Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Veterans Disability Benefits Archives

VA Using Technology to Speed Mail Processing Times

The Veterans Benefits Administration ("VBA") has long been known for inefficiency and delay in their processing of claims, appeals, and correspondence from Veterans. VBA currently processes mail manually when it is submitted to VA for association with claims and appeals files. However, now VBA is beginning to use Artificial Intelligence to sort mail more quickly and have it associated with claims more efficiently.

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.

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.

HONORING THOSE WHO GAVE ALL WHILE SERVING OUR COUNTRY

Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave all while serving our country. We remember those who served and who gave their last full measure of devotion to ensure that the freedom this country offers to all, would be passed on to future generations.

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