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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 26, 2015 – Richard Griffin, the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), stepped down from his post on July 4 after facing criticism from whistleblowers and members of Congress for doing little to uncover fraud in the agency and interfering in investigations to protect VA leadership. He was appointed deputy inspector general in 2008 and has served as the acting director of the department since January 2014. Although in his retirement announcement Griffin lauded the office’s “outstanding achievements,” critics in recent years have accused him of not holding VA […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 19, 2015 – The number of veterans on health care waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was a year ago when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was battling a scandal over falsified records and long wait times, according to VA officials. The agency is also facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion. According to the VA, health care costs have risen due to increased demand by veterans for new hepatitis C treatments and prosthetic limbs, as well as programs for sending patients to doctors outside […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 10, 2015 – Ending years of contention between Air Force veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency on June 19 agreed to provide millions of dollars in disability benefits to former service personnel who might have been exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on aircraft used in the Vietnam War. Veterans who flew contaminated C-123 airplanes after they were used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 to spray Agent Orange are now allowed to seek medical care and file for financial compensation with disability claims for illnesses related to […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 16, 2015 – Women who have served in the military commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of women who have not, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among these, female veterans ages 18 to 29 are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts. Studies show over 2,500 women who served in the military have committed suicide in the past 11 years. Jim Fausone, a veterans attorney in Michigan, said, “Such high veteran suicide rates are unacceptable. Most research has focused on men and […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 29, 2015 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee voted on April 30, 2015, to step up its probe into allegations of mishandling of veterans’ claims at the VA’s Philadelphia office. In a sign of dwindling patience with the department, the committee voted to issue a subpoena of VA records for just the third time in its history. The committee has since December, 2014, repeatedly requested personnel and complaint records from the Philadelphia office with limited results. James G. Fausone, an attorney with Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan, said the vote was an […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2015 – The Obama administration’s nominee for undersecretary of health at the Department of Veterans Affairs did not mince words at his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee. “The VA needs change,” Dr. David Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, acknowledging a host of problems at the agency in recent years, including lengthy wait times for veterans, lack of accountability, and ballooning construction costs. He said the agency needed “more doctors, more nurses, and greater efficiency from its current systems.” James G. Fausone, an attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2015 – Revelation over limited firings for long wait times triggers congressional ire, legislation. When a nationwide scandal over manipulated wait times at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals rocked the agency last spring, the controversy resulted in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and calls for reform. And Robert A. McDonald, Shinseki’s successor as VA chief, followed up with the announcement in February that the department had fired 60 people in the wake of the scandal. The VA quickly corrected that figure, saying that only 14 employees lost their jobs and lesser […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) JUne 5, 2015 – A veteran fatally shot himself inside the parking lot of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Phoenix Regional Office in Phoenix, Arizona on May 10. A gun was found next to the body of Thomas Murphy, 53, who left behind a suicide note. According to a Fox News report, he was attempting to highlight the lack of care for suicidal veterans and display his frustration with the system. Jim Fausone, a veterans attorney in Michigan, said, “Such tragedies underline the gaps in care that many veterans are struggling with. We need […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 30, 2015 – Although long-term care insurance is beneficial for some people, purchasing such a policy also has notable downsides, including the high cost of premiums and the limitations on coverage. “People are living longer than ever and using long-term care for longer periods of time than in the past. So long-term care insurance has become very expensive, and the benefits are often inadequate,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, a firm located in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. Nursing home care can be prohibitively expensive, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 23, 2015 – Many Americans purchase long-term care insurance to ensure that if they come to need nursing home or other long-term care, they will be able to afford it. Because long-term care insurance offers no active use until a health crisis develops, it is important for policyholders to stay on top of payments and to be aware of any changes to the policy. “In the months leading up to a real need for long-term care, seniors’ changes in health or mental state