News

President Signs PACT Act into Law

August 11, 2022

This week President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law – a bill that expands health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The bill seeks to provide an easier path to health care and benefits for veterans who served near open-air burn pits, which were used throughout the 1990s and the post-9/11 wars to burn garbage, jet fuel and other materials. Veterans diagnosed with cancer, respiratory issues and lung disease at young ages have blamed exposure to the toxic fumes from these pits, but the Department of Veterans Affairs contended for years that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support their claims.”

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Matthew Brown





Continued Delays Expected for Burn Pits Benefits Bill

August 1, 2022

The approval of a nearly $300-billion measure toxic exposure bill for veterans is now hinged on a governmental accounting dispute.

According to an article published by MilitaryTimes.com, “The bill advanced on a 342–88 vote in the House two weeks ago with significant Republican support and was supported by 34 Republicans in the Senate during an 84–14 vote in June. But last week…25 Republicans flipped their vote to block the measure, saying they have newfound concerns with accounting issues that Democrats inserted into the measure.”

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





Laying A Solid Foundation For Your Disability Claim – Advice from VA Attorney Matthew J. Brown Esq.

July 7, 2022

Successfully filing with the VA requires great attention to detail and the right representation. NJ Vet-Wire is a publication created by Wolf & Brown to help educate our veterans on how to best navigate the complicated process of obtaining disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The disability claims process is confusing, but we can help you successfully apply for disability benefits, survivor benefits, and more.

 

By Matthew J. Brown, Esq.
VA-accredited attorney and partner at Wolf & Brown Law Offices

Veterans endure more challenging obstacles than most of us will face in our lifetimes. Yet, when their service is completed and they seek help for their service-connected injuries and illnesses, they face a system that is confusing and difficult to navigate successfully.

As experienced Veterans Disability attorneys, we have seen countless examples of missteps that prevent a veteran from receiving the critical benefits they have earned and deserved. For example, veterans prosecuting their own claims, service officers providing bad advice, or the VA providing inadequate due process to veterans. These situations apply to veterans from the Vietnam-era to OEF/OIF and the many conflicts in between.

Adding to these unfortunate missteps, there is also misinformation published online that offers pie in the sky and often inaccurate advice.

The VA disability compensation system is advertised as a non-adversarial process. In reality, it requires one to fight for their benefits. To build a compelling claim, veterans should seek credible and experienced representation instead of turning to YouTube.

How you construct your claim will dictate how your claims are adjudicated by the VA and will affect the decision-making process.

This includes routine, often overlooked items such as:

  1. Is your application being completed correctly?
  2. Have you and your advocate created a strategy?
  3. Have you provided the necessary evidence to substantially complete your claim?
  4. Is your advocate explaining the disability process to you correctly?

Beyond these concerns, veterans need to consider
all of the next and many steps in the process, such
as navigating C&P examinations, choosing the correct appeal route if your claim or appeal is denied, development of medical evidence, or appearing before a Veterans Law Judge.

As my father – Michael Brown, our founding partner and attorney – likes to say, “This is not your father’s VA program.” This is a sound perspective when it relates to laying a solid foundation for your VA claim and/or appeal.

At Wolf & Brown, we consider it a great privilege
to support our servicemen and women. Being VA accredited attorneys gives us the tools to help our veteran clients effectively navigate the claims process. That is why we always encourage disabled veterans to hire a VA accredited attorney to have the best chance of getting their disability claim approved.

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Matthew Brown





VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act Passed

June 29, 2022

Last week President Joe Biden signed into law a bill aimed at increasing transparency into the process that the VA takes when handling veterans’ electronic medical records.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, the bill was first introduced in December 2021 “…following a series of reports from the VA’s inspector general which raised concerns regarding the rollout of the EHM program. Concerns included issues involving the program’s cost and VA’s failure to collect data to provide an accurate picture of how the program’s implementation is progressing at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

 

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





Senators and Veteran Advocates Push Lawmakers to Pass Burn Pits Bill

June 9, 2022

This past Tuesday, senators and veteran advocates called on lawmakers to pass the PACT Act burn pits bill at a news conference – the legislation would expand health care and benefits to every veteran exposed to burn pits and other toxins.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The bill also would improve the VA’s workforce and claims processing to speed up efforts to meet the needs of veterans and establish 31 new VA health care facilities in 19 states. Additionally, the bill would expand health care eligibility to post-9/11 combat veterans and add 23 conditions related to burn pits and other toxic exposures to the VA’s list of service presumptions. It will also expand the list of presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure to include Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll, strengthen federal research on toxic exposure, and improve the VA’s resources and training.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Matthew Brown





VA Expands List of Illnesses caused by Toxic Exposure to Burn Pits

April 27, 2022

This week The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that they will be expediting disability benefits for veterans who developed one of nine respiratory cancers as a direct result of their burn pit toxic exposure.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The cancers were added to the department’s presumptive list, which lowers the amount of evidence that veterans must provide to receive VA benefits. The cancers to be added to the list are squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx, squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea, adenocarcinoma of the trachea, adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung, large cell carcinoma of the lung, salivary gland-type tumors of the lung, sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung, and typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Matthew Brown





Local Social Security Offices Open

April 12, 2022

This week, the Social Security Administration announced that local Social Security offices are open for in-person services by appointment and also for walk-ins.

According to Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, “To avoid waiting in line, I strongly encourage people who can, to use our online services, call us, and schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment…Given that many of the people we serve have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with our union agreements, we are continuing to require certain safety measures including masking (regardless of local guidance), physical distancing, and self-health checks for COVID-19 symptoms.”

Categories: Social Security Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





VA Mobile App Gives Veterans Easy Access to Benefits

April 1, 2022

More than 300,000 veterans have used the VA mobile app since the VA mobile app launched mid-last year. The Department of Veterans Affairs attributes the app’s success to the veteran-centric development approach.

According to an article published by VAntage Point, “This direct Veteran feedback, combined with development efforts to achieve high-value app functionalities…resulted in a mobile app Veterans can use to securely access personal VA records and easily manage their VA experience. The app is free and can be quickly downloaded to Apple and Android devices. [The] VA is working to make more features available on the mobile app soon, such as the ability to view pending (and request new) health care appointments as well as manage disability compensation, education, and pension payments.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Matthew Brown





President Biden to Announce Burn Pit Benefits Plans for Affected Vets

March 1, 2022

President Joe Biden is planning to announce plans to issue health care and disability benefits to more veterans who are impacted by toxic exposure from burn pits during his State of the Union address this week.

According to an article published Stars and Stripes, “The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon initiate a federal rulemaking process to add nine rare respiratory cancers to the department’s presumptive list, according to the official. Being on the list means the government acknowledges a veteran’s military service caused their medical condition, and it lowers the amount of evidence that a veteran must provide to receive benefits.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





Disability Benefits Update for Tinnitus and Mental Illness

February 16, 2022

Suggested updates to the Department of Veterans Affairs disability ratings system will likely result in decreased payouts for veterans with sleep apnea and tinnitus, but increased payouts for veterans with mental illnesses like PTSD and depression.

According to an article published by MillitaryTimes, “The changes are part of a months-long review of the department’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities, which governs how VA staffers evaluate and compensate veterans with service-connected injuries. In a statement, Thomas Murphy, acting VA undersecretary for benefits, said the goal of the work was not to reduce or increase the number of veterans receiving disability benefits but instead to ensure that veterans receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge relating to their condition.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown