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Veteran Disability and VA Benefits

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VA disability benefits are often denied because veterans don't seek help from a qualified VA attorney. Veteran disabilities, including post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD and combat stress, can also hinder a veteran from filing a claim, thereby causing delay in veterans compensation and veteran's disability benefits.


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VA Disability Benefits

VA benefitsVeteran Affairs offers VA disability benefits for those with disabilities as a result of their military service. The VA website explains that to qualify for veteran compensation you must have (1) a disability at the present time that has been diagnosed medically; (2) a disease, injury or event in the service; and (3) your current medical condition is related to the in-service medical condition.

A service connection must be established when a veteran first files a claim for disability compensation with the VA: there are five ways to apply for a service connection and an attorney who specializes in Veterans Disability Compensation law can help.

If you have another disability that you believe is related to your military service, but you have not previously filed a claim for that disability, you can file a new claim online.

The VA also provides a pension for disabled veterans but only if they have limited income and are disabled or over 65 years of age. For a dependent to receive benefits from the VA, the veteran needs to have been rated by the VA for a service-connected disability.

Veteran Disability Denials

VA disabilityThe Federal government says between 50 and 70 percent of benefit claims to Veterans Affairs are being unjustly denied. Congress recently approved additional VA funding to solving the problem of denied veteran disability claims.

Disabled veterans benefits can also be reduced by the VA for a number of reasons based on its disability compensation ratings. It is important that you find a veterans lawyer or Veteran Service Organization immediately if the VA proposes to lower your veterans' compensation. (Recent legislation now allows veterans to hire attorneys to represent them for benefits before the VA. Before June 20007, attorneys were prohibited from charging a fee to represent veterans at the administrative level.)

VA Disability Lawsuit

In 2008 a lawsuit was filed by two advocacy groups, The Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare, against the Department of Veterans Affairs representing almost 60,000 veterans. The lawsuit claims that the VA is taking up to four years to process disability claims, which is causing economic devastation, homelessness, the breakup of families, and even suicide. The suit requested that the VA be required to pay interim benefits on any claim that takes longer than 90 days to process or six months to appeal.

Some of the allegations in the lawsuit include:
  • A backlog of up to 600,000 disability payments, with delays of up to 177 days for initial claims.
  • A shortage of treatment programs for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • A classification of post-traumatic stress disorder claims as "pre-existing personality disorders" in order to deny veterans disability or medical treatment.

Veteran Disabilities

Of the returning veterans suffering from anxiety-related problems, approximately one-third of them suffer from panic disorder. Veterans who suffered combat stress have also been diagnosed with the following:
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Psychosis;
  • Suicidal or homicidal ideation or intent;
  • Severe depression; and
  • Panic attacks only related to specific phobias or medical conditions that mimic anxiety symptoms.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

According to the VA, 60,000 U.S. service personnel have been wounded or have psychological disorders such as PTSD due to their tours in Iraq since 2003.

In 2007 a coalition of disabled Iraq war veterans sued the Department of Veterans Affairs, accusing them of illegally denying or delaying claims for disability pay and mental health treatment. Filed on behalf of an estimated 750,000 veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit is the latest in a list of complaints about the quality of medical care provided to veterans returning from war.

Agent Orange

A federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the VA to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange who have contracted leukemia. The VA expects to see approximately 200,000 veterans becoming eligible for disability benefits.

Gulf War Syndrome

VA benefitsIn February 2010, the VA vowed to review potentially thousands of Gulf War Syndrome disability claims. According to the VA, of almost 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the Gulf war, upwards of 210,000 have complained of a series of symptoms.

Approximately 108,000 vets are on a Registry of whom 80,000 are symptomatic. But only about half of ill gulf veterans have registered with the VA or DoD for treatment. It is believed the rest are seeking private medical care.

Gulf War syndrome is a collection of symptoms, including rashes, joint and muscle pain, sleep issues and gastrointestinal problems. The cause isn't still clear, but scientists and service people have considered pesticides, chemical drops, oil well fires and pyridostigmine bromide pills, which soldiers took to safeguard from nerve gas.

Lou Gehrig's Disease

In 2006 the Institute of Medicine reported a potential connection between military service and the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a progressive, usually fatal, nervous system disorder that affects 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States, with roughly 5,000 newly stricken annually. According to the report, several epidemiologic studies reported a link between development of ALS and prior service in the U.S. military.

