Archive for the ‘Veterans' Disability’ Category
Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
Immediate relatives Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange during service may be eligible for compensation and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Children of Vietnam veterans who served in Vietnam or the Korean Demilitarized Zone during certain time periods may have been born with birth defects due to their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange. Biological children of Vietnam veterans who served during an applicable period and suffered birth defects associated with herbicide exposure may be entitled to disability benefits.
Children and spouses of disabled Vietnam veterans rated as permanently and totally disabled may also be entitled to several types of compensation and benefits such as:
- Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA);
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC);
- Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits;
- Survivor’s Pension;
- Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance; and
- VA Home Loan Guaranty.
The spouses and dependants of Vietnam veterans may be entitled to these benefits if the veteran is deceased, but the vet must have had a 100 percent VA disability rating prior to death. For some benefits, the vet must have held that status for a certain period.
For a complete review of the benefits for which spouses and children of Vietnam veterans are eligible, visit the VA’s website for Agent Orange compensation. If you or a loved one has filed a claim for benefits or compensation and received a denial, The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. can help file an appeal. Contact us today – 1-888-234-5758.
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
The toxic Agent Orange herbicide that became famous for its use in the Vietnam War has the potential to cause health conditions for more than just ground troops who served in the Vietnam War. As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) further investigates the long-term effects of exposure to Agent Orange, they are also learning that the chemical had the potential to harm more than just the servicemembers who were in areas where the defoliant was sprayed.
The VA’s public health website lists several instances where Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange without their knowledge. The following areas and service types are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange:
- Stationed in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975;
- Serving on a ship operating on the inland waterways of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; and
- Serving in the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971.
The following areas and service types are listed as possible situations where a servicemember may have been exposed to Agent Orange:
- “Blue Water Veterans” who served on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam and set foot on Vietnam land or operated on inland waterways between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975;
- Serving at Thailand military bases between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975;
- Serving at military bases outside of Vietnam that may have been used for herbicide tests and storage of Agent Orange; and
- Crew members of C-123 plants flown after the Vietnam War.
Vietnam veterans in the latter four categories will require more substantial documentation that they have reason to suspect they were exposed to Agent Orange during their service and that the exposure is now causing their health conditions. The VA maintains a listing of U.S. Coast Guard and Navy ships that are known to have transported Agent Orange, as well as a listing of health conditions connected to herbicide exposure.
Agent Orange exposure is a concern for many Vietnam veterans and their children. At the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. our veterans’ disability attorneys are here to help when the VA denies your claim for benefits. Contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Medical conditions such as depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more common among veterans and servicemembers compared to the general public. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Urology finds that risk of urinary incontinence (UI) may be elevated for men 55 and younger who served in the military compared to men who have not.
New findings indicate that men with military service, who are 55 years or younger, are three times more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence compared to the same age group with no history of service. There was no difference in odds of UI in military men 56 to 69 years old or 70 and over compared to men of the same age group who did not serve.
Researchers also found that military men were more likely to suffer moderate or severe urinary incontinence. Three percent of men who never served reported moderate to severe UI compared to nine percent of men with a military history who reported moderate to severe UI.
The researchers examined urge incontinence, “which is a frequent feeling of needing to urinate,” lead author Dr. Camille Vaughan from the Atlanta VA Medical Center told Reuters.
Dr. Christopher Amling of Oregon Health and Science University suggested to Reuters a couple of possibilities for the increased risk of urinary incontinence in military men. Psychological stress, believed to contribute to bladder irritation, was one of them. Another possibility is when the bladder is injured as a result of a blast during active duty.
Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among Men in the United States
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Urology examined data from participants in the 2001 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers found that prevalence in the surveys was 13.9 percent for men. While urinary incontinence may not necessarily result in disability, accompanying conditions could. For help understanding your right to VA benefits and establishing a service-related disability, contact the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A.
Monday, September 16th, 2013
This week, Veteran’s Administration (VA) launched a new retroactive benefit program passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last year. It will officially end in August 2015. Based upon eligibility, veterans can receive one year of backdated benefits.
It requires that veterans complete the Fully Developed Claim (FDC) form, which is supposed to take less time to process than the traditional form. But only vets who haven’t previously completed this form are allowed to participate in the program.
This special form can be filed electronically and is anticipated to take half the time to process as a traditional claim. It’s also expected to help reduce tens of thousands of disability claims that have been backlogged for months or even years.
