires, mental health counseling is often in high demand and getting an appointment can take weeks, if not months. Some veterans’ disability advocates are worried that by expanding the mental health counseling services to provide health benefits to active duty members and their families, the resources could be stretched even thinner.
The Importance of Mental Health Counseling for Veterans
Mental health disabilities are a concern for many veterans. The prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and veteran suicide cases has led to a greater need for mental health screening, preventative measures, and follow-up appointments and treatment for mental health disorders.
Many mental health disorders can become disabling conditions if not properly diagnosed and treated. PTSD is one of the most common mental health disorders that may require counseling and treatment. According to the VA, an estimated 11-20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are affected by PTSD. The rates are higher for Vietnam veterans, with an estimate of 30 percent of veterans experiencing PTSD.
Veterans Disability Benefits for Mental Health Disorders
When a veteran is diagnosed with a mental health disorder that developed due to military service, he or she may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. To qualify, veterans must prove:
- the dates and locations they served in the military;
- evidence of any service-related injuries or exposures;
- a diagnosis of a disabling condition; and
- a disability rating.
The documentation necessary to file a claim for veterans’ disability benefits can be extensive. A veterans’ disability attorney in South Florida can help you gather this information and process a claim, helping you avoid unnecessary delays in benefit approval due to an incomplete application.
If you are disabled as a result of military service and are applying for benefits – or appealing a decision – a veterans’ disability attorney at the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is ready to help. Call 1-888-234-5758.
Monday, November 19th, 2012
More veterans benefits may be available through recently announced grant programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program is taking applications from organizations for the 2013 fiscal year grants. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2013.
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program
The SSVF program is part of the VA’s initiative to support nonprofit organizations and cooperatives that can help provide support to low-income veteran families. In some cases, these families may have disabled veterans who are unable to work. When more veterans benefits are not available through the VA, these programs may help provide additional support.
Yearly grants are made available to organizations that serve veterans and their families who are in need of assistance in housing or other needs. Funding is granted first to existing organizations who received Supportive Services for Veteran Families grants in the past and wish to renew funding.
Approximately $140 million is allocated to awarding these grants depending on priority funding availability. The next priority will be entities who apply for new grants.
How Supportive Services for Veteran Families Grants May Benefit You
In 2012, the SSFV helped provide more benefits to veterans by funding 68 new organizations and providing renewal grants to 85 organizations. Five of the new organizations that received funding were Florida-based, as were six of the renewals.
Organizations that receive the grant money provide services and benefits such as:
- legal services;
- child care services;
- disability benefit application assistance;
- daily living services;
- transportation assistance;
- housing support;
- fiduciary and payee services; and
- health care.
Many organizations under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families can help provide information on veterans disability benefits, but may not be able to fully assist in pursuing a claim.
Where to Find Help for More Veterans Benefits
Disabled veterans struggling to obtain disability compensation or who are yet to apply for VA disability benefits may find assistance through a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg. For help with your case or to learn if you may be entitled to disability benefits, contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.