VA Claim Process

VA disabilityIn an attempt to help improve the veterans' disability claims process, in March 2010 the VA held a nationwide contest for VA employees and veterans services organizations. An award-winning idea is the use of standardized forms to speed up the veteran's assessment. Currently, veterans must undergo a private exam as well as an exam at a VA medical facility in order to have their condition and degree of disability properly diagnosed and be awarded disability benefits.

Standardized forms will help both the veterans and the private physicians:
  • Veterans will be much more aware of the necessary required information;
  • The new process will most likely lower the amount of examinations required, which will benefit those veterans finding it hard to travel; and
  • The physicians will be more familiar with the veteran's medical history.

VA Disability Benefits Legal Help

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Veteran Who Filed for Benefits in 2001 Has Yet to Receive Them
Veteran Who Filed for Benefits in 2001 Has Yet to Receive Them
May 23, 2016
Washington, DC: Talk about clout. When retired US Army veteran Leonard K. Jackson talks of his years-long wait to secure VA disability benefits for a range of physical and mental health issues suffered while serving, he has the White House behind him. That’s right, the White House, as the Obama Administration has used Jackson as a poster boy of sorts for Obama’s efforts to simplify and speed up the veteran benefits appeals process READ MORE

Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases
Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases
May 10, 2016
Norfolk, VA: After LawyersandSettlements wrote about QTC Medical Services and its lawsuit involving Vietnam veterans’ disability cases and QTC reviewers inadequately reviewing their Agent Orange claims, the whistleblower in the lawsuit contacted us. “Under this federal contract, veterans’ claims were recklessly processed and as a result, they were denied disability benefits,” says David Vatan, a former QTC claims file analyst and doctor READ MORE

Did Contractor Drop the Ball on VA Benefits?
Did Contractor Drop the Ball on VA Benefits?
April 27, 2016
Norfolk, VA: Retired service personal in dire need of VA benefits would not be cheered by the allegation that a contractor hired to review the cases of thousands of Vietnam veterans for exposure to Agent Orange may have denied benefits in spite of obvious need, all because the contractor was less than thorough in reviewing cases, or so it has been alleged READ MORE
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Posted by
Steven D. Hartman
IF YOU ARE AN IN-COUNTRY VIETNAM VET - PAY ATTENTION I am a 69 year old Vietnam vet of both the Navy and Air Force. In Sept 2006 I got a flash rash on both my frontal thighs. No real itch or anything and it cleared in a few days; but I had a feeling of dread that it might be prostate cancer. VA had no answer but to give me a rash cream. Five months later I broke out in a small, whispy, circular rash, clear in the center, around my right armpit - kind of like ring worm but dry, and no swelling. Then another around my left armpit, then multiple more occurrences around armpits, both upper arms, lower arms, and inner wrists Original diagnosis by Montana VA was simple eczema, but I wasn't buying it! In my mind, rashes on both arms in the same place is NOT simple eczema, but a systemic condition. So I went to old VA dermatologist at VA Palo Alto's Ft. Ord clinic who took biopsies which came back suspected for a condition called "mycosis fungoides"... also known in layman terms as T-Cell Lymphoma of the skin. I got a consult for Stanford U's mycosis fungoides clinic, but VA Montana wouldn't pay for travel, so I ended up going to VA Denver for the next nearly two years. Meanwhile the circles kept appearing first on my belly and sides around to the back and then progressing down my legs.

In July of 2008 the Montana VA PCP found a lump in my prostate. PSA at that time was 2.6. VA doesn't even start looking for cancer until you get a PSA of 4.0 or higher. Never-the-less a biopsy was ordered. Diagnosis? Advanced prostate cancer, Gleeson Score 3+4. Too high for prostatechtomy. Had brachytherapy (radioactive seed implantation) in Dec. 2008.

Four months later back at VA Denver for yet another skin biopsy for those circles. The biopsy taken, the Doc and I head to the dressing room. I tell the doctor that I don't think they have a clue as to what they are doing! Specifically I said, "Youu've been taking pieces of me for nearly two years, can't find a diagnosis, and you can't even tell me what the circles are!"

The Doc replies that the circles are a condition called E.A.C. - erythema annulare centrifugum - and that I'm allergic to blue cheese. When I asked what else causes it, she said she didn't know of anything because they were taught that it was blue cheese.
So, I told her that I was leaving until I found out specifics about this condition.

Well, turns out that E.A.C. is also linked to 11 different malignancies of which 8 are Agent Orange-Presumed cancers. In essence, my esteemed medical professionals were given a message from God, telling them there was a real potential problem - like 18 months before diagnosis the regular way. They had no clue! Not one of my MOntana VA doctors had ever heard of EAC. Not the PCP; not the Urologist; not the Dermatologist!

