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Policy Paper Claims Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange on Guam

In a recently published policy paper, two groups claim there is evidence veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Guam during the Vietnam War. The paper says that tens of thousands of veterans who served in Guam during the War may have been exposed to the herbicide and become ill as a result. If confirmed, it could help thousands of Vietnam-era veterans claim disability benefits for ailments believed to have been caused by Agent Orange exposure. Continue reading “Policy Paper Claims Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange on Guam”

VA Emphasizes Importance of Mental Health in May

May is Mental Health Month, and at a time of great distress for many Americans, it is more important than ever to emphasize the importance of mental health. In recognition of the Month, and the strain caused by the coronavirus on veterans across the country, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created the “Now is the Time” program to address the mental health needs of veterans. The program promises to help veterans get help for their issues from family and friends, through professional counseling. Continue reading “VA Emphasizes Importance of Mental Health in May”

Recipients of VA Benefits to Automatically Receive Coronavirus Check

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that recipients of benefits through the VA, including everyone receiving disability benefits, will automatically receive coronavirus checks without needing to file a tax return. This will help VA beneficiaries to survive in this difficult time, as unemployment soars and people struggle to make ends meet. The timing on when the checks will be issued has yet to be announced, however. Continue reading “Recipients of VA Benefits to Automatically Receive Coronavirus Check”

VA Health System Faces Rush of Coronavirus Patients

The coronavirus is the largest health crisis facing the country right now.Even under normal circumstances, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) struggles with the burden of helping all the veterans who require medical assistance. However, the strain has become particularly acute with the coronavirus pandemic underway, with other, less urgent care often being pushed to the side to make way for emergency cases. As a result, many veterans, especially disabled veterans, struggle to maintain their health during the crisis. Continue reading “VA Health System Faces Rush of Coronavirus Patients”

VA Recruits Retired Healthcare Workers for COVID Care

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has approved a request from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to waive a regulation that would normally disincentivize retired healthcare workers from employment at VA medical facilities. This regulation restricts the amount of money that retirees can receive, to reflect the added income from their retirement benefits. By waiving the regulation, they hope to attract medical professionals to come work at VA facilities to address the coronavirus crisis. Continue reading “VA Recruits Retired Healthcare Workers for COVID Care”

SSA Offices Closed to Public During Coronavirus Outbreak

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it is closing its offices to the public in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While it will still have online and phone assistance available, it will not be possible to have in-person communications with staff for the duration of the closures. These measures, while important, will nevertheless likely cause a delay for anyone waiting for an evaluation for disability benefits. Continue reading “SSA Offices Closed to Public During Coronavirus Outbreak”

VA Prepares to Deal with Coronavirus

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has already taken measures to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, to help protect disabled veterans from the impact of the disease. Of particular concern are those disabled veterans currently residing in VA nursing homes, who are particularly vulnerable to the infection. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has tried to reassure veterans and their families, saying: “We will get over this and we will make sure everything is done to protect those who have done so much for our country.” Continue reading “VA Prepares to Deal with Coronavirus”

What is a Disability Reexamination?

When you apply for veterans’ disability benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, you may feel it is already an arduous and complicated process. You may think that, once you’re through the process and get awarded benefits, you are basically done and don’t need to worry anymore about whether you’ll get to have your benefits. However, anyone who receives veterans’ disability benefits may, at some point, be asked to go through a reexamination of their disability status. Continue reading “What is a Disability Reexamination?”

Remote Questionnaires Questioned After Fraud Allegations

The practice of using remote questionnaires for disability determination evaluations by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being brought into question after leading to an alleged fraud. Remote questionnaires conducted by private physicians have grown in popularity as a way of conducting evaluations without requiring travel to VA offices, which is convenient for veterans in isolated areas or who have mobility issues. However, the allegations of fraud show that the practice has serious flaws, and that the remote questionnaire is not an adequate replacement for evaluations within the VA system. Continue reading “Remote Questionnaires Questioned After Fraud Allegations”

SSA Removes English Language Rule from Disability Criteria

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a rule that could significantly change how disability determinations are made for non-English speakers applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The rule repeals a decades-old regulation that dictated that the inability to speak English should be taken into consideration when determining whether a person should receive disability benefits. As a result, anyone applying for SSDI or SSI benefits should be aware of the potential impact the rule could have on their application. Continue reading “SSA Removes English Language Rule from Disability Criteria”