Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

veterans' issues Archives

In addition to VA benefits, veterans eligible for SSD benefits

Our city, Mobile, Alabama, is home to a significant population that served in the United States military. Some of those veterans sustained injuries while on active duty, which developed into a disabling condition in due course. Those veterans may know that in addition to the benefits offered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, they are eligible for Social Security disability benefits provided their injuries meet the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration.

CAVC Defines "Substantial Gainful Employment"

On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims issued a decision in Rey v. Wilkie to define substantial gainful employment (SGA). This is a relevant case for anyone who has a pending Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) claim. Previously, the Board of Veterans Appeals did not have a definition of the term SGA, and therefore, it was impossible to know if the veteran was actually able to perform SGA.

Current Status of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Procopio Decision

On January 29, 2019, a 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned past court opinions and stated that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants merely because those veterans served in the waters off the coastline of Vietnam and not inland. This is a major victory for "blue water" Navy veterans who have fought for years over these denials.

Benefits for veterans affected by Agent Orange

Veterans here in Alabama are well aware that during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange, a defoliating agent, to clear vegetation from enemy territory. In addition, it was possible for some veterans to have contacted this dangerous chemical outside of Vietnam and Korea, in particular in bases in Thailand or while working with planes used to transport the chemical. Unfortunately, at that time the military was unaware of the various harmful effects of Agent Orange on all those who were exposed to it.

VA Disability for burn pit exposure

Although they are not readily awarded and difficult to obtain, veterans' disability benefits are available for burn pit exposure. However, there must be concrete evidence to show that the issues a veteran is experiencing are the direct result of the exposure to a burn pit that contained toxic substances.

3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit

The Minnesota-based 3M Company, a defense contractor, sold its dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to the military without disclosing defects that decreased the effectiveness of the hearing protection. 3M violated the False Claims Act by selling or causing to be sold defective 3M ear plugs to the U.S. military. 3M decided to settle in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle. These defective earplugs were standard-issue for U.S. military members from 2003 to 2015. The defective ear plugs may have caused significant hearing loss or tinnitus in military Veterans.

War related injuries series: Hearing and vision loss

In this post, we would like to discuss hearing and vision loss among military service members. Hearing loss and tinnitus are especially prevalent among members of the military due to time spent around loud noises, such as gunfire or explosions. Vision loss can be related to injuries from shrapnel, or other medical conditions.

VA Must Pay Disability Benefits to "Blue Water" Vietnam Veterans

On January 29, 2019, a 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned past court opinions and stated that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants merely because those veterans served in the waters off the coastline of Vietnam and not inland. This is a major victory for "blue water" Navy veterans who have fought for years over these denials.

War-related injuries series: Traumatic brain injury

In the second post of our war-related injuries series we would like to highlight traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These have been noted as the "significant injury" of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Approximately 350,000 TBI diagnoses have been made among military members since 2000. A range of 11-23% of those were among individuals who were deployed.

War-related injuries series: Ankle and foot

Welcome you to the first post in our new war-related injuries series. In this series, we will take a closer look at a few of the common injuries soldiers in post-combat deal with on an everyday basis. Upon returning home, our veterans then find themselves in a new war - one to obtain both VA and Social Security disability benefits.

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