Author Archives: Marcari, Russotto, Spencer and Balaban

DoD Names 126 Bases Worldwide as Potential Camp Lejeune Water Crises Spots

DoD Names 126 Bases Worldwide as Potential Camp Lejeune Water Crises Spots

Last March, the Department of Defense issued a report to the House Armed Services Committee that cited for the first time the full scope of the water contamination problem on U.S. military installations across the globe. Water at 126 military installations was found to contain levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable standards for perfluorooctane… Read More »

VA Updates Schedule for Disabling Skin Conditions

Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs updated portions of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities that evaluate skin conditions. The VA website describes the VASRD  (also called the rating schedule) as “the collection of federal regulations used by Veterans Benefits Administration claims processors to evaluate the severity of disabilities and assign disability ratings.” Disability… Read More »

VA Issues New Spanish-Language Healthcare Benefit Application

VA Issues New Spanish-Language Healthcare Benefit Application

In August, as part of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ effort to simplify and improve healthcare enrollment, the VA issued a new Spanish-language version of its application for health benefits. The new version of the application grew out of a recommendation from the VA Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans to address the growing number of Hispanics… Read More »

Has Your Military Service Earned Special Credits for Social Security?

Has Your Military Service Earned Special Credits for Social Security

If you are a service member or a veteran planning for retirement or applying for Social Security disability, you should be aware that your active duty service earns you extra wage credits. Since wage credits are used to calculate Social Security benefits, your retirement and/or disability benefits may be higher than you think. Not all… Read More »

VA Disability Issues for Veterans in Need of Knee Replacements

VA Disability Issues for Veterans in Need of Knee Replacements

Military service makes many demands on those who are willing to sacrifice for our country. But the service is downright brutal on service members’ joints. In 2011, Stripes reported that military deployment puts troops at risk of osteoarthritis at a higher rate and at a younger age than the general population. Military training and active… Read More »

Did a Military Base Contaminate Drinking Water in a North Carolina Community?

Did a Military Base Contaminate Drinking Water in a North Carolina Community

Though it’s too early to draw comparisons with the toxic conditions that existed at Camp Lejeune, another North Carolina base is suspected to be the source of contaminated water, and that contamination seems to be affecting a neighboring community. Atlantic, an unincorporated area of Carteret County, home to about 600 residents, has had two ground… Read More »

Four Theories About the High Rate of Veteran Suicides

Four Theories About the High Rate of Veteran Suicides

Writing recently in The Washington Post, military author Thomas E. Ricks attempted to answer why so many veterans continue to take their own lives at a higher rate than their civilian counterparts. Relating several anecdotes about military acquaintances who committed suicide, he notes that the suicide rate for veterans has increased 35 percent since 2001…. Read More »

Opioid Addiction Crisis Taking Heavy Toll on Veteran Population

Opioid Addiction Crisis Taking Heavy Toll on Veteran Population

Last October, Reuters reported some alarming facts about how the current opioid crisis sweeping the nation is affecting the veteran population. Key assertions in the story included: Opioid drug abuse has killed more Americans than the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined. Veterans are twice as likely as nonveterans to die from accidental overdoses of… Read More »

Has Secretary Shulkin’s Ouster Opened the Door for VA Privatization?

Has Secretary Shulkin’s Ouster Opened the Door for VA Privatization

When President Trump fired David Shulkin last March, the outgoing VA Secretary took the opportunity to warn about a change of course that he viewed as dangerous. In an op-ed for The New York Times, he wrote: “The advocates within the administration for privatizing VA health services…saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had… Read More »

Former U.S. Army Captain and Efficiency Expert Nominated as VA Benefits Boss

On Wednesday, February 21, President Trump nominated U.S. Army veteran Paul Lawrence to be the next Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits, filling a seat warmed only by interim officials since October 2015. Lawrence, who retired from the service as a captain, would seem to be a strong choice based on his background as a… Read More »