Posts Tagged ‘Blind veterans’

Rehabilitation Center for Blind Veterans Being Renovated

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

The Waco, Texas Veterans Affairs Medical Center is about to begin renovations to their Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC). Once construction is complete, the Blind Rehabilitation Center will house 20 beds for blind veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allocated $49 million to the Waco VA campus and this $9.8 million renovation of the BRC is only one improvement planned for the Waco campus.

The BRC program is designed to aid blind veterans in helping themselves so they develop their own independence; it is 1 out of only 10 facilities in the entire United States. The BRC program caters to both blind and visually-impaired veterans. Additionally, the program serves active duty personnel stationed all over the South-Central U.S.

The veterans participating in the BRC program are trained in how to use specific equipment so as to thrive in day-to-day activities. The training can run the gamut from being trained in how to use a long cane to common activities like making their beds.

The renovations to the center are preemptive. Given the amount of injured veterans returning form the two current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans requiring the services of the BRC is going to climb dramatically. The thought process, then, is to be ready for the surge as opposed to having to handle the surge at the same time as attempting to perform renovations.

The completion date for all the renovations has not been set; it is expected to be concluded by 2012. VA clinics that focus on one specific type of injury are able to give much more personalized instruction. For those veterans blinded in defense of our country, the more money given to these centers the better.

New Veteran’s Pension Protection Act Aims to Protect Blind Vets

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

New legislation was recently introduced in hopes of benefiting veterans. Not just veterans but permanently disabled blind veterans. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) initiated a new bill aimed at forcing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow blinded Massachusetts veterans to keep their full pension intact. A veteran’s pension is aid given to veterans:

  • With reduced or no income;
  • Are 65 or over; and
  • Are either temporarily or permanently disabled.

The Veteran’s Pensions Protection Act, as drafted by Senator Kerry and if successfully passed, will put a stop to the VA deducting payments veterans rightfully earned from the State of Massachusetts. Currently, all permanently blind Massachusetts veterans receive $2,000 a year. The VA then subtracts this payment from the veterans’ federal pension checks as income. Senator Kerry’s bill is designed to stop this appalling practice and therefore ensure permanently disabled, blind veterans receive everything to which they are entitled.

Senator Kerry is a long time supporter of veteran’s rights and is disgusted at the idea of veterans being denied their owed benefits essentially because of what amounts to red tape. Essentially the VA is reducing the blinded veteran’s pension because they see the $2,000 annuity as income, something veterans are not able to have while accepting a pension.

There are currently 4 other states providing blinded, disabled veterans annuities which are calculated as income. These payments are incomes as opposed to having the annuities being given as gifts and subsequently deducted from the veteran’s pension. A pension is designed to supplement income or completely replace a veteran’s income.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.