Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Veterans Disability Benefits Archives

SNAP -that was easy!

One of the biggest struggles for those filing for disability and without income is how do I feed myself and my family and how do I pay my bills. There is help for food services if you meet the income requirements. The food stamp program is now called SNAP which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP's purpose is to help with nutrition by providing monthly benefits to eligible low income households with the means to buy the food they need for good health.

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.

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 - 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. 

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.

Agent Orange Effects Seen in Grandchildren of Vietnam War Veterans

Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans are being born with birth defects and heart problems that could be connected to exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a powerful poison sprayed by the military to wipe out vegetation, particularly in Vietnam during the war. The military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to deny the enemy food sources and cover.

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.

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