» David Magann

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 20, 2016 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet unanimously appointed Glenn Sutphin as executive director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs on August 2. His appointment is subject to Senate approval. Sutphin’s appointment was expected as he was the top choice for the post. The retired Army lieutenant colonel was the sole candidate interviewed out of 310 applicants. Sutphin, 67, has served as the department’s interim executive director since April. Mike Prendergast, the previous head, resigned to run for Citrus County sheriff. “The appointment of a permanent executive director will provide […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 31, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has admitted that around 24,000 veterans were improperly screened and given a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis by VA doctors deemed unqualified to conduct such examinations under departmental policy. As a result, some veterans diagnosed with TBI between 2007 and 2015 did not receive disability benefits. VA officials told Congress in July that the department is reviewing the cases concerning veterans who underwent incorrect exams and trying to settle their disability claims. Officials announced the VA sent letters offering re-examinations to the affected veterans. “It […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 13, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has rejected around 90 percent of benefits claims filed by veterans who participated in secret mustard gas tests during World War II. The VA received 1,213 disability claims related to the exposure from 792 veterans between 2005 and 2015. According to a yearlong Senate investigation, the agency denied 1,028 of those claims. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri released the findings along with the Arla Harrell Act, a bill that expedites VA benefits for victims. She criticized the government for mistreating testing victims and failing to […]


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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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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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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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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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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 10, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on Aug. 24 that it has slashed its backlog of veterans’ claims for disability coverage by 84 percent from a high of more than 611,000 claims in 2013. VA officials have used a combination of paperless processing techniques, updated software systems and mandatory overtime by benefits department employees to reduce the numbers. Currently, around 98,500 of more than 362,000 pending claims in the Veterans Benefits Administration are awaiting processing. The average processing time for a case has dropped from 282 days to around 105 […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 5, 2015 – A new report shows that although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has improved its processing of veterans’ benefits claims overall, the office that processes disability cases for Florida has failed to handle claims properly. The VA regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida, is either overpaying or shortchanging the state’s veterans in some cases. The St. Petersburg office processes disability claims for all of Florida. The report was part of the inspector general’s ongoing review of regional offices throughout the United States. “In recent years, the VA has been experiencing high […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 25, 2015 – The House passed legislation on July 28 to speed up federal payments to veterans who have complex benefits claims and to raise the benefits compensation rate for disabled veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to pay benefits to veterans as parts of their claim are processed instead of waiting until the entire case is finished. According to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), the typical benefits claim for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans is made up of eight components. She said the measure would “allow veterans […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2014 – A bipartisan bill that will allocate $16.2 billion to improvements to veterans’ health care was passed overwhelmingly by Congress and has been signed into law by President Obama. The deal is designed to reduce wait times and increase the number of doctors and nurses, among other changes. The bulk of the money, Veterans Affairs’ $10 billion, will go towards emergency spending to allow veterans who can’t get appointments with VA doctors to get care from outside physicians. $5 billion has been allocated to hiring medical staff, and the rest will be […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 21, 2014 – Veterans, especially vets with PTSD, are much more likely to overuse drugs than the general public. Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug regularly, and more than 50 percent are on at least two prescriptions. Multiple prescription drug use in the United States is fairly common, as 20 percent of Americans take five or more prescribed medications. Researchers have routinely noted that antidepressants and painkillers are among the most common prescriptions written, and both classes of medication hold risks and potentially serious side effects. Among veterans, particularly […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2014 – Unless changes are made, the Social Security disability fund will run out of money by end of 2016. Capitol Hill’s notorious procrastination could soon impact millions of Americans receiving Social Security disability payments. Within the next three years, Congress must come up with a plan to keep the program financially afloat. And given federal lawmakers’ proclivity for adopting short-term fixes at the eleventh hour, disabled workers may have to wait for a significant period before even finding about any stopgap measure that Congress passes. As it stands, the trust fund for […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 15, 2014 – Lawmakers are desperate to put a dent in the national deficit. On Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans are searching for potential areas to cut spending or increase revenue. One such idea has Social Security disability advocates particularly uneasy.  Under the proposal, those who collect unemployment benefits would become ineligible for disability payments. While the federal budget deficit has narrowed a bit this February (compared to the same month last year), it still stands at $193.5 billion. The suggestion to eliminate disability payments to those who collect unemployment benefits appeared in […]


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