Articles Posted in VA Benefits

A year into the “new VA regulations” it is clear that planning for VA benefits is still a viable longterm care planning strategy.   On October 18, 2018 as part of a comprehensive plan to help reorganize the Department of Veterans Affairs and benefit programs themselves, the VA finally adopted new regulations affecting the non-service related improved compensation benefit program or as we refer to it, A&A (aid and attendance).

Among the changes:

  • A three (3) lookback period.

There is a new mobile system that veterans can utilize in order to access healthcare services from their mobile devices. The Veterans Affairs Telehealth Services can now be accessed by app, making it easier for patients to schedule visits from as many as 50 types of health care services remotely.

Last year alone 700,00 veterans received care through telehealth services. Leaders of the VA hope that with this mobile app, accessibility of medical services continues to improve for veterans across the nation, making it even easier for veterans to receive the help they deserve.

If you or a veteran you know is unsure of their rights or in need of home assistance please contact SMDA for a free consultation so we can help you receive the appropriate assistance.

Michigan Vietnam Veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange may now have the ability to file for benefits. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs recently expanded its list of ships that were subject to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam era. This is good news to Navy Veterans that were denied benefits in the past.Attached is the new database which includes the new ship listings.

If you are residing in Michigan and were denied benefits related to Agent Orange exposure PRIOR TO AUGUST of 2010, please call, we can assist you with an appeal for benefits, or direct you to another that can.

Related Posts: New VA Mobile App Makes Health Care More Accessible for Veterans, Additional VA Benefits, VA Benefits 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment, Michigan Elder Law and Long Term Care Planning

We frequently come across others that assist veterans with benefits other than non-service connected benefits like aid and attendance. Benefits provided by the GI Bill or through the service connect programs can also assist veterans with service connected illnesses, injuries or conditions. One such benefit provided by the VA is the VA loan and mortgage program.

For more information contact Jeff Zimmerman at Simple Mortgage. Mr. Zimmerman specializes in VA loans and mortgages. As a special thank you to veterans, anyone who utilizes Simple Mortgage for a purchase or refinance between now and the end of the year and mentioned your blog will receive a $500 visa gift card at closing!

Related Posts: New VA Mobile App Makes Health Care More Accessible for Veterans, VA Expands Agent Orange Exposure List, VA Benefits 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment, Michigan Elder Law and Long Term Care Planning

Michigan veterans may be able to file presumptive claims related to exposure to herbicides from their service in Vietnam. In august of 2010, the VA released a list of over thirty (30) presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides.

The VA also tweaked its rules with regard exposure to these herbicides to include naval and other veterans that did not have “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam era. A great example are United States Navy Veterans. Blue Water Veterans are those who served in deep water, but did not actually dock or set foot on land in Vietnam; whereas, Brown Water veterans patrolled the inland shoals and waterways.

Brown Water veterans are covered by statute related to presumptive conditions; whereas, Blue Water veterans must prove that they were directly exposed (forming a nexus) and are not covered presumptively, with the exception of those with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (which is presumptive to Blue Water service).

As most Michigan Veterans are aware, Agent Orange was not the only herbicide used in Vietnam. There was also Agent Purple, Agent Green, and Agent Pink, which were part of the “rainbow herbicides” used to defoliate the jungle of Vietnam Nam. Purple and Orange were also used in Canada.

Agent Purple was used before Agent Orange came on the scene, between 1962 and 1965.

Recent changes to the federal code of regulations governing VA benefit eligibility may allow Veterans exposed to herbicides to recover benefits due to exposure while in service. 38 CFR 3.309(e) states exposure to “herbicides”…not specifically to Agent Orange; therefore, exposure to Agent Purple should also be covered if the veteran served within the presumptive time frames covered in statute.

Thank you to all Michigan Veterans that have served our country. As a Michigan based law firm, we are proud to assist veterans with their benefits. Although we specialize in elder law and non-service connected pension benefits including Aid and Attendance, we can also provide assistance to veterans that have been wrongfully denied service connected benefits.

The most common service connected benefit claims that we are asked to pursue are those claims resulting from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam era. Most veterans applied prior to the August 2010 ruling that created an entire list of presumptive conditions that will qualify for service connected disability benefits. Conditions can include diabetes, pulmonary problems, neurological disorders and certain heart conditions.

If you are a veteran and have previously been denied benefits related to any condition associated with Agent Orange exposure please call 1-866-529-3537 or locally at either (586) 264-3756 in Metro Detroit; or, (616) 931-3670 in West Michigan.

Despite the budget battle, the federal government has approved an increase for non-service connected benefits provided by the VA for wartime vets equal to the Social Security annual cost of living adjustment. If you are a Michigan wartime veteran, or a family member assisting a Michigan wartime veteran, it is important to understand Aid and Attendance.

This benefit is designed to provide an opportunity for an aging or disabled veteran to receive assistance to otherwise allow an individual to avoid nursing home care and, or, to age in place. The benefit can be as high as $2,000.00 per month and can be used to pay for in home care, assisted living, and, in some circumstances, senior independent living where care is provided.

If you are a wartime veteran that needs assistance or are a family member of a WWII, Korean War, or Vietnam era veteran, please call to learn more about these benefits. This benefit can be the answer to long-term care.

Finally, some good news from the federal government that will benefit Michigan residents receiving VA non-service connected pension benefits. After several years of not receiving a cost of living increase (COLA), the government has announced a 3.7% increase for benefits.

In addition to social security, this will include VA benefit payments. If you are a veteran receiving Aid and Attendance Benefits (A&A) this will result in a much needed raise to assist you with your care expenses.

The new monthly amounts are as follows:

A recent article in USA Today reports some rather grim statistics. The recent opening of service connect claims related to Agent Orange exposure compounded with the need to file for non-service related claims by WWII and Korean War veterans has caused a serious backlog of VA claims.

The total number of claims since last April has almost doubled (448,000 to 756,000). Although the VA has hired an additional 3,000 workers to assist with claims, the delay in claim resolutions has caused an average delay of eight (8) months.

This will mean ultimately that after a filing a claim, veterans will be forced to follwo the old military mantra of: “Hurry up…and wait”.

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