Archive for January, 2012

Veterans Communication with VA Improved with Facebook Initiative

Monday, January 9th, 2012

In their continuing efforts to increase communication with U.S. veterans and their families, The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched 152 new Facebook pages.

In December of 2011, a new Facebook page was established for every VA medical center. This initiative is designed to help give veterans a better way to communicate concerns and obtain information about the programs, services, and benefits available to them through the VA systems.

While individual medical questions are not allowed to be discussed via social media, the medical centers can monitor feedback from the Facebook pages and connect interested veterans to their center’s services and medical care. The VA also plans on expanding these offerings to Twitter for all centers.

The move to social media began in 2008 with the first Facebook page for the Veterans Health Administration. Their social media campaign has expanded to Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and the Vantage Point blog. The VA hopes to follow in the same path for each VA medical center.

Currently, the VA’s combined Facebook pages have a total of over 345,000 subscribers and the medical centers are already making up nearly 20% of that total.

These new pages may be sources of great information to disabled veterans looking for treatment or help with obtaining a disability rating for benefits.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

U.S.-Korean Investigation Team Find No Trace of Agent Orange in Camp Carroll

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Several U.S. veterans are claiming they were forced to dump hundreds of gallons of Agent Orange into a trench in Camp Carroll, South Korea, in 1978; however, according to a joint U.S.-South Korean team of investigators, there is no Agent Orange in Camp Carroll, as was recently reported in an article on Defense.gov.

The investigation into the veterans’ claims of dumping Agent Orange into the trench lasted 8 months. Not only was no Agent Orange discovered during the extensive investigation, researchers also found there was no existing health risk to the public on the U.S. Army post. Overall, the investigators interviewed more than 170 former civilian employees from Korea and U.S soldiers. The task required the involvement of more than 30 distinct government agencies.

Based on a document assessment, 380 barrels of Agent Orange were imported to South Korea in 1968, which were also deployed by the Republic of Korea Amy that same year.

Additionally, the investigative team performed a survey of the geological landscape. Utilizing “ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and magnetometers,” the researchers were able to get a fairly in-depth reading of the water and soil surrounding the region where the Agent Orange was supposedly buried and found no trace of the toxin to pose any hazardous health concern.

 

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

U.S. Veterans More Likely to Become Entreprenuers

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

According to an article on CNBC, many U.S. veterans are using their military training to get them back into the workforce and avoid being a statistic of unemployed veterans, which was marked at 11.1% in November 2011.

Lawmakers have spent the last couple of years combating the rising level of unemployed veterans by passing a multitude of laws. Those laws have resulted in many new programs and helpful aide to veterans, which include the following:

  • employment training tools;
  • job boards; and
  • employer tax-credits for hiring U.S. veterans.

Veterans, however, have been trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome. When faced with such a terrible economy, many are implementing that training and simply opening their own businesses.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently conducted a survey, which found that veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than those who have not served actively in the military. Of all the veterans interviewed, about 25% were interested in working for themselves.

Although many skills learned and utilized in the military are not marketable to the civilian world, some are, such as leadership, which is a vital skill for entrepreneurs.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

New Law Requires Mental and Emotional Health Screening for Veterans

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

According to an article on Truthout, the Department of Defense (DoD) is readying itself in preparation to implement a “new safeguard” for U.S. veterans with mental and emotional health issues.

U.S. Veterans returning from combat will undergo “intensive screenings” designed to detect “mental and emotional” problems brought on by their deployments. According to recent studies, a soldier takes his or her own life every 36 hours.

A couple years ago Congress passed a law mandating every soldier undergo 3 different mental-health screenings within 2 years of returning from combat. This program was first implemented by the Montana National Guard, and proved very successful as a pilot program.

For the most part, the main concern is being able to detect post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Army has examined 400,000 troops without releasing any information as to the results yet. The DoD has added 3500 new health-care providers to its ranks to help examine combat veterans for “elevated stress levels.”

The new law required screenings be done individually every 6-months, which is how they were done in the Montana model, and not via paper questionnaire, which is how it had been done previously. Soldiers and veterans are given “personal, and private, one-on-one attention from a trained health-care provider” under the law, which includes 2-years of follow up assessments.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Government Pays $275,000 to Veteran Following VA Medical Malpractice

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

An article in Reuters detailed how a veteran who underwent surgery discovered that his surgeons left 2 towels inside of him, causing several more surgeries.

The veteran was 47-years-old and originally went into his local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital for cancer-related kidney surgery in May of 2008.  He complained of pain in his abdomen following the surgery and eventually had to return to the VA hospital.

When he returned doctors performed a scan on his abdomen and found 2 11×14 surgical towels had been left inside of him when he was sewn up following his original surgery. He was forced to undergo a second surgery to have the towels removed.

That second surgery, however, did not happen until August of that same year, which was more than 3 months after the initial surgery. Possibly related to the towels being left behind, a third surgery was necessary to repair a hernia, which is also common for many people after undergoing abdominal surgery.

The entire ordeal caused the veteran to lose almost a year’s worth of work due to health issues. He was awarded 275,000 by a federal court for his troubles, and the VA did admit their surgeons breached their surgical standard of care through their actions.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

VA’s Financial Guardian Program Shows Delays

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

According to an article in The Tampa Bay Times, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  financial guardian program, specifically designed to help aging veterans, veterans with disabilities, and surviving spouses,  needs improvement.

The program appoints guardians to veterans in need to manage their finances. The scope of the position can be very limited, or can involve overseeing a great range of topics, depending on the situation. The appointed guardian is often a family member, but certain situations dictate the person be “a professional, such as an accountant or attorney.”

The VA’s regional benefits office for Florida has a current backlog of about 800 veterans and surviving spouses awaiting interviews. This is where the VA is lacking, according to the article: appointing financial guardians for “qualified military families.”

The office only employs 18 field examiners, who are responsible for conducting all the interviews with “wards and potential guardians;” they’re simply understaffed. It’s conceivable older veterans and surviving spouses could pass away waiting to have a guardian appointed, which could threaten their estate.

The VA has stated that they’re “reviewing staffing levels” and comparing them to local case loads. They’re also looking into changing the procedure they currently use in favor of a faster process.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Fort Myers Non-Profit Organization Training Disabled Veterans for Insurance Careers

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

According to an article in Naples News, Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers (DVIC), a non-profit organization, is focused on finding careers for disabled veterans within the insurance world by utilizing modern technology.

The fact is that many veterans will make highly valuable employees. Many of the traits and skills employers look for can be found in today’s young and modern veterans, such as:

  • being mission driven;
  • being tech-savvy; and
  • more mature than their peers.

The DVIC is looking to place capable disabled veterans with “independent insurance agencies and insurance companies” by training them on sales and customer service.

Training will be offered free of charge, a stipend will be offered to veterans while they attend training, and if everything goes as planned, the first class is scheduled to be held in the spring of 2012. At the end of the classes, veterans will be “trained as account service managers.”

The DVIC itself will “act as an employment agency” and will help place veterans into positions once they successfully complete the training class. This program will provide disabled veterans opportunities they would not have otherwise been given as many of the nation’s largest insurance companies have responded favorably to the proposal.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.