News

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





When and Why to See Your Doctor – Advice from Michael J. Brown, Esq.

October 28, 2021

I have always been a big fan of family doctors. It is the family doctor who gives us our flu shots and generally keeps us well. Sometimes it is our family doctor who yells at us when we do not keep our cholesterol or weight where it should be. But it is the family doctor who, if you visit them every three months, know if there is a change in your physical condition before you even say “good morning”. Medicine is not just a science, but also an art form. In order to get the most out of the art, we have to let the artist know what is happening with us.

In many of the medical records, I review I note that the doctor reports “patient states no change in the condition”. They say they are “feeling fine and there are no new complaints”. This is wonderful if you are 25 years old and are there for your yearly wellness visit. However, if you are a diabetic, or a heart patient, or suffering from venous insufficiency, it is important that your doctor knows about how these conditions affect you during the day or week.

Are your legs sore when walking? Do you get leg cramps at night? Are you going to the bathroom more often or in the middle of the night? Do you become short of breath climbing the front steps to your home? Any one of these symptoms may mean nothing. Perhaps you are just “getting older” but it is worth mentioning to your doctor, not only may he/she be able to easily treat the condition if he/she knows about it early, but it also paints a clear picture of your medical history, and provides a more detailed longitude history for your doctors in the future.

So, my medical advice, as a lawyer, is to see your doctor once every three months and to tell him/her what is bothering you.

Categories: Social Security Disability News, Veterans Disability News

Author: Michael Brown





More than 2,000 Additional Claims Processors Hired to Help with VA backlog

October 15, 2021

Veterans Affairs officials are hiring in excess of 2,000 additional claims processors to help cope with the increase in backlogged cases, the biggest that the department has experienced in seven years.

According to an article published by MilitaryTimes.com, “Department officials are also planning to use mandatory overtime for thousands of already-working claims staff and emergency coronavirus pandemic funding to help stem the problem. Even with that, Veterans Benefits Administration officials expect it to take two and a half years to bring the backlog back down to pre-pandemic levels. But they also are insisting veterans waiting on their claims to be processed should not panic.”

Categories: VA Disability

Author: Michael Brown