Veterans Affairs has recently announced the largest single change to VA Disability claims in decades, discontinuing its Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (or RAMP), in order to fully implement the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization (VAIM) Act, which took effect on February 19, 2019. What does the change to the VA Disability appeals process mean for disabled veterans currently waiting for a decision or considering filing an appeal? We’ve broken down the details to give you a closer look.
Radiation exposure has long been a potential risk associated with military service, primarily for individuals who performed what Veterans Affairs refers to as “radiation-risk activities” (as defined in 38 CFR 3.309(d)(3)), including nuclear weapons testing, but these specific tests are not the only potential risk for those serving in the military to be exposed to harmful radiation levels. In order to file a VA Disability claim for cancer related to radiation exposure, a veteran would need to be able to prove a connection between their cancer diagnosis and radiation exposure during military service. Proving service-connection for radiation-related cancers can be difficult and complex. The more information you have before moving forward, the better. Let’s take a closer look at what cancers are associated with radiation exposure during military service.
When asbestos was originally introduced to the public, it was considered something of a miracle due to its ability to more effectively fireproof housing, machinery, automobiles, and more. We are primarily used to hearing about asbestos being used in housing construction or automobile manufacture, but did you know every branch of the United States military used asbestos as a flame retardant, too? Long after the harmful effects of long-term asbestos exposure were known, its use continued unabated until nearly 1980. Asbestos is either partially or fully banned in more than 17 countries. You may be surprised to learn, however, that the United States is not one of them.
In our last blog, we looked into ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from medical malpractice as a result of VA care. Unfortunately, medical malpractice isn’t limited to care received at private medical facilities or in hospitals — veterans have also found themselves subject to sometimes serious injuries as a result of care they received at the VA. Current servicemembers and military veterans who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice at the VA do have options! Today, we’ll take a look at the two ways to seek a remedy, the steps included, and why it’s important to have legal representation.
Local Columbia newspaper The State recently reported on the case of U.S. Navy Veteran Eric Walker. Mr. Walker sought care at the Dorn Veterans Hospital in Columbia, SC, while suffering from severe pains in his abdomen. The hospital asked for a routine urine sample — that’s where the ‘routine’ part of this ER visit ends. To Walker’s shock, the hospital informed him that he had flunked their drug test and his stomach pains were caused by “excessive cocaine use” and other drug ingestion. Medical staff at Dorn did not attempt to provide treatment for his pain and told him instead to go home and seek help for drug addiction.
When considering what segment of military veterans is growing the fastest in the United States today, who comes to mind? If you thought of women, you would be correct. As of today, women make up almost 10% of the military, with the number expected to double by 2040. While women serving in the military isn’t anything new, it took until after World War II for their contributions to be formally recognized. Even after recognition, women have continued to have to fight to access the same standard of healthcare from the VA as their male counterparts, especially when it comes to VA Disability claims for service-connected conditions. Let’s take a closer look at injured military women and their fight to receive the standard of care from the VA that they are entitled to.
We’ve spoken before about Agent Orange, one of a collection of so-called “rainbow herbicides” sprayed during the conflict in Vietnam as part of the defoliation efforts used by the American military. Agent Orange contamination left thousands of veterans exposed to dangerous chemicals that, over time, have been correlated with a spate of chronic illnesses and even cancers. While many Vietnam-era veterans are aware of their ability to file for VA Disability as a result of Agent Orange contamination, fewer are aware of another common herbicide utilized during Vietnam: Agent Blue. You may be able to file VA Disability claims for Agent Blue if you were exposed during your time in service. Let’s take a closer look at what Agent Blue is and what kinds of health effects come as a result of exposure.
Are you worried about a loved one with military PTSD? While our recent awareness of PTSD as a result of military service has led to increasingly open conversations and new treatments and therapies for veterans returning from deployment, PTSD itself is nothing new. When your spouse, partner, family member, or friend shows signs and symptoms of PTSD, you may feel helpless and unsure what to do. We’re here to help with advice for helping your loved one, as well as yourself, when dealing with the often-disabling effects of PTSD.