Category Archives: Veterans Benefits

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 »

VA Secretary Suggests Cut to Unemployability Benefit

VA Secretary Suggests Cut to Unemployability Benefit

Asserting that it doesn’t make sense to average Americans to pay unemployment benefits to persons 80 years of age and older, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has proposed cutting the Individual Unemployability benefit for disabled veterans once they qualify for Social Security. According to the Daily Courier, the mere suggestion of cuts to IU has… Read More »

Veterans Line Up on Opposite Sides of H.R. 2288 — Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017

On May 23, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 2288 — the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. This came weeks after DAV (Disabled American Veterans) national service director Jim Marszalek appeared before Congress to call for the bill’s passage. As Mr. Marszalek testified, “The new appeals framework developed… Read More »

Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 Blog Series: Part 1: Options for Appealing a Rating Decision

On Sunday, May 21st, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (HVAC) passed H.R. 2288, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. If passed into law it will mean many changes for the VA and for our veterans. One notable revision is the options in which veterans may appeal their rating decision. The bill… Read More »

Veterans Continue to Wait Years for Claims Hearings

Veterans appealing a denial of VA benefits are currently waiting about five years for a determination, and if the present pace continues, vets 10 years from now could be waiting as long as 25 years for an answer. That’s the bottom line from a recent article by Luanne Rife of The Roanoke Times. Ms. Rife… Read More »

VA Backlog Growing Despite New Paperless Process

Why has the VA claim backlog grown from 76,000 cases in May 2016 to 101,000 cases this February despite a new paperless process that was supposed to speed claims decisions? At a recent hearing before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Ronald S. Burke, Jr., the assistant deputy undersecretary for… Read More »

VA Secretary Shulkin Proposes “Choice 2.0”

Dr. David Shulkin, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs

In February, Dr. David Shulkin, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, spoke publicly for the first time on his plans to reduce red tape and make the VA more responsive to veterans’ needs. As reported in Stars and Stripes, Dr. Shulkin told an audience at the annual Disabled American Veterans conference in Arlington, Virginia, that… Read More »

Obesity and How It’s Related to VA Benefits

By: Ryan Spencer, Veterans Disability Benefits Attorney  Periodically, I have some veterans who would like to be service connected for obesity because of another service connected condition that prevents them from exercising. For example, being handicapped or having a bad back can substantially impede on the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle for most. Even… Read More »

Pros and Cons to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Ruling

By: Ryan Spencer, Veterans Disability Benefits Attorney VA published a final interim rule today regarding Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated Veterans, 82 FR 4173. The effective date for this rule is March 14th, 2017 and no earlier. To be eligible for benefits under this new ruling you must meet the below requirements. Valid discharge for Veterans… Read More »

What Veterans Should Know About Special Monthly Compensation

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a disability benefit available to certain veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents. Eligible veterans receive a higher rate of compensation for their disability due to special circumstances, such as the need for another person to aid and attend them, or the nature of their disability, such as the loss… Read More »