News

New Legislation Introduced for Veterans Who Served in the Middle East, Africa, and the Philippines

April 9, 2021

This week, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk introduced legislation to grant disability and health care benefits for veterans who served in the Middle East, Africa, and the Philippines. These vets have been struggling for years to get the benefits they are entitled to.

According to an article published by Daily Press, “It is the first legislation on toxic exposure benefits to include a comprehensive list of overseas locations that would qualify a veteran for benefits. It is also the first that sets out a comprehensive list of presumptive illnesses contracted as a result of airborne exposure to toxic substances.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





Disability Benefits Deadline for Gulf War Veterans to be Extended



Right now, the deadline for Gulf War veterans to apply for benefits for service-connected illnesses is December 31, 2021, however, VA officials have stated that they are working on an extension.

According to an article published by ConnectingVets.com, “The deadline has continued to be pushed back in recent years. In 2016, the deadline was pushed back to the end of 2021, the fifth time it had been extended. Now, VA officials say they’re working on another extension.” Teri McClelland, a Veterans Benefits Administration official, was quoted in an interview for the publication saying, “The purpose of the deadline was to allow additional time to study the conditions and their causes to better determine a fair and accurate presumptive period for the regulation based on scientific findings while not disadvantaging the claims of any veterans filed in the interim.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





VA Disease Research Continues to Attempt to Prove Toxic Exposure for Sick Veterans

April 6, 2021

In an attempt to be proactive, disease researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs began planning for war-related illnesses soon after 9/11.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, “[Chief] VA research officer Rachel Ramoni said the agency’s focus is two-pronged: to identify what made the veterans ill and to improve their health situation now…As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, there’s been a growing momentum on Capitol Hill to provide remedy for veterans who became ill after serving overseas.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





New Biden Infrastructure Plan Gives $18 Billion for VA Hospital Upgrades

April 1, 2021

An ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan by President Joe Biden (also known as the American Jobs Plan) has assigned $18 billion for improvements to Veterans Affairs medical centers. The aim of the package is to generate millions of employment opportunities and to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

According to an article published by MilitaryTimes.com, “Along with major investments in projects to rebuild American highways, ports, and airports, the proposal calls for “vastly improving our nation’s federal facilities, especially those that serve veterans. Administration officials noted that while the median age of private-sector hospitals in America today is about 11 years, the median age of VA hospitals is roughly 58 years. The $18 billion would be spread over a variety of modernization and new construction projects, with the goal of providing better facilities for VA medical care.”

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





Backlog of C&P Exams Worsened by Pandemic

March 29, 2021

The backlog of compensation and pension exam requests has only been worsened by the pandemic, leaving hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The exams are a crucial part of the process to determine whether veterans are eligible for the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The department suspended the exams in April 2020, as coronavirus cases spread across the United States, and during that time about 200,000 requests accumulated, said David McLenachen, executive director of the VA’s medical disability examination office…The VA is scrambling to eradicate the backlog of appointments by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, but lawmakers and veterans’ advocates remain skeptical of the agency’s ability to achieve that goal.”

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





Veteran with Severe Lung Damage from Burn Pits Denied Benefits

March 22, 2021

Bill Thompson, a retired Army staff sergeant who has severe lung damage as a result of inhaling toxic fumes from burn pits, has been denied full disability benefits.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The lungs Bill Thompson was born with told a gruesome, harrowing and unmistakable tale to Dr. Anthony Szema when he analyzed them and found the black spots, scarring, partially combusted jet fuel and metal inside…“There’s black spots that are burns, particles all over; there’s metal. It was all scarred,” said Szema, a pulmonologist and professor who studies toxic exposures and examined Thompson’s preserved lung tissue…Thompson is still alive, surviving on his second transplanted set of lungs. Yet the story burned into the veteran’s internal organs is not one that has been entirely convincing to the U.S. government.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





Fight Continues for Veterans with Toxic Exposure During Service in Thailand

March 15, 2021

Lawmakers and the VA Chairman are recommitting themselves to providing support to veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War-era by providing them the ability to prove toxic exposure and therefore be eligible for benefits.

According to an article published by The Veterans’ Affairs committee, “The VA currently awards service-connected benefits for exposure to toxic chemicals to veterans whose duties placed them on or near the perimeters of Thai military bases from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. This restriction arbitrarily disqualifies veterans who may otherwise be able to prove their exposure, regardless of their assigned duties during their time stationed in Thailand.”

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





VA Vaccine Act Passed, Making All Veterans & Caregivers Eligible

March 12, 2021

This week, the VA Vaccine Act was unanimously passed by House members, giving the Department of Veterans Affairs the go-ahead to vaccinate all veterans and their caregivers.

According to an article published by Military Times, “It is unclear how quickly the department could distribute the vaccine, but the measure would dramatically expand the scope of who the VA can vaccinate to include all caregivers of veterans enrolled in various VA programs, and veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program. There are about 9 million veterans enrolled in VA care, but there are 18 million total U.S. veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet VA would serve as another option for veterans and their civilian caregivers, as some people are still struggling to find a vaccine or are confused amid conflicting information on eligibility.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Wolf and Brown News

Author: Michael Brown





$1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Plan Approved with $17 Billion for VA

March 11, 2021

This week, with only three hours of debate, the House approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes $17 billion for the VA.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The bill gives about $17 billion to the VA. Most of that — $14.5 billion — goes toward vaccine distribution, veterans’ health care, mental health care, staffing, suicide prevention, research and women’s health, as well as expanding telehealth, serving homeless veterans and stocking personal protective equipment.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





Democratic Leaders Invite Veterans from Minority Groups to Policy Discussions

March 9, 2021

Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly promised to include more veterans from minority communities in policy discussions. Last week, they delivered on this promise.

According to an article published by Military Times, “[During] a joint hearing by the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees, leaders from Minority Veterans of America and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans sat for the first time among organizations invited each year to give their views on current Veterans Affairs policies and shortfalls.”

Democratic leaders have also invited the National Congress of American Indians and National Association for Black Veterans to legislative presentation panels later this month.

Categories: Wolf and Brown News

Author: Matthew Brown