VA Now Covers Veterans Disability Claims for Five Conditions Sourced to TBI
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 31, 2014 - Beginning January 2014, veterans are covered for five illnesses tied to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Veterans will now find it easier to obtain health care and compensation for five illnesses linked to traumatic brain injury. On December 16, 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decided to loosen its previously restrictive eligibility policy on providing and covering care for the conditions. The new, more inclusive regulations took effect on January 16.
Under previous regulations, veterans who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, dementia, hormone deficiencies related to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands, depression and unprovoked seizures had to provide medical evidence that their conditions were due to their military service in order to secure veterans’ benefits.
But a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, called “Gulf War and Health, Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury,” detailed a direct correlation between TBI and the five diagnosable conditions. The compelling findings from the study were enough to sway the VA to alter its policy on disability compensation.
When the new rules came into force, the claims process could be expedited for thousands of veterans who have the five conditions: in most cases, the VA will no longer question that any of the illnesses were triggered by TBI. Exceptions will apply only in cases where a veteran’s TBI is deemed less than moderate or severe in nature.
Since 2000, more than 287,000 U.S. active-duty service members and veterans have been diagnosed with some sort of traumatic brain injury. And approximately 62,000 cases of veterans with TBI have been recorded since the inception of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The consequences of TBI can be wide-ranging. They include a variety of functional short- and long-term changes that impact: memory and reasoning capacity; sensations that include touch, taste and smell; language skills, including communication, expression and comprehension; and emotions such as anxiety, depression, aggression, swings in personality, acting-out impulses and social inappropriateness.
In addition, TBI can trigger epilepsy, and it raises the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other aging-related disorders of the brain.
It is estimated that at least 51,000 veterans receive benefits for traumatic brain injuries traced to their service in the armed forces. Not all cases of TBI are related to military service, as from exposure to explosions of land mines or bombs — many are due to injuries from vehicle crashes, training accidents or sports activities.
Judging by the more inclusive rules, as well as comments from key VA officials, the number of veterans expected to file for TBI-sourced disability claims is now likely to rise.
“We decide veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “As scientific knowledge advances, VA will expand its programs to ensure veterans receive the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800
- Veterans face chances of PTS recurring years after combat
New research sheds light on the lingering effects that post-traumatic stress (PTS) can have on veterans long after they have returned home from deployment. A study of 1,007 Dutch soldiers has found that PTS symptoms among Afghanistan veterans spiked in the six months immediately after their return and resurfaced with greater severity five years later. […]
- Survey shows thousands of wounded veterans struggle with PTS and TBI
More than 75 percent of wounded veterans are battling post-traumatic stress (PTS), according to the Wounded Warrior Project’s 2015 Alumni Survey. PTS and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are two of the biggest mental health issues facing veterans today. The organization estimates that over 400,000 veterans suffer from PTS while around 320,000 are dealing with TBI. […]
- Vietnam veterans with PTS are at a higher risk of death
Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS) have a twofold higher average death rate than those without the disorder. New research suggests that warzone trauma may still negatively impact veterans’ health more than three decades after the Vietnam War. A study by Abt Associates and the Cohen Veterans Center at New York University Langone Medical Center […]
- Thousands of Veterans Compensation Claim Files Handled Improperly
Kristina Derro, Esq. Veteran Advocate The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) recently began to scan and digitally store the multitude of documents received from veterans during the claims process in order to increase efficiency and reduce paper waste. On its face, this idea of a paperless claims process seems to be one of those rare instances […]