News

VA launches new Veteran Privacy website

August 10, 2023

According to the VA, the new website is an improvement on a previous iteration and will make it easier for Veterans to access privacy information and tools, such as:

  • Report a privacy complaint
  • Report suspected identity theft
  • Submit a FOIA request
  • Find a System of Records Notice
  • Get VA benefits fraud prevention tips
  • View VA policies on privacy
  • Access and download Fact Sheets on protecting your identity and privacy
  • Keep updated on VA’s SSN reduction activities
  • Learn from frequently asked privacy-related questions

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





Long COVID disability benefits cases could rise



From Medscape: “At least 30 lawsuits have been filed seeking legal resolution of disability insurance claims, according to searches of court records. In addition, the Social Security Administration said it has received about 52,000 disability claims tied to SARS-CoV-2 infections, which represents 1% of all applications. But legal experts say those cases may not reflect the total number of cases that have gone to court. They note many claims are initially dismissed and are not appealed by claimants.”

Categories: Social Security Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





PACT Act News: Deadlines Approaching Fast

August 8, 2023

From VA.gov: “VA encourages all eligible Veterans and survivors to file a claim—or submit their intent to file a claim—for PACT Act-related benefits now. Veterans who do so on or before Aug. 9, 2023 may have their benefits (if granted) backdated to Aug. 10, 2022, the day that President Biden signed the bill into law.”

“The PACT Act is one of the largest health and benefit expansions in VA history. It recognizes toxic exposure as a “cost of war” by addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed Veterans, ensuring generations of Veterans who suffer from toxic exposure-related conditions get the benefits and care they’ve earned. This new law also expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam era, Gulf War era, and Post-9/11 era.”

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





August 7th is Purple Heart Day

August 7, 2023

From VA.gov: “Each year on August 7, our nation recognizes the men and women who are known as our Purple Heart recipients. The Purple Heart, one of the oldest military decorations, is presented to service members who were injured or killed in service to our country.”

The team at Wolf & Brown remembers and honors our nation’s 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients.

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





VA continuing to probe toxic exposure

July 27, 2023

“The Department of Veterans Affairs will review whether three more types of cancers will be added to the list of conditions presumed to be caused by exposure to toxins from military burn pits, the agency announced Tuesday.”, according to Stars & Stripes.

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





July 25th is National Hire a Veteran Day

July 24, 2023

“This day was created to remind job seekers and employers alike that these veterans’ experience and dedication can breathe new life into the workforce. It aims to teach people about the value of hiring a veteran”, according to NationalToday.com.

At Wolf & Brown, we’re immensely proud to support our Veterans and we encourage employers everywhere to always consider hiring these brave men and women.

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





Bill allowing service members to file malpractice claims in district court advances in US House

July 20, 2023

“The new bill — Healthcare, Equality and Rights for Heroes, or HERO Act — would allow troops to take their claims to district court”, Stars & Stripes reports.

“The way that the process works now is a service member’s first step is submitting a claim with their military branch, Panetta said. If that is denied, they have an opportunity to resubmit the claim. Under this process, there is only a 2% favorable resolution rate for the claimant.”

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





PACT Act Updates from VA: claims received by August 9 will be eligible for 12 months of backdated compensation

July 13, 2023

According to VA.gov, most Veterans and survivors who apply for benefits or submit an “Intent to File” by August 9, if granted, will have their benefits backdated to August 10th of last year – the day that President Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

Categories: VA Disability, Veterans Disability News

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





Effective Dates: What they are and how they affect your VA Disability Benefits

June 8, 2023

One of the more common misunderstandings in Veterans Disability Law is the rule surrounding “effective dates”. What is an effective date? In short, it is the day that you can start receiving your disability benefits. 

 

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

Generally, under federal rules and regulations, the effective date for any claim is set from either the date the VA received your claim or the date that entitlement arose, whichever is later. Let’s use an example to illustrate this:

Veteran John files a claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on January 1, 2020.  Before filing his claim, John presents the VA with medical evidence he has a diagnosed condition, a statement regarding his in-service stressors, and medical evidence from his treating physician that provides a nexus between his condition and the in-service stressors.  

After several months, VA adjudicates his claim, grants him entitlement to service-connection for PTSD and assigns him a disability rating accordingly. In this situation, John’s effective date will be the date the VA received the claim ie: January 1, 2020.  

However, let us assume John does not have any medical evidence to support his claim nor a diagnosed condition when he submits an application on January 1, 2020, but he complains of mental health symptoms and has confirmed in-service stressors. In this instance, if the VA adjudicates his claim as service-connected and a VA examiner diagnoses him with PTSD on April 1, 2020, VA may assign April 1, 2020, as the effective date. Why? Because that is when his mental health condition was diagnosed. Here, despite submitting his claim four months prior, the VA would have the right to assign April 1st, 2020 as the effective date.  

It should be noted however, there are several exceptions to this general rule. For example, if a Veteran applies for disability compensation within a year of their discharge from active service, the effective date assigned would be the day after discharge.  

Overall, there are several exceptions to the general rule governing effective dates. If you need assistance with an effective date issue, reach out to our team at Wolf & Brown Law Offices to schedule a free consultation so we may evaluate your case.

 

Read more on the NJ Vet-Wire

Relevant pages: NJ Vet-Wire; Veterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability, Vet-Wire

Author: Wolf & Brown Law Offices





VA Disability Benefit Claims – Wait Times Explained

April 20, 2023

When filing an initial claim for disability benefits with the Veterans Administration (VA) it takes approximately 118 days to process the claim and make a decision. However, this is an estimated completion timeline. In each individual case, the time it takes to review your claim depends on a number of factors including the number of disability claims, the time needed to collect evidence including medical records, and the type of claim filed. 

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

If a claim is denied, one option available is to appeal it by filing a request for a Higher-Level Review. When a Veteran initiates this request, they are unable to submit any new and relevant evidence – they may only request a senior reviewer complete a review of their initial claim and decision. Simply put, this means a review officer who did not participate in the original decision process will decide the claim without deference to the previous decision-maker. The VA’s goal for completing a request for Higher-Level Review is approximately 125 days or 4 months. 

Another option to appeal a denied claim is by filing an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The wait times when filing an appeal to the Board are a bit more complex as Veterans have the ability to choose one of three review lanes when filing their appeal: 1. Direct Review docket; 2. Evidence Submission docket; or 3. the Hearing docket. Below is a chart published by the Board of Veterans Appeals regarding each review lane and their corresponding wait times:

 

If you need assistance in navigating the appeals process, please schedule a free consultation, so we may evaluate your case. 

 

Read more on the NJ Vet-Wire

Relevant pages: NJ Vet-WireVeterans Disability

Categories: VA Disability, Vet-Wire

Author: Matthew Brown