The FDC form is comprehensive, requiring accuracy and completeness. Those who would like assistance filing the FDC form or any other disability paperwork may wish to consult with an attorney primarily focused in this area of the law. It could prevent an unnecessary delay and ensure the claimant receives all benefits for which he or she is eligible.
This is important to keep in mind since unlike the traditional form where the VA assists with gathering all supporting documents, veterans are on their own when completing the FDC form. Everything must be collected and sent at one time. Missing or incomplete documentation could create the very thing a veteran is attempting to avoid, a delay in reaching a decision.
Some of the documentation the claim requires includes medical records (relevant to the injury or illness connected to one’s time in the service), certificate of military service and more. By seeking legal counsel, claimants also better understand their rights to disability benefits. To learn more about how an attorney can help, contact the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A.
Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently announced several new grant programs and a memorial benefit initiative which will impact the lives of thousands of veterans.
On July 10 it was announced that transportation initiatives would be improved in several rural areas thanks to a new grant program to support state Veterans Service Agencies and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). Eligible groups may apply for grants up to $50,000 to be used to improve transportation resources for veterans living in highly rural areas.
Shortly after this announcement, the VA released details of a new housing grant program that would allocate $300 million in grants to private, non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income veteran families facing homelessness. The grants were awarded to 319 community agencies across the nation and are expected to assist approximately 120,000 veterans.
An additional initiative has come to fruition for veterans living in Puerto Rico. The VA recently acquired 247.4 acres of land in Morovis, PR to establish a new cemetery for burial of servicemembers and their spouses and eligible dependent children. The existing Puerto Rico National Cemetery will cease new casketed interments in 2022 and could not be expanded due to surrounding residential and commercial development.
All military personnel who are harmed or killed in active duty, as well as all veterans with an honorable discharge, are typically eligible for all general military benefits. It is important to follow up with the VA to determine all of the benefits you are entitled to such as health care, housing assistance, and burial rights.
Servicemembers who are injured in combat, or veterans who develop health conditions connected to their time in service, are often eligible to collect veterans disability benefits. If you are a disabled veteran seeking benefits from the VA, the veterans disability attorneys at The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. are here to help; contact us today – 1-888-234-5758.
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects many veterans returning from recent and previous wars. This condition can completely disrupt one’s life, affecting relationships and even the ability to perform daily tasks.
Symptoms vary and may fluctuate over time. But some common symptoms include flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of similar situations, emotional arousal, detachment, impulsivity, personality/behavioral changes and nightmares.
But a new study finds that the occurrence of nightmares could be reduced in vets who undergo continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. This is a machine where a tube connected to a motor blows air into a mask, which fits over the person’s mouth and nose. It works by keeping the airway from getting blocked or collapsing.
CPAP is already used to treat those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that causes a disruption in breathing. Both of these conditions can affect vets, disrupting a good night’s rest. After conducting this sleep study on vets with both conditions, the number of nightmares dropped with CPAP treatment.
Although nightmares are a common symptom of PTSD, it is believed that OSA can actually trigger them. The VA has said that about one out of every five vets has OSA, possibly a result of exposure to dust, sand and smoke.
PTSD can be debilitating, affecting one’s quality of life. Coupling that with OSA can increase the chance of disabling physical and emotional health problems. For help filing an initial claim or appealing one that has been denied, don’t hesitate to seek legal help from an attorney at the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A.
Friday, July 12th, 2013
An innovative data visualization tool offers a new perspective on the situation of backlogged veterans’ disability claims. Created by the Knight Foundation and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, this is just one way to demonstrate what vets are going through.
This interactive storytelling platform called “The Wait We Carry,” allows users to input how much time they believe vets should have to wait to get a decision on a disability claim. From there it provides a clear picture of their reality based on the stories of more than 1,800 veterans as of June 12, 2013.
Veteran’s Administration’s (VA) goal has always been to process claims within 125 days. Yet the reality is that on average, the vets included in the data on the site wait 567 days.
It also provides a breakdown of operation deployments – Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-13), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-10), and Operation New Dawn (2010-11).
When comparing the types of injuries among those surveyed for this tool, 66 percent were experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. The second highest injury was a bad back (56 percent), followed by mental health (53 percent) and hearing loss (48 percent).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a spotlighted issue for returning vets. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, as of December 7, 2012, there have been 103,792 deployed military members diagnosed with PTSD. An additional 27,549 who were not deployed have also been diagnosed.
