Veterans Law | Law Firm Newswire

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 12, 2019 – A 1.6 percent cost-of-living benefits boost will be given to military retirees and veterans for 2020 and some may see the increase as soon as December. This amount is roughly half of the increase from last year. It will affect around 69 million people. Cost-of-living adjustments, or COLA for short, are calculated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) based on inflation and consumer spending over the months prior to the calculation. COLA varies widely from year to year. In 2016, no cost-of-living adjustment was made to benefits. In 2017 COLA was […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 5, 2019 – As the prevalence of social media and other online communication channels has grown in popularity over the last couple decades, so has the number and variety of scams that attempt to bilk unsuspecting victims out of their money. Anyone can be fooled by a scam; however, military service members and veterans are targeted by scammers more than the general public and they lose more money to scams than do other groups. A recent study from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) found that veterans who were successfully targeted lost an average of […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 21, 2019 – A panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ruled a veteran was entitled to full education benefits under both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills, subject to the cap on total benefits. The veteran served from January 2000 to June 2002 as an enlisted person in the Army. The veteran paid into the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). From July 2003 to about May 2004, he received MGIB benefits for his undergraduate studies. From June 2004 to December 2005, he served on active duty as a member […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 15, 2019 – A federal court recently ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs violated a law that requires it to approve claims for veteran’s emergency room fees not covered by private insurance. The VA may now be required to pay out billions of dollars in reimbursements to veterans. The case involved the VA’s own interpretation of VA policy regarding emergency room fees. The law intended to make the VA the secondary insurance payer for any private-emergency room expense left over after the primary insurance policy pays its portion. However, the VA was denying […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 8, 2019 – Veterans are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. The Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which provides housing vouchers to veterans who are persistently at-risk of homelessness, seeks to change that. Research shows that the program is very successful in doing so, however the recently negotiated 2020 federal budget does not include any increase in funding for HUD-VASH. HUD-VASH is a collaborative effort from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The first HUD-VASH vouchers were issued during the Clinton administration and the program […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 30, 2019 – The Department of Defense (DoD) processed almost $1 billion in improper travel payments in the last three years. The payments were made to members of the armed forces and to civilian employees of the department from 2016 to 2018, found an analysis from the Government Accountability Office. When something goes awry with the travel expense reimbursement process, it is considered an improper travel payment. For some that means no payment at all, for others it could be that the wrong amount was paid out. “Although the numbers are surprising, they are […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2019 – In March, officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said that they had enough evidence to link four new medical conditions to exposure to Agent Orange and that those diseases would be added to the Agent Orange presumptive benefits eligibility list by early summer. To the disappointment of thousands of veterans who could benefit from these additions, no such change has yet been made. The VA found that a link between exposure to Agent Orange, and other defoliant chemicals used during the Vietnam War era, and (i) hypertension, (ii) bladder […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 16, 2019 – A veterans advocacy organization filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over its decision to delay paying disability benefits claims to Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans until at least January 1, 2020. Lawmakers have also urged VA officials to lift a stay on processing the disability claims, calling for quicker action on the cases instead of waiting until next year. Military Veterans Advocacy (MVA) filed the lawsuit in the Federal Court of Appeals. The group called the stay “unlawful” and requested the court to compel the VA to begin […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 15, 2019 – Congress has passed the LEGION Act, which aims to increase the number of veterans who are eligible for membership in the American Legion. It is expected to be signed into law later this month. The LEGION Act, which stands for the Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service Act, will redefine eligibility periods used by the American Legion and allow hundreds of thousands of veterans who served during “peaceful” times between declared war eras. The American Legion eligibility period will now be from the bombing of Pearl Harbor through […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 7, 2019 – In a feasibility study report released by Congress last month, the Department of Defense has acknowledged that exposure to the burn pits sometimes used at military sites to dispose of waste can have dangerous health consequences. The report stopped short of closing the burn pits and ending the practice, however. Veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have had some significant health issues as a result of the toxic smoke and byproducts of the open fires. Waste management