So! I filed for a VA Comp claim for EAC, secondary to prostate cancer. My Disabled Vet rep looked at me like I was nuts! And since VA Claims as in the same building as my rep I said to him. IF they deny me, we're going to war!

Claims DID deny and I demanded a face-to-face appeal with a judge in appeals court. Instead of answering the canned questions II put on a full-blown legal case, with documents, professional articles, pictures, etc and not only demanded comp for the condition, but I also demanded "specific performance" that the VA be required to notify all PCP, Urologists, Dermatologists, and blood drawing lab techs of the condition.... SYSTEM WIDE!

I WON! I was granted the Comp on EAC but nothing was mentioned as to the specific performance. The A loves to play "Shhhh-h-h! Don't tell!

So if you're a Vietnam vet, and you were in country, and get a circle rash that inexplicable to your PCP, this could be your answer. The literature says EAC is very rare - 1 in 100,000 skin events. But you know what? If the doctors are so uninformed that they wouldn't recognize EAC even if they saw it, I suspect the number of cases is far higher. And since this condition can appears way before you'd get diagnosed from other means (A clue from God?) your newfound knowledge could save your life!

Further, since my filing was awarded in June of 2015, if you had, or have this condition and it hasn't been explain, while you also ended up being diagnosed with a qualifying malignancy, I'd sue the hell out of the VA! And some fine lawyer might also begin a class-action for malicious negligence because through my case VA was certainly put on notice! Good Luck to you all!

Posted by
Bankable Bodies
I'd just completed an 18+ year case through BVA for my husband's Service Connected death due to Benzene exposure causing many fatal illnesses. It's a headache having the diseases not disclosed or knowing when they will adversely affect your life expectancy. Only being in a tracking system can you actually know how your health will be impacted. We fight to help all Veterans on preventions and awareness of what's capable of making their life higher quality now.
I'd identified etiology, toxicology & latency by researching all items.

Posted by
Gene H Langenberg
I have been waiting on an appeal since 2008 for serious injuries I suffered from a parachute jump gone wrong.

Posted by
I have fought the VA FOR YEARS, still fight them. I was with a broken ankle in Newfoundland. While on Crash and Rescue. Wore a cast six months, walk on crutches for 6 months to heal. Bother me all my life, have to fight the Board all the time. They are so corrupt they stink. Even ignore the Supreme Court of the USA... all need replaced.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 case that prior injury that can and does get bad with age must be taken care of by the VA and the Veteran Paid Compensation. Sharp No. 16-1385(Vet.App.)2017 US Supreme Court. and a Lawsuit
quoted Edwin H. Crosby ll Case No. 12-330-CV LMB Deviation of Civil Rights, intentional infliction of emotional and Physical distress.
you need case law. The Board is comprised of Doctors, fat pay, lay around and dont repect Veterans. I dispise them, most never served.
I also was knocked off the Carrier in Fly one into the catwalks. I hurt all over now in my joints. I paid to fix one rotor cuff. and had hernia operations. The VA put an outdated, recalled mesh in my right side, and it is killing me slowly. I dont think I will last a lot longer. My ear drum exploded on the Catapults from noise of the jets. they say no, didnt happen and the Navy say it did. They gave me 10 percent more, no money, said I could get cheaper insurance. In other words, "we hope you die"

Posted by
leah talley
I did finally after 25 years get my veterans disability however, in my case the dod, usn, & DoJ still aren't following victims rights policies. help

Posted by
Patricia Braun
My husband filed for Agent Orange in 1993 and the VA told him that was a personal injury and not a injury from a act of war he severed 2 yrs in Nam he died in 1994 from it. I applied for DIC when he died and was told no,I read in 2012 the old cases were going to be re opened so I re-filed and I didn't hear anything by 2013 so I hired a lawyer who couldn't even get the VA to answer her calls. I kept calling up until August 2014 when they found my file was completed in 2013 and was sitting there all this time finished and they awarded me 22 yrs back pay for DIC and told me my childern who didn't get there Education benefit could apply for retro which I have and their stalling on that.So don't give up keep fighting is all I have to say.

