Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

veterans' issues Archives

VA BACKLOG EXPANDS AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the VA suspended in person compensation and pension examinations (C&Ps). There were more than 230,000 C&Ps scheduled which were suspended pending the pandemic. Lawmakers frrm the House met on May 27, 2020 to discuss the growing problem. However, no one from the VA attended the meeting.

VA CONTINUES TO DENY AGENT ORANGE AND OTHER TOXIN EXPOSURE ON GUAM

Previously, this blog discussed a study, from the National Veterans Legal Services Program and Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, which showed that Veterans who served in Guam from 1962 to 1975 were likely exposed to toxins, including Agent Orange. Many Veterans who have served in Guam have asked for VA benefits due to their exposure to Agent Orange and other toxins. However, the VA has been reluctant to acknowledge those claims.

VA Currently Lacks Adequate Medical Protective Gear for Possible 2nd Wave of COVID-19

Recent reports have revealed that the VA healthcare system currently lacks the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for its medical staff and healthcare workers should a second wave of COVID-19 cases impact the United States. During the peak of the pandemic the VA's 170 medical centers used 250,000 N95 masks on a daily basis, using almost 2 million N95 masks per week.

VA to Reopen Facilities in Three Stage Plan

The VA has rolled out a three-part plan to reopen VA healthcare facilities and Regional Offices in the coming months. The three-stage plan is subject to new spikes in COVID cases and local restrictions that may delay the reopening plan, but VA is hopeful they will be able to move forward with this plan without delay. VA's new plan has three major stages for reopening:

IMPROVED ACCESS FOR TELEHEALTH OPTIONS

During this time of uncertainty, with limited office hours and social distancing precautions, receiving medical treatment can be very difficult. The difficulty is especially felt by Veterans who have already been dealing with long wait times and overburdened VA medical facilities. For that reason, more and more Veterans are turning to telehealth appointments as an efficient and more convenient way of speaking with their physician. Tricare has now begun offering insurance coverage for telehealth visits by telephone and has eliminated patient co-pays and cost shares for telehealth options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VETERANS WHO SERVED IN GUAM EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE AND OTHER TOXINS

While many Veterans who have served in Guam have asked for VA benefits due to their exposure to Agent Orange and other toxins, the VA has been reluctant to acknowledge those claims. In November of 2018, a Government Accountability Office Report was released and the Department of Defense ("DOD") updated its list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the United States military. However, Guam still was not added on that list.

Collection of VA Debts During COVID-19

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act required the Education Department and Treasury Department to pause debt collection for those type of debts owed to the Federal government. However, the Act did not do the same for those who owe a debt to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

ADVOCACY GROUPS PUSHING FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS FOR NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS ACTIVATED DUE TO COVID-19

National Guard troops may be activated on federal orders, commonly known as Title 32. Under 32 U.S.C., a state's governor is authorized or directed by the President of the United States to mobilize or activate the National Guard. The duties are performed under state control, but with pay and benefits provided by the Federal Government. This means that National Guard troops may be entitled to federal benefits, such as financial aid, health care, retirement points, education benefits, and possibly death gratuity.

New Law Protects Student Veterans During COVID-19

President Trump signed the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act on April 28. This new law is aimed at protecting educational benefits of those Veterans currently enrolled in school or vocational rehabilitation. There are three main ways the new law should positively impact Student Veterans:

IRS SETS MAY 5, 2020 DEADLINE FOR VETERANS REGARDING THE STIMULUS BENEFIT

Veterans receiving disability compensation who do not earn enough income to file tax returns annually have until May 5, 2020 to apply for the Coronavirus stimulus benefit. Many of these Veterans do not have direct deposit information on file with the IRS and so the IRS has requested that these Veteran's apply for the benefits directly by May 5, 2020. The IRS is also requesting information from these Veterans regarding dependents to determine if those veterans are entitled to the additional $500 payment per dependent, in addition to the $1,200 individual stimulus payment.

Email Us For A Response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Firm Contact Information:

1015 Montlimar Drive, Suite B4
Mobile, AL 36609

Map & Directions

Phone: 251-243-7872
Toll Free: 877-539-1739
Fax: 251-342-3747

Mississippi: 228-435-4000
Florida: 850-458-1226