can sometimes lead them to fall behind on their insurance […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 17, 2015 – Photographs depict patient as elf who begs for tranquilizers, tries to commit suicide. Following a scandal-plagued 2014 that saw its chief’s resignation, the Department of Veterans Affairs was probably looking forward to a less tumultuous first quarter of the new year. But unflattering news followed the VA into March, when news surfaced of a VA hospital manager’s suspension over a December 18 email. The holiday missive contained photographs of several questionable scenes, including one that depicted a toy Christmas elf as a patient pleading for tranquilizers and another showing the toy […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2015 – During retirement, seniors are typically operating on a much tighter budget than they were during their working years. This is especially the case when major life events, such as an early retirement or a health problem, have made finances tighter. Downsizing can be an important strategy for making retirement funds stretch farther, and there are a number of different methods. “It is important for seniors to evaluate their particular financial situation in order to make smart decisions about what should stay and what should be altered,” said Andrew H. Hook, […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 9, 2015 – Divorce is notably less prevalent now than it was 20 to 30 years ago. The percentage of lasting marriages has been rising in the general population of the United States, particularly among couples who have wed since the 1990s. And on March 4, the Defense Department announced that military divorces, too, have become less common. In 2014, the number of such breakups dropped to their lowest point since 2005. The Pentagon reported that 3.1 percent of married officers and enlisted service members had divorced by the end of 2014 – a […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 2, 2015 – A woman from the Richmond area was recently ordered to pay spousal support to her husband, a man who had attacked her with a hammer and who was later convicted of a felony. Her experience prompted a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that suggested prohibiting courts from awarding alimony to a spouse who has been convicted of domestic violence. But that measure died in a House of Delegates committee on February 10. Del. Christopher Peace, R-Mechanicsville, sponsored House Bill 2105, which died in the House Courts of Justice Committee. […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 16, 2015 – As seniors age and develop health problems, changes to living spaces and new strategies for performing day-to-day tasks can facilitate aging in place. A project called Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) sought to prove the effectiveness of these strategies in keeping seniors at home. “Often, small changes to seniors’ current living situations can allow them to stay at home for months or years longer, even if they are facing a new health problem,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 13, 2015 – Reformed suicide-specific programs and services at VA will focus the department on mental health. On February 12, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a measure designed to combat a longstanding, serious problem in the United States. The president’s signature quickly followed unanimous support for the legislation in both the House and Senate earlier in the month. The new law was named in honor of Clay Hunt, a Marine from Texas whose combat service overseas was followed by a long struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder after […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 9, 2015 – Women face a unique set of issues when preparing to retire, and their differences should be taken into account during retirement planning. “Women typically live longer than men, but they tend to have less money to work with in retirement,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia estate planning attorney with Hook Law Center, which has offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. “However, there are some steps that women can take to help ensure that their resources last through their retirement.” On average, a woman earns 77 cents on every […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 3, 2015 – People who care for their aging parents or other relatives from a distance must overcome additional obstacles that require careful planning. “Caregiving can take many forms, and children who act as caregivers from another city or state often face high expenses and difficulty knowing when to intervene, on top of the usual burdens of caregiving,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center. Increasingly, children who live hours away from their parents take on the responsibility of making health care and housing decisions for their […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 26, 2015 – When a parent becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to manage his or her own finances, a child or other caregiver needs to step in to pay bills and manage money and costs. Taking over a parent’s finances can be difficult, especially in the midst of the other challenges that families face during a loved one’s illness. “If you are taking over your parent’s finances, a systematic, structured approach to gathering information is a great starting point,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 23, 2015 – MSNBC has released a report revealing that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied medical malpractice claims from more than 60 veterans even after admitting that it had wrongly exposed them to life-threatening infections. Legal professionals and veterans alike say that the report is unsurprising. “VA denies meritorious claims on a regular basis, and this is a striking example of that practice,” commented Jim Fausone, a veterans disability attorney not involved with any of the infection claims. Fausone is a leading member of the Michigan law firm Legal Help for […]


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