Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

veterans' issues Archives

Appeal process for VA decisions made before Feb. 19, 2019

Last week, a post on this blog discussed how an applicant can appeal a disability decision made by the Department of Veterans' affairs on or after February 19, 2019. The earlier appeal process will continue for decisions made before February 19, 2019. As there may be many people in Alabama, and elsewhere, who had their claims disallowed before February 19, 2019, it will be prudent to discuss the old appeal process as well since those applicants have one year to file an appeal against their decision.

Lawsuit Filed Against VA Secretary Over Blue Water Benefits Delays

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.

Changes to the VA disability review process (Feb. 2019 update)

There are many veterans in an around Mobile, Alabama who have had their U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs disability claims either outright rejected or granted but with lesser benefits that one ought to have received. In either case, the applicants have the right to appeal the VA's decision, either themselves or with the help of a representative such as a claim agent, a veteran's service officer or an attorney.

Employment Questionnaire for Recipients of Individual Unemployability

In 2019, the Veterans Administration started a new process for determining continuing eligibility for total disability based on individual unemployability ("IU").  Under the old system, VA would send you a VA Form 21-4140, Employment Questionnaire, yearly.  If a response was not received within 30 days, VA would propose to discontinue IU. 

Is Your VA Rating for Hypertension Based on Successful Control with Hypertension Medication?

Hypertension is described as high arterial blood pressure.  It is present if the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 90 or more and systolic pressure (top number) is 140 or more, or if both are present.  It has to be confirmed by readings taken two of more times on at least three different days. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act signed into law

During the Vietnam War, many American navy men were exposed to a chemical herbicide called Agent Orange. The ill-effects of this defoliating agent led many veterans to suffer from some very serious illnesses. While the VA did accommodate some of those affected veterans for expedited benefits, there remained a large number of navy men who were not included owing to the fact that they served off the coast of Vietnam without actually setting foot on shore. A recent development is about to change that.

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act - June 2019 UPDATE

On June 12, 2019, Congress passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.  The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.  The bill comes in large response to a major victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier this year.  This bill would extend presumptive benefits to "Blue Water" veterans who served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam.  The bill also covers veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971, as well as children born to veterans who served in Thailand between January 1962 and May 1975 who have spina bifida. 

Answers to some common questions about VA compensation

Many people living in Mobile, Alabama and its surrounding areas today served in a branch of the United States military at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, several of them sustained a disabling injury during the course of their service. Those veterans would be aware of the disability benefits that are offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and also the basis on which those benefits are offered.

Asbestos Exposure, Mesothelioma, and the Effect on Veterans

Veterans who served in any branch of the US military between the 1930s and 1990s are at risk of having been exposed to asbestos during their period of service and could be entitled to disability benefits from VA. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos in-service and have since developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, or other respiratory illnesses may apply for disability benefits from VA for these conditions. Most Americans have heard of asbestos or mesothelioma, but many of us do not know what the conditions are or who is affected by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with valuable traits such as fire resistance, fire proofing capabilities, and insulating qualities. These qualities made asbestos perfect for use in the construction of ships, tanks, trucks, aircraft, and even barracks and other military structures in use from the 1930s until the 1990s. All branches of the US military used asbestos widely from 1935-1975 and continued use of structures, vehicles, and vessels with asbestos into the 1990s. When asbestos breaks apart, they release fibers into the air that, when inhaled, can cause mesothelioma and other respiratory problems.

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