Posted by
Jeff Eagle Scout, Army Tanker, AFR GPS Space Cmd
I have had a number of opportunities lost from 1992 after driving a tank in the first Gulf War - apologies for not finishing the job. In 2015 we finally saved enough money to seek help from the VA what a disaster. I was able to see VA psych types twice a year. My wife was kind enough to get me a congressional intervention after waiting 3 months to hear back from the Biloxi VA. This inpatient experience resulted in very little treatment and getting to meet 3 veterans who would be dead within the year largely due to the complete lack of effective treatment. After leaving Biloxi inpatient I encountered the same VA crap. My wife then used a presidential intervention to get me into a private center that assisted some - as of my last VA appt a number of the prescriptions given by the private clinic were terminated. I suspect the VA wants to kill as many veterans as possible. Be cautious seeking any assistance from the VA. Please stay alive things will get better - use VA choice.

Posted by
My daughters dad passed away and he was getting a medical disability settlement would my daughter be intittled to it

Posted by
Dolphus collins
I am a black vet from benton ms country .65age now .not any bad record .man of God .civil rights person. For vets for all people rights .i got in army l4 l5 low back spine .put in for my va money .1975 .jks ms nov.won case many times .at the bva washington dc .by what they sect then wrote .and what they judge s wrote two times and there attys and mandated .then at cout of vets appeals won under judge hollway same court judge green black judge i talk to him at his cout about the mess on phone and sent proof .he rule in my favor and mandated it .the court atty jack lane jr wrote a brief letter sent to me to this same address said i have won to by evidence and u nder e a ja federal law to .a atty from ohio from ohio contact me he got in the case name micheal j mooney .i won with him in the case .same court .the bva va trusury dept paid that atty 5 000 .480.00 .cause i had won again with the atty. U nder e a ja federal law .a judge at the same court got in the case name judge moorman .work under the chief judge and lied like a big fat dog and said i had not won any thing sir .all of them rooted back and for 30 ys still lieing want pay .now last week va watch dog jim strickland text me .then for frist time Dept of vet affairs claim intake center from janvesville wi .sent me a two page letter saying they got what they need .but still want pay .last night i text the sect of vet affairs at home that was sect of vet affairs under obama staff .sent him all of the proof .he text me back gave a lady name. Work at sect of vet affairs under mr trump .i sent her all of the proof .now she want text are talk this her name and gmail ther under trump rev Dolphus Collins civil rights person for vets and all people

Posted by
Tony Munro
I can sympathize with Denise Warnock. I'm sorry for what you and your husband went through. I am a victim of HCC when my liver ruptured in 1977, I was given 6 months to live and have proven them wrong so far. VA has denied me many times and have given up on them but my family and I thank god for everyday I continue on. God Bless!

Posted by
Denise Warnock
My husband was a VN vet. He passed away September 2015. After being diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma a year prior, the VA said he Had 6-12 Months to live without treatment. The VA said his cancer was not large enough for treatment. His abdomen swelled up 4 times its normal size..VA said it was "water" retention (hospitalized for 3 days)..released with water pills..took him back to the VA due to him getting worse..VA stated...he had an infection put him on antibiotics in patient for 3 days..released him with visiting nurses to our home. Not getting any better and no help from the VA. I called 911 ro which they took him to the Cleveland clinic. Rounds of high potent antibiotics and getting hus abdomen tapped "13 liters" of fluid removed..the Cleveland clinic drs did what they could but by the time of going to the Cleveland husband had no chance of survival.

Posted by
I am submitting a FDC for back, neck, and shoulder pain and PTSD. I've had shoulder surgery, but I have not been treated for the PTSD. Do I need to see a doctor to evaluate my conditions beforehand or should I file and see if the VA requests exams? I am in the Philippines and seeing a doctor is not easy, and I don't have money for expensive tests. I am also waiting for my DD 214. If I add the DD 214 and doctors evaluations after filing, will this cause the claim status to change from FDC to regular status, and thereby delay processing?

Posted by
James Ruffin
There is a big shortage in the Midwest of Va qualified attorneys that will handle federal tort claims for Veterans. That led to turning to other parts of the country only to be told to find an attorney in your area contacting the legal bar association of your state turns out to be just as confusing with nowhere for the Veterans attorney for legal help

Posted by
I filed for benefits in 2010 and was diagnosed with PTSD and rated at 30%. I filed a dispute and have been waiting ever since. I currently have two appeals pending for multiple years. I have been sued by debt collectors and defaulted on. I am unable to maintain employment due to symptoms and severe anxiety. I am living at home with my mother and just wish I could find a job or start my own company doing what I love.

