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News

Housing Improvement Act for Disabled Veterans Signed into Law

August 12, 2020

A bill that would increase funding and access to a program that allows disabled veterans to modify their homes was recently signed into law.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019, H.R. 3504, updates a Department of Veterans Affairs program that provides money for veterans with certain permanent, service-connected disabilities, with the most common being bilateral amputees and paralyzed veterans. The new law increases the funding available to those veterans from about $85,000 to about $98,000. It also extends the benefit to blind veterans and allows beneficiaries to access the funding up to six times instead of three.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Matthew Brown





New Act Introduced Would Expand Healthcare to Veterans with Toxic Exposure

August 5, 2020

New legislation has been introduced by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. that would expand access to preventive and diagnostic health care to veterans with service-related toxic exposure. The legislation also addresses funding and planning for the creation of training materials for providers and authorizing research on toxic exposure.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act of 2020, or TEAM Act, fundamentally reforms and improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Tillis said he has watched as veterans have spent decades pushing for documentation of exposure and fair treatment within the system.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Michael Brown





VA Representatives List the Most Underused Benefits in Each State

July 31, 2020

According to representatives from the  Department of Veterans Affairs, there are various benefits that are available to veterans that are not always known about or used. An article published by MilitaryTimes.com outlined the following underused veterans benefits for Pennsylvania (PA) and New Jersey (NJ):

In NJ, veterans with certain service-connected disabilities may be eligible for monthly payments through the New Jersey Catastrophic Entitlement.
In PA, a blind veteran may be eligible to receive $150 per month through the state’s Blind Veterans Pension.

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Matthew Brown





Report Shows Increased Demand for Veteran’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

July 24, 2020

A report released this week found that veterans are at higher risk of developing substance abuse disorders, and mental health issues and concurrently struggle to find access to health care.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank, released findings that show a high demand among the veteran population for treatment that concurrently targets substance abuse disorders and mental health problems. Veterans who served after the 9/11 terrorist attacks are at “particularly high risk” for having both, the report says. The most common combination is alcohol-use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Matthew Brown





Proposed New Agent Orange Conditions Presented to Congress

July 20, 2020

After years of trying, a means to expedite benefits to thousands of Vietnam War veterans was presented to Congress via this year’s annual defense budget review. If approved, benefits would be granted to Vietnam War veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms thought to be caused by chemical herbicide Agent Orange.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., pushed to add the measure to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2021. The NDAA sets the Defense Department’s annual budget and includes a slew of policies for the Pentagon. It’s one of the only major bills that passes reliably through Congress each year, making it a desirable target for lawmakers to attach other measures.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





VA Continues to Deny Care Troops Exposed To Toxins at K2

July 10, 2020

The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny troops exposed to cancer-risking toxins at K2 even though recently declassified documents show the Pentagon knew troops were exposed and official military documents show evidence of said exposure.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, “Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, known as K2, is a former Soviet airbase in southeastern Uzbekistan that shares a border with northern Afghanistan. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. established Camp Stronghold Freedom at K2, which was used to support combat missions from 2001 to 2005. Veterans described a toxic environment at the post, where pond water glowed green, black sludge oozed from the ground and the government posted massive white and yellow signs warning troops to keep out of certain areas due to chemical agents.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Matthew Brown





VA’s Largest Budget Ever Heads to House Lawmakers for a Vote

July 8, 2020

The House Appropriations subcommittee members unanimously approved a draft $250.9 billion VA budget plan for 2021 this week, after which it was sent to the House floor for a vote. If approved, it will be the second-largest federal agency budget, second only to the Pentagon.

According to an article published by ConnectingVets.com, “The new proposal continues a nearly two-decade streak of significant expansion of VA’s budget, going even further than the president’s original budget request released in February, which outlined a plan for a $243.3 billion budget. VA is likely one of the only federal agencies that won’t see budget cuts for 2021. Even that plan was nearly double what VA operated with 10 years ago and more than five times what its budget was in fiscal year 2001 when VA operated with $45 billion. VA’s budget has consistently increased since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president’s budget ask for 2021 included a $12.9 billion increase, or about 10.2 percent more than 2020. ”

From the proposed $250.9 billion budget, $3.2 billion will be allocated to the Veterans Benefits Administration’s operating expenses of which $62 million will be focused on minimizing the backlog of disability claims.

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Michael Brown





VA Medical Exams Continue Despite Increase in Coronavirus Cases

July 6, 2020

In an attempt to ease the backlog of almost 200,000 disability claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs is amping up their efforts to recommence Compensation and Pension exams amidst the soaring coronavirus cases.

According to an article published by MilitaryTimes.com, “The situation leaves many veterans unsure of the health risks with a difficult choice: Head outside their homes for face-to-face medical appointments despite the virus spikes or delay those exams — and any disability payouts — for even more months. David McLenachen, executive director of VA’s Medical Disability Examinations Program Office, said for now most veterans have been comfortable with heading back to the doctor’s office.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Michael Brown





Advocacy Groups Urge Congress to Approve Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

July 2, 2020

Veterans advocacy groups are urging lawmakers to hasten a bill that would extend grants to disabled veterans to modify their properties in order to meet their physical needs.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, “The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019 provide money for veterans with certain permanent, service-connected disabilities, with the most common being bilateral amputees and paralyzed veterans. The bill increases the funding available to these veterans from about $85,000 to about $98,000. It also extends the benefit to blind veterans and allows beneficiaries to access the funding up to six times instead of three.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Matthew Brown





Disabled Veterans Granted Free Lifetime Access to National Parks



On June 29. 2020 lawmakers passed the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act, a bill that grants veterans with service-connected disabilities free lifetime entry to the country’s 400+ national parks.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, “The Wounded Veterans Recreation Act, which now goes to the House for consideration, amends the current eligibility standards for national park passes. The bill would grant the passes to millions more U.S. veterans. Now, veterans must have a 100% permanent disability to receive free lifetime entry. If approved by the House, the bill would grant a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass to any veteran with a disability rating through the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Relevant Pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Benefits

Author: Michael Brown