Information for veterans So you can ask better questions This is NOT claims training. • This is current information that you can take back to your chapter members so they can ask better questions of their service officers. • This is what is now available; your service officer can let you know the specifics as to your eligibility and actual process. When you say, “the VA…” 1. National Cemetery system 2. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) 3. Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Always change your address with the hospital and the Regional Office, separately. 21-526B? or 21-4138? • 21-526b now used. Just check the chosen box. • Takes the normal time process, 10mths -1 year. • 21-4138 used for all other items, including filing an informal claim to preserve date. • DBQ’s---Disability Benefits Questionnaires • Used for 3 new Nehmer items, soon more. Fully Developed Claims • Two pages, with a waiver---instead of 14 double sided pages. • Can be used to file an --• Increase • Reopen • New item • Secondary condition • TAKES AS LITTLE AS 3-4 MONTHS New Forms to Use • 21-526EZ---a Fully Developed Claim for Compensation • 21-527EZ---Fully Developed Claim for NonService Connected Pension EVERYTHING MUST BE TURNED IN AT ONCE, MEDICAL RECORDS, SERVICE RECORDS, et all. “Re-Open” instead of Appeals • When you have been denied, determine what of the trifecta you are missing. Then re-open with the “new &material” evidence. • Time frame---5-7 months instead of 18 months to 5 years for an appeal. • Must physically have more than one page stapled together, using the above words. New Item to File for… • TBI traumatic brain injury (post-concussive syndrome) resulting from traumatic brain injury. Explosions, grenades, land mines. Even from the Vietnam war. • Especially if there was a loss of consciousness, request a TBI evaluation. • If positive, add to claim. Secondary Items If a secondary condition is caused by a service connected disability , or by the medicine or treatment of the original diagnosis, it can be service connected with “at least as likely as not“ Ex: tinnitus from chemo There are a few that can be secondary to PTSD: Secondary to sc PTSD • • • • • GERD-gastro-esophageal reflux disorder Bruxism—grinding teeth Sleep apnea HTN (sometimes)--hypertension Conditions caused by self-medication (liver and or heart)cirrohsis, hepatitis C Ask Questions • Always accept any medications or therapies offered. • If not comfortable, ask questions until you feel ok about it. A different kind of war • The draft, individual replacement, no chance to grieve, government did not support the soldiers efforts, enemy looked the same as the good guys, couldn’t trust a coke can at the side of the road, couldn’t trust a four year old kid. Korea & WW II veterans • Many of our older veterans are in need of Aid & Attendance, especially if in supervised care facility. 90 days active service, with one day of war time, makes them qualified to request it. • Non-service connected Pension with A & A. Low income, off set with medical expenses, make it work. Relaxed Stressors • Vietnam could be a terrifying place to be, as is Iraq and Afghanistan. The 21-0781 still needs to be filled out to match circumstances. • Personal PTSD ( resulting from assualt or MST (military sexual trauma---male & female) also relaxed. Veterans statement to be used as evidence, with benefit of the doubt on vet. How to Get an Increase • “A day in my life, with my knee”. Notes over a 24 hour period to give your doctor a clear picture of living with your knee. • Same idea for PTSD---thoughts and feelings only. • Share that with the psychiatrist, in the hopes it will give him a better idea of your reality. His notes may be interpreted to get an increase. Individual Unemployability • The VBA offers a program for veterans rated 60% for one SC condition, or a combined % of 70, 80, 90 with at least one at 40%. They will pay you at the 100% rate if your doctor will enter the following statement. • “As a result of his combined service connected conditions, and without regards for other factors, he is unable to obtain & maintain substantial employment”. Additional Benefits at 100% rate • Apply for SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance. You are able to collect both. • Apply for Independent Living, through Voc Rehab. They are required to interview you in order to determine what interests and avenues to better socialization apply to you. • (no membership to Hooters, but it might be fishing equipment, a camera & scanner, etc). Direct Connection (not on a list) • • • • • Three basic requirements, at the least. 1-documentation of an incident of some sort 2-current diagnosis of a disability 3-doctor’s statement connecting the two. “After reviewing the service treatment records regarding the stubbed toe injury, it is at least as likely as not related to the development of toe cancer”. Presumptives • Direct connection require that statement. Truck loads of evidence won’t matter. VBA raters are not allowed to draw a conclusion. • Presumptives were determined by Congress, and do not require that statement. Ex: A DD214 showing service in Nam proves A/O exposure if you are claiming diabetes.