Posted by
Nearly incapable of walking due to bone on bone of both hips. Left knee is deteriorating as a result of trying to alter gait to ease hip pain. The VA has dragged its feet for far too long, while my condition continues to deteriorate.

Posted by
Exposure to gas and chemicals during Gulf War. Letter from gov't stating I was exposed. Filed with the VA and they cannot locate my records. They have vanished. My teeth have fallen out, my fingernails are nearly gone, I experience headaches, gout, and many other GWS ailments.

Posted by
this is va disabilty case that i already won at the veteran court appeals and in the us supreme court also. thirteen years ago the va wanted me to take 100% disability in seven years and because i didn't take or talk on it and because i sent the Evidence to president obama to president clinton to us senator thad benny thompson us atty general disability rights section atty robin dike went into the missippi news paper jackson avicate now the va want pay anything and now federal judges lying now sayin i didn't win nothing i need a atty to put them in the spotlight to tellin that they above god or the law maybe even file a writ mandanmus lawsuit against the va. My is Dolphus Collins and my home phone number is 601-xxx-xxxx
adress:2752 ustah street in jackson mississippi zip: 39213

Posted by
I am a retired Vetearn With 20 years of services. In 2010 I was with cancer and had a ling removed. The after affects of the cancer was COPD, Sleep disorder and loss of my teethy. At that time I was drawing 30% disability from VA which was deducted from my militarly retirement pay being tax free. When i retired I claimed my lower back right shoulder and right knee. In 2002 I was rewarded 30 %. After the bout with cancer I applied for SSD and was reward total disability. In the medical records sent froth by my Doctor it stated due to my lower back and almost no use of the right was the decideing factor. He dtated that I could not work in any type of employment due to prolong Stang and sitting. When I retire I was on a permeant profile due to my back and right knee, and was forced durning the time i severed to change my MOS to match my profile. Even thought the cancer had no major play in my SSD it was the after effevts that did. After hiring a Laywer I was awared SSD base upon my Back right shoulder, COPD and sleep disorderand Left shoulder due to using it to protect my right sshoulder. I was informed by the Regional Offive Columbia SC to file a FDC (Fully Deveoloped Claim ) in which I did stating all of my medical history. Fours month after filing I recevied a letter form VA deining my FDC but that they would process the claim as a increase for Disabilty. Five days before the claim meet the nine month deadline I was sent to a local Doctor for a review. The Doctor stated that the question she was asking was that of the VA and She need for me to answer them in a manner that was in compliances to VA . She informed that I need to get a job and work because her father was 84 and still working. After all the public news on the VA i fell that my request was one of those that was being herry picked due to the time it would take to review it and that the VA could meet the deadline. I did not ask for the cancer or the copd or any other health issue that has happened to mae. But I belive that the VA did fail to due that proper process with my FDC, because if the would have read it that the would have found that my SSD was base upon my Lower back Right and left shoulder and right knee. After all of the BS I was awarded a additional 10% back dTED TO sEPT 2013. aS OF THIS DATE i STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVE THE BACK PAY THAT IS DUE. i CONTANVTED THE va AND WAS TOLD THAT A fOTRM HAD NOT BEEN SENT TO dfas AND THAT THEY WOULD SEND IT FORWARD THAT WAS OVER 60 DAYS, i CONTANCED dfas AND WAS INFORMED THAT THEY HAD NOT SEEN OR RECEVIED SUCH FORM, nOW i AM FORCED TO HIRE A ANTTORNEY TO FILE FOR Appeal for denial. Maybe if the upper management would let the carrer workers due thier and not play with numbers or make stupid decesionon how or who claims meet what they belive is harmful to thier over all refection of the VA I say fire all Govt APPT individualls at the VA and promote within that who really cares The VA is full of it and I fell sorry for the poor GS/4/5/6 who nedds thier jobs but have to put up witj false management

Posted by
I served on board Two World War 2 Aircraft Carriers in the early-Mid sixties. Have Asbestosis of the lungs diagnosed in 2010. It is now almost been 4 years since I filed my original claim. VA Denied it even though I have proof it is more then certain I got this working on these ships especially in Shipyards while these ships were being repaired.Re filed with an Attorney in 2012, and have not heard a word from VA. According to my last Pulmonary function test I have yearly to update the VA I have 60% loss of my breathing function.I am 71.

Posted by
I am on oxygen 100% of the time, confined to a bed 90% of the time and can not walk at all. The only way for me to get around is by wheelchair or scooter. I am on my death bed.

Posted by
Head, shoulder, knee, back injuries. Tinnitus (hearing loss).


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