News

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





Cost of Expanding Care for Toxic Exposure Delays Efforts

January 21, 2022

Recently lawmakers have strongly supported the goal of providing increased care and benefits for veterans with service-related toxic exposure. However, the projected cost of this is proving to be a hurdle to moving these efforts forward.

According to an article published by Military Times, during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee roundtable on the topic on Wednesday Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif. was quoted as saying, “Everybody here wants to do the right thing, but only some want to pay for it,” said Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif. The article continues, “Wednesday’s event was designed to restart legislative work on the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, a sweeping veterans toxic exposure bill introduced last summer that could lead to new benefits or services for as many as one out of every five living American veterans…The measure has gained praise from veterans advocates but objections from fiscal conservatives, who point to the nearly $300 billion price tag over the next decade as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





Burn Pit Victims Continue to Fight for Benefits

January 6, 2022

Although veterans advocates made significant progress last year to get burn pit victims their benefits, they are continuing to fight for even more this year.

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





New Plan to Increase Toxic Exposure Benefits Could Cost Nearly $300 billion

December 9, 2021

A new analysis issued this week by the Congressional Budget Office outlined that congressional plans to drastically increase disability payments for military hazardous exposure victims may cost about $85 billion in the next five years and more than $280 billion over the next decade.

According to an article published by Military Times, “The hefty price tag is likely to cause significant concern among lawmakers considering the legislation, which advocates have argued is needed to properly compensate veterans for the injuries they received while serving overseas. But in a statement, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., said he is still committed to passing the measure into law,”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown





2022 Social Security Benefits to Increase

December 3, 2021

In 2022, Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payouts will increase by 5.9% for more than 70 million Americans.

According to an article published by the Social Security Administration, “Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). The CPI-W rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are more expensive, so the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) helps to offset these costs.”

COLA notices will be mailed to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees in December.

Relevant pages: Social Security Disability

 

Categories: Social Security Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





Benefits for Veteran Burn Pit Victims Expands

November 12, 2021

After years of lobbying, a new benefit has finally been approved for veterans affected by the smoke emited from burn pits.

According to an article published by Federal News Network, “The Veterans Benefits Administration is about to start paying disability benefits for those exposed to fumes from burn pits in the Middle East as far back as the Gulf War. Payments will go to those with asthma, rhinitis, or sinusitis.”

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability

Categories: Veterans Disability News

Author: Matthew Brown