Posts Tagged ‘Disabled Veterans’
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
With an aging population of disabled veterans and many younger veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service-connected ailments, the number of disability claims continues to grow almost as fast as they can be processed. Currently, the veterans’ claim backlog is approximately 850,000.
A new issue has been arising in the fight against the increasing disability claim backlog – some disabled veterans pass away before their disability benefits claims are resolved. Some veterans wait years for a decision on their claim, and sometimes they succumb to their disabling conditions or age before they are able to see a single cent of their benefits.
Vietnam veterans are currently the largest demographic of disabled veterans awaiting decisions on their benefit applications. About 38 percent of those stuck in the queue served in Vietnam, while the next largest group which makes up about 22 percent is of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans.
As new filings for disability benefits continue to pile up, there are thousands of veterans awaiting decisions on appeals. Veterans who file an appeal must do so at the first level of arbitration with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Waiting times at this level average 1,040 days – just under 3 years – before a decision on the appeal is rendered.
Many veterans who must undergo the appeals process for their veterans’ disability benefits had already waited through the initial review process, and are now faced with several more months of waiting for a decision on their appeal. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigated 160,000 appeals from 2009 to early 2013, finding that during that time nearly 3,000 veterans died before a decision was rendered on their appeal case.
The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help disabled veterans with first-time filings for disability benefits, as well as veterans appealing a disability rating or benefit decision. Handling the appeals process is not something disabled veterans or their families have to go through alone: contact us today – 1-888-234-5758.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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, April 3rd, 2013
One of the major issues for disabled veterans is brain injury, which accounts for an average of 22 percent of all combat injuries according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Brain injury, commonly referred to as traumatic brain injury or TBI, can also cause an increased risk for development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
These two common types of disabling conditions cause many of our servicemembers to be classified as disabled veterans each year, and there may be no clear method of treatment for either condition. Part of the difficulty of treating PTSD and TBI is that it involves the brain, the most complex organ of the body. However, a new research initiative is looking to give doctors a better understanding of how the brain functions.
On April 2, President Obama revealed a $100 million national research initiative focused on better understanding the workings of the human brain. Researchers from medical schools, private firms, and government institutes will be developing a map of the chemical structures and neural pathways that make up the functionality of the brain.
These findings are expected to open new methods of research and development of treatments for ailments such as PTSD and TBI. Nearly half of the research funds will go to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which will work to demonstrate breakthrough applications that are based on the research.
Serious cases of TBI or PTSD, meanwhile, may qualify a veteran for veterans disability benefits through the VA.
Help for Disabled Veterans Seeking to File a Veterans Disability Claim
If you suffer from PTSD or TBI and have medical documentation of your disabling condition you may be qualified to recover disabled veterans compensation. The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. is here to help disabled veterans file their veterans’ disability claim or appeal a denied claim decision. Contact us at 1-888-234-5758 to discuss eligibility for veterans’ disability benefits.
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.