Recent Blog Posts

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 »

Dr. David Shulkin, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs

VA Secretary Shulkin Proposes “Choice 2.0”

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 »

Should the Veterans Choice Act Be Extended?

The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act was considered controversial when it was passed in 2014 and has remained so during its implementation. This year, a key facet of the act, portability for veterans’ health benefits under the Choice program, is set to expire. The question is now whether Congress and… 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 »

Phil Roe, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Who Is Phil Roe, the New House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman?

In December, it was announced that Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee would replace Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida as chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Roe is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Medical Corps from 1973 to 1974, including nine months near the demilitarized zone in Korea and three months at… Read More »

What Changes to Expect at the VA Under the Trump Administration

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made reform of the VA a significant part of his stump speech, vowing to “make the VA great again.” His talking points emphasized the need for change in three key areas: Reducing wait time and raising the quality of care Holding bad actors within the VA system accountable Modernizing… 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 »

VA Dentist May Have Exposed 600 Veterans to HIV Infection Risk

Almost 600 veterans who got dental care at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin may need to be tested for exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C because the dentist who treated them failed to use sterile, disposable instruments during routine exams, as per VA rules. Victoria Brahm, the center’s acting director, explained… Read More »

Our Firm Looks Back on a Successful 2016

The year 2016 featured surprises on many fronts. The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than 100 years and a billionaire real estate developer with no political experience won the White House.  However, at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, events were more predictable. We knew going in that reforms to the Department… Read More »

On the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Inspiring Veterans Make Us Pause to Remember

  It was 75 years ago today that a Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor plunged our nation into World War II. At 7:55 a.m. local time on that fateful day, the two-hour assault began. When it was over, more than 2,400 military personnel and civilians had lost their lives, more… Read More »