Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) completed a “think tank” report on veterans’ disability compensation. The ranking member on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs asked for this study, which looks in detail at trends and policy options in regard to future veterans’ compensation. Though the study looked at many areas, the report was primarily focused on potential ways to save future budget dollars (2018 through 2024) in regard to compensation by modifying current compensation to all veterans. Listed below are the areas they reviewed:
• Limit the time in which a veteran can file an initial claim for service-connection after leaving the military. The CBO looked at 5-, 10- and 20-year time frames. As expected, the less time afforded to file a claim resulted in the greatest budgetary savings.
• Increase VA reexaminations on veterans already service-connected.
• Reexamine the standards for declaring something a presumptive condition.
• Change the rules about individual unemployability (IU) in that only those veterans younger than the full social security retirement age will be able to receive this benefit.
• Reexamine the rules as to how compensation payments are determined for veterans with serviceconnected mental disorders.
• Change cost-of-living adjustments.
• Eliminate concurrent receipt for military retirees. This results in the greatest savings in regard tofuture VA budget dollars.
• Tax VA compensation disability payments.
REMEMBER – THIS IS JUST A THINK TANK REPORT
Did you know this Act was signed into law August 23, 2017. However, the new law does not take effect until February 2019. The law creates a new claims and appeals process, which features three separate avenues; (1) Higher-Level Review, which consists of an entirely new review of the claim by an experienced adjudicator; (2) Supplemental Claim, which provides an opportunity to submit additional evidence and (3) Appeal, which provides an opportunity to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
The Pentagon on February 12, 2018 released its new policy on military lethality, which will begin separation procedures for service members who have been non-deployable for the last 12 months or more. “This new policy is a 12-month deploy or be removed policy,” Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told a Senate panel Wednesday. “However, there are exceptions. As was previously reported, there will be exceptions, such as pregnancy. Medical boards will review wounded personnel, and the services will retain the ability to grant exceptions to wounded warriors.
Hilton has a long legacy of supporting the military, dating back to its founder, Conrad Hilton, a U.S. Army veteran who served in World War I. In August 2013, Hilton launched Operation: Opportunity, with a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. The company accomplished that goal two years ahead of schedule and is now committing to hire an additional 20,000 military hires by the end of 2020. Veterans and their spouses are a natural fit at Hilton because of the company’s shared values with the military, like leadership, integrity and teamwork. Hilton is also offering a unique benefit to veterans; free hotel stays for job related travel. you will be required to have a copy of your DD-214 with you as evidence that you served in the military.
If you were stationed at Camp LeJuene, N.C. for at least 30 consecutive days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 you may be eligible for certain benefits. You may be eligible for VA health care or certain cost reimbursements for you and your dependent faily members. There are also certain presumptives that may allow you to receive disability compensation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs this spring commissioned a small pilot study to look into the link between liver flukes ingested through raw or undercooked fish and a rare bile duct cancer. It can take decades for symptoms to appear. By then, patients are often in tremendous pain, with just a few months to live. Research studies show that it can take as many as fifty (50) years for the parasite to manifest itself.
A recently released randomized study by the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research at the VA Portland Health Care System demonstrated improved clinical outcomes for tinnitus patients using the Levo System. The study was led by James Henry, PhD. Tinnitus affects a range of people, including those who are exposed to continuous noise. It is the leading service-related disability among U.S. veterans, according to the American Tinnitus Association.
The Levo System approach is grounded in the idea of personalized medicine. Rather than machines or doctors selecting sound matches in the customary fashion, patients choose the actual sounds they hear when they sleep. When patients take an active role addressing their tinnitus, they often feel a sense of mastery and control.
Currently, when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) names a fiduciary to assist a veteran with benefit payments, the VA will then report the veteran to the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS), also known as the gun ban list. When placed on this list, a veteran is unable to own or purchase a gun, being stripped of their Second Amendment right for virtually no reason. It’s absurd that our veterans are subject to this unjust scrutiny, and that they have been required to fight for what should be a constitutionally protected Second Amendment right. Our service members have sacrificed so much to protect our rights, and it’s critical that we ensure their rights are being protected.
This week, Senator Ernst, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in introducing the bi[artisan Veterans’ Second Amendment Rights Restoration Act of 2018 to do exactly that.
On February 6, 2018 Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is considering new restrictions to a program that provides monthly stipends and other assistance to family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans. Testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Tuesday, Shulkin said he wanted to limit eligibility for the program to the most severely injured and ill veterans in order to expand benefits to veterans of all eras without inflating costs.
As is, the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers provides monthly stipends, medical training and access to other services, such as mental health counseling, to family members of veterans injured after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some advocates have fought for years for an extension of caregiver benefits to veterans injured before 9/11, describing it as an unfair disparity.
Based on the Secretary’s comment, veterans before Iraq and Afghanistan will NOT qualify for caregiver programs because, as I read the Secretary’s statement, veterans prior to Iraq and Afghanistan do not caregiver’s.
On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee renewed debate on the issue of VA’s caregiver program, which awards living stipends — totaling up to several thousands of dollars a month — to the families of veterans who require around-the-clock home care.
That is the number for the White House Hot Line and 90% of the staff are either veterans or family members of veterans. According to the VA, the agents document your concerns about VA care, benefits or services and they expeditate the referral and resolution of those concerns.