» Veterans Law

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in May announced its purchase of 20 ReWalk exoskeleton systems for a national clinical trial. The multicenter trial is the country’s first-ever study to evaluate the impact of daily exoskeleton use in an everyday setting. The first phase of the trial will be held in VA medical centers in Florida, California, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia. It will consist of 160 eligible participants who will be enrolled later this year. The six medical centers have already received ReWalk systems for training purposes. “The ReWalk device has […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 14, 2016 – Lawmakers have announced the Veterans First Act in an effort to create a culture of accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and improve services for veterans. The sweeping measure combines various legislation to make the VA more accountable by changing employment policies, making it easier to hire and fire senior executives, blocking bonuses for problem employees and allowing any VA employee accused of wrongdoing to be fired more quickly. The bill will also enhance whistleblower protection. “This legislation will help change the current corrosive culture at the VA by […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 7, 2016 – Senators have unanimously confirmed Michael Missal as the permanent top watchdog for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). President Barack Obama nominated the Washington lawyer to head the VA Inspector General’s office in October. However, Missal was not approved for the key position until after a confirmation process that lasted over six months. His nomination was stalled due to several unrelated VA concerns. “The search is finally over. A permanent inspector general to oversee the VA has long been overdue,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Hopefully Michael Missal will […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 19, 2016 – Police are investigating after vandals damaged part of a war memorial at Veterans Memorial Park near Gainesville, Florida. They smashed a pillar commemorating members of the U.S. military who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The monument is part of the Walk Through Time veterans memorial honoring those who were killed during various conflicts throughout history. It starts with the American Revolution and ends with the now-damaged pillar dedicated to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Each brick stacked atop the pillars […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 13, 2016 – An Office of Inspector General (OIG) report has revealed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been systematically destroying documents related to veterans’ disability compensation claims. VA investigators performed spot checks at 10 veterans benefits offices across the nation. They went through around 438,000 documents that were put in bins for shredding at the regional offices. According to the report, staff were found to be destroying claims-related mail at six regional offices. There are a total of 56 VA regional offices. “The findings of the inspector general’s report should not […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 6, 2016 – Veterans groups are petitioning the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer health benefits to service members who received bad paper discharges. A new report shows the VA is wrongfully denying benefits to around 125,000 post-9/11 veterans. The joint report was released on March 30 by veterans groups Swords to Plowshares and the National Veterans Legal Services Program, along with Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic. The veterans have been ruled as ineligible for various benefits because they left the military with other than honorable discharges. “Thousands of veterans are […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 27, 2016 – The Florida Legislature on February 24 unanimously passed a bill that will grant disabled veterans free parking at all public airports across Florida. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Ken Roberson, R-Punta Gorda, and Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice. Under the measure, publicly owned or operated airports in the state will be barred from charging disabled veterans for parking. However, individuals must have a disabled veteran license plate in order to be eligible. Earlier, veterans would only qualify for free parking if their cars were specially equipped with wheelchair lifts, ramps or […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 26, 2016 – Two Michigan lawmakers are planning to launch a nonprofit organization that will raise awareness and resources to benefit veterans. State Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, and state Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, announced the formation of the Michigan Veterans Institute on March 2. They are collaborating on the project in an effort to help veterans gain access to health care and job opportunities, among other necessities. “An organization that champions veterans’ causes and gives them a voice is a step in the right direction,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Veterans need […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 4, 2016 – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder named his chief legal counsel James Robert Redford as the interim director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency after an audit uncovered problems at a state-run nursing home for veterans. He replaced Jeff Barnes, who resigned after having led the agency since its inception in 2013. The Michigan Office of the Auditor General released a highly critical report that concluded the agency failed to ensure adequate care for Grand Rapids Home for Veterans residents. The audit evaluated the home’s performance between October 2013 and August 2015. Among the […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 15, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs has requested around $78.7 billion in discretionary funding as part of President Barack Obama’s proposed $4.1 trillion federal budget for 2017. The VA’s discretionary spending would receive a nearly 5 percent boost to tackle outstanding health care claims from veterans, among other objectives. According to the proposal unveiled on February 9, the spending plan also includes more than $102.5 billion for mandatory VA programs such as disability compensation. The budget has doubled since 2009 when Obama was sworn in. “The proposed budget increase provides an opportunity to […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 14, 2015 – A Florida Hospital Association survey has found that 95 percent of its member hospitals are waiting for around $134 million in outstanding payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The 30,000 outstanding claims are for medical services the state’s hospitals provided to veterans who faced long wait times at VA health care facilities or lived too far away from them. According to the association, around 6,000 of the unpaid claims have been delayed for over two years. In October 2015, VA Secretary Robert McDonald received a letter from 12 Florida Congress […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 8, 2016 – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald unveiled a 12-point plan of breakthrough priorities for his department in 2016 before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in January. The list of goals included updating the VA website, modernizing hotlines, improving veterans’ health care access, reducing the disability claims backlogs, increasing employee training and tackling veteran homelessness. Four priorities focused on department needs while the other eight specifically served veterans. However, McDonald emphasized the ultimate outcome of all 12 aims would be to provide veterans with timely care and prompt benefits. “The VA […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 23, 2016 – The government is changing its rules about confirming veteran deaths after acknowledging that 115 veterans were wrongly declared dead over the past year and a half. Their benefit payments were terminated even though they were still alive. Under the new policy, the Department of Veterans Affairs will send a letter to the address of those veterans that officials think are deceased. A surviving family member will then have 30 days to confirm the death. The VA will only terminate benefit payments if they do not hear from the family or the […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 17, 2016 – A yearlong investigation has uncovered thousands of privacy violations at Department of Veterans Affairs-run medical facilities, clinics and benefit centers across the country. According to ProPublica’s analysis of VA data, over 10,000 breaches have occurred since 2011. The majority of privacy incidents were inadvertent, such as medical records left in waiting rooms or documents sent to the wrong individuals. However, a number of errors involved employees intentionally snooping or stealing veterans’ personal information. The highest number of privacy violations — at least 370 over the past five years — was recorded […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 18, 2016 – The approval rate for disability claims arising from Camp Lejeune-related illnesses has fallen by two-thirds since the Department of Veterans Affairs introduced a third-party process to review veterans’ medical files. Veterans advocacy groups have filed a Freedom of Information request for details about the identities and qualifications of the experts in the VA program. “Veterans could benefit from greater transparency on the VA’s part. The agency should make public basic information about its personnel and the process they use to evaluate claims,” said David Magann, a Florida-based veterans attorney. Almost a million […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 14, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced new criteria on Dec. 1 to increase patient eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program. The change is expected to open the program to about 160,000 more veterans seeking health care at private hospitals and clinics closer to home. VA officials said staff have been granted more flexibility to evaluate eligibility. The changes are effective immediately. “The VA is taking a positive step toward consolidating care among different programs, increasing eligibility and improving its health care services after reports of long wait times at overwhelmed VA […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 7, 2016 – Veterans struggle with a number of challenges once they are hired by an employer and enter the civilian workforce, according to research by the Center for Talent Innovation. CTI is a New York-based nonprofit that advises companies on diversity. Earlier in 2015, CTI researchers surveyed 1,022 veterans working in full-time positions. They also conducted in-depth interviews with 40 others. Around a third of the surveyed veterans had a war-related injury or disability. The study found that many veterans felt unfulfilled, uninspired and alienated in corporate workplaces. Almost two-thirds of respondents said […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 30, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs and the government are likely to fall short of their goal of eliminating veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. According to a report released on Nov. 19, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates there were nearly 48,000 homeless veterans across the United States as of Jan. 2015. The number marks a 4 percent drop from 2014, but a decline of more than 27,000 people since 2010. Officials said that missing the goal should not take away from the significant progress that has been […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 22, 2015 – Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs, resigned on Oct. 16 after the department’s internal watchdog discovered flaws in the oversight of promotions involving senior executives. The VA Inspector General (IG) found that around 24 senior executives were promoted or given new positions within the department. However, many of their salary raises did not “consistently reflect changes in the positions’ scope of responsibility,” according to an IG statement. Hickey was facing a congressional inquiry into the accusations. Hickey stepped down despite the department’s 88 percent drop in […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2015 – Veterans had their surgeries cancelled or rescheduled after surgical equipment cases at the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System in Michigan were found to be contaminated. Healthcare System nurses discovered specks of “inorganic particulate matter” on cases that store sterile surgical equipment during a routine check in early November. Experts inspected the facility and determined that a water main break was responsible for the sediment on some of the cases. Since Nov. 23, the hospital has replaced some equipment, installed more filters in the water system and flushed the water lines. According […]


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