VA Extends Agent Orange Presumption to “Blue Water Navy” Veterans

The Veterans Administration recently announced that it would extend the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to “Blue Water Navy” veterans for the first time, according to a press release on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. These veterans include those who served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, no more than twelve nautical miles seaward of demarcation line between Vietnam and Cambodia. This new ruling is estimated to affect between 420,000 and 560,000 Vietnam-era veterans. Continue reading “VA Extends Agent Orange Presumption to “Blue Water Navy” Veterans”

New Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Erase Student Loans for Disabled Vets

According to the Military Times, a new law currently being considered in Congress (called the Federally Requiring Earned Education-Debt Discharges for Veterans Act (FREED Vets) Act) would discharge the student debt of veterans determined to be at 100% disability who had not yet paid back their student loans. The bill follows a proposal made the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs last year and would affect an estimated 42,000 veterans in the United States. Continue reading “New Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Erase Student Loans for Disabled Vets”

A “Ticket to Work” For People With Disabilities

It’s easy, when you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, to think that your time as a fully employed adult is over. After all, if your disability was manageable enough to allow you to work full time, you probably wouldn’t have needed to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits in the first place. However, just because you’re unable to work now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to work in the future, and the “Ticket to Work” program is designed with exactly that in mind. Continue reading “A “Ticket to Work” For People With Disabilities”

Social Security Disability Trust Fund Expected to be Funded Until 2052

According to the Washington Post, the trustees for the Social Security Disability fund have announced that it will be funded at its current rate until 2052. The trustees had previously announced, back in 2015, that the trust might run out of funds as early as 2016, but a combination of low unemployment and few new disability claims have led to the positive revision to estimates of Social Security’s continued solvency. This is good news for anyone who relies on Social Security Disability, as it means they will continue to have its support for at least a few more decades.

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VA Improperly Charged Disabled Veterans $286 Million in Home Loan Fees

Disabled veterans may have been improperly charged $286 million in home loan fees that they were meant to be exempt from, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Veterans’ Administration (VA). These fees affected an estimated 53,000 disabled veterans between 2012 and 2017, according to the report, and although the issue was originally discovered in 2014, no action was initially taken to stop it.

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How Do I Know If I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

It’s probably safe to say that no one wants to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, if you’re in a position where you might need them, it’s certainly better to have them than not. However, the law places several restrictions on who can access SSDI benefits, and not everyone who may want them can qualify for them.

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Veterans Administration Launches New Anti-Suicide Initiative

The Veterans Administration’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) has recently announced a new initiative to reduce the rate of suicide by veterans across the country. Described as a “community-focused health model,” this new initiative is part of the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, announced earlier this year, which calls upon local communities to become more involved in caring for veterans, particularly those struggling with mental health issues as a result of their service. This initiative seeks to coordinate with local stakeholders to help veterans and make sure they have community support whenever they suffer from suicidal thoughts.
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Marriage, Divorce, or Death: How Does It Affect Social Security Benefits?

Individuals who are retired workers and their spouses who have paid into the Social Security system during their working years can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits monthly. Social security benefits are also available to individuals who are permanently and completely disabled. Major life events such as marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse may have a significant impact on social security benefits.
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Should Your Social Media Activity Determine Your Eligibility for SSD Benefits?

CBS News reported that the Social Security Administration (SSA) may view the social media posts of Social Security Disability claimants in an effort to crack down on fraud. The agency also announced that, as part of the 2020 budget, it is expanding its review process for those applying for SSD.
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AMVETS Says CBO’s Proposed Cuts Will Hurt Veterans

Stars and Stripes reported that AMVETS is protesting a series of cuts in veterans’ benefits proposed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The agency said such reductions are necessary but AMVETS argues these will negatively impact veterans in need.
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