For many military veterans in Alabama, the benefits they receive are crucial to their finances. Particularly those who receive disability benefits, as they may have a limited ability to work and earn an income. Fortunately, each year Congress usually passes legislation to increase veterans' benefits with a cost-of-living adjustment. This year, according to reports, is no different.
With the recent anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks that changed the very nature of our country and, indeed, the world, it is important to remember that America has been on a "war footing" for over a decade now. Thousands of young men and women in our country are veterans who have been exposed to the traumatizing nature of war. Adjusting to post-service life for these veterans when their time in the service is over can be a significant issue.
Veterans in Alabama and throughout the country can face many different issues as they transition from active duty in the service to civilian life, particularly if they have health issues or disabilities from their time in the military. Fortunately, our government helps veterans in many respects, and it appears that newly introduced legislation aims to provide further support to those who have served in the military.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although unfortunate, it is a fact that many former military members from Alabama, and also the other parts of the country, suffered a disabling injury or illness while they were on active duty. Among those veterans, there are many whose total disability rating has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs as 100 percent permanent and total. Fortunately, veterans rated "100% P&T" by the VA are eligible for certain additional benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
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.
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.