Although not mentioned in the aforementioned tool, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is another common one. As of August 20, 2012, the majority of those who sustained a TBI since 2000 suffered a mild case (77 percent). But another 17 percent were moderate and two percent severe or penetrating.
When injuries such as these lead to disability, benefits may be available. For help filing a claim, contact an attorney at the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A.
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Despite the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allowing disability benefits to vets with Agent Orange diseases, recovering those benefits continues to be a source of frustration for many, according to several media reports. The agency acknowledges a host of health problems linked to the exposure, yet some vets are experiencing difficulty getting compensation.
One of the issues pertains to vets who never actually made landfall. Although a critical part of the Vietnam War, those on aircrafts and ships are finding it a challenge to prove they were exposed to Agent Orange. The same is true to those who served in another war that is also recognized by the VA as being a source of exposure, the Korean War.
The VA keeps a list of specific ships associated with military service during the Vietnam War on the inland waterways. This can help those seeking disability benefits determine if they may qualify, though ‘blue water sailors’ who served on open oceans continue to have trouble recovering disability benefits.
The following are some of the diseases and health problems that have been connected to Agent Orange exposure:
- birth defects;
- chronic B-cell leukemia;
- type 2 diabetes;
- ischemic heart disease;
- Parkinson’s disease; and
- cancer (respiratory, prostate).
Evidence has been mounting to show that military members who never set foot in Vietnam were also contaminated. But it continues to be an issue that prevents many veterans from receiving benefits.
Because of these and other issues, there can be a lot of confusion about one’s rights to veteran’s disability benefits. If you need help determining whether a particular ship falls under the qualifications, an attorney can help. Or if there are other uncertainties about exposure and the right to benefits, contact the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A.
Monday, July 8th, 2013
Veteran’s Administration (VA) reported on June 24 the number of pending disability claims awaiting rating was 801,931. Of those, 524,711 were backlogged for longer than 125 days. Already the numbers have dropped from the previous week when the total number of backlogged claims awaiting rating was at 808,074.
Progress has also been made with disability claims that have been pending for more than two years. About 97 percent of those claims have been processed, according to VA. This includes 2,100 vets in Florida who have been waiting for that long. All of this stems from an initiative that began in April, where focus was put on those claims that had been backlogged the longest.
At the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office, efforts will now be focused on claims that have been pending for more than a year, along with finishing up the remaining oldest claims. This office has been criticized by some applicants who have been waiting more than 560 days to receive a decision. In fact, one vet waited more than 1,000 days until a call from the Tampa Tribune newspaper finally led to an approval.
Just before the initiative in April was underway, there were nearly 70 percent of claims backlogged for 125 days or longer. But the St. Petersburg office, along other VA offices across the United States, are still working toward the goal of eliminating all backlogged claims by 2015.
It can be very frustrating to wait a long time to receive an answer on a disability claim. At the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. we understand this and will do what we can to ensure that the process isn’t delayed any longer than it should be, such as by making sure all paperwork is in order when filing a claim or appealing a decision.
Friday, July 5th, 2013
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—which has been a major problem amongst many military men and women returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—is now being linked to an increased risk of heart disease in Vietnam vets. The study out of Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta and supported by the National Institutes of Health suggests that physical health can be impacted by PTSD.
These findings will likely lead to additional studies on not only veterans of Vietnam but other groups of vets, who are diagnosed with PTSD in order to learn more about the association. The hope is that it would lead to techniques that could aid in preventing and effectively treating heart disease.
The study involved 562 middle-aged twins (majority were identical, the rest were fraternal) from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. The reason for utilizing twins in the study was to control environmental and genetic factors in the development of PTSD and heart disease.
Of the twins diagnosed with PTSD, 22.6 percent had heart disease. This was much higher than the 8.9 percent diagnosed with heart disease who did not have PTSD. It was also found that there were more areas in which blood flood to the heart was reduced in those with PTSD.
It’s suggested that the symptoms of PTSD could trigger abnormalities in heartbeat rhythm, along with increased heart rate and blood pressure. These problems could increase risk of a heart attack.
PTSD affects approximately 7.7 million adults in the United States, according to the news release from NIH. It’s been found that anywhere between 15 and 19 percent of vets developed this condition at some point after the Vietnam War. But it’s also affected vets from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Desert Storm.
Whether it’s PTSD, heart disease or both, monthly benefits could be available through veterans’ disability. Contact the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. to learn more about your rights to these benefits.