via burn pit is only allowed when there are no other options for […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 1, 2019 – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a measure that will expand the availability of alternative treatment options for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The bill was signed during a ceremony at the University of South Florida (USF) Office for Veteran Success on June 26. The measure, HB 501, won unanimous support from the Florida House and Senate during this year’s legislative session. It was sponsored by state Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, and backed by Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) Executive Director Danny Burgess. USF was […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 25, 2019 – A new report from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Inspector General found that more than 53,000 disabled veterans could possibly be owed a refund of fees they were incorrectly charged on previous VA home loans. The refunds could total nearly $189 million and are related to charges assessed in error between 2012 and 2017. In total, 73,000 veterans were incorrectly charged but 19,700 of them were already refunded. “What is most troubling about this is that VA officials knew for years that these refunds were owed to many veterans, yet the […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 23, 2019 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) owes refunds to thousands of disabled veterans who were erroneously charged fees when they applied for home loans. A watchdog investigation found that veterans who bought homes under the VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program could be owed up to $190 million. The VA Inspector General estimated that the agency charged over $280 million in incorrect fees out of around $10 billion collected from veterans from 2012 to 2017. The VA only refunded about $100 million, leaving 53,200 veterans still awaiting payments. The overpaid fees averaged $4,000 […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 18, 2019 – A United States Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that affects thousands of veteran’s disability claims appeals waiting for certification. This is the first time ever that the Court has allowed a class action lawsuit against the VA. When a veteran appeals a VA decision, they must fill out the Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals form, also known as a VA Form 9, as a first step. The VA then certifies that the form is completed and includes all required documentation, then the appeal moves on to the […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 3, 2019 – In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of “Blue Water” veterans. These former members of the Navy who served during the Vietnam War on ships and were exposed to Agent Orange and are now suffering with medical conditions as a result. Until now, they have been denied VA benefits because they were never on the ground in Vietnam. Many Blue Water vets have conditions that are related to Agent Orange exposure. There are currently seven types of cancer and seven other conditions linked to […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 26, 2019 – Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan announced in a memo that the Department of Defense has created the Sexual Assault Accountability and Investigation Task Force to investigate the pervasive issue of sexual assault in the military and to improve the processes surrounding it. Shanahan said that the task force was established out of necessity after the “unacceptable” results of the 2018 Report on Sexual Assault and Harassment in military academies. The task force intends to review policies and processes surrounding sexual assault and make recommendations on how to better them as […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 19, 2019 – According to data from the Pentagon, 71 percent of young people are ineligible for military service thanks to several complex social and physical issues, including obesity, criminal records or not graduating high school. This leaves the approximately 30 percent of young people who are qualified to be recruited by the military, colleges and potential employers. While this is good for them, it poses a potential threat to national security if the numbers continue to decline. “This is an issue that cannot be accepted at face value,” says James G. Fausone, lead […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2019 – A new law has expanded mental health coverage to other-than-honorably discharged veterans through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The VA has been accused of mishandling the implementation of the change and failing to effectively notify potentially eligible veterans. The new law is an expansion of a 2017 program which granted some other-than-honorable discharges access to acute mental health care services during a crisis. Eligible vets can now receive ongoing mental health care outside of a crisis situation. The VA had 180 days after the law went into effect in March 2018, […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 28, 2019 – A federal judicial panel has decided that more than 640 pending lawsuits accusing 3M Company of knowingly providing defective combat earplugs to the U.S. military will be consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. The earplugs allegedly caused hundreds of service members to suffer hearing problems. Veterans and other service members alleged that 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs had a defective design that failed to adequately protect their hearing during combat and weapons training. The flaw caused them to experience hearing loss and high-pitched ringing in the ears, a condition called […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2019 – Researchers have developed voice analysis software that can help identify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their speech. A recent study used an artificial intelligence (AI) program to analyze vocal characteristics such as rhythm and tone after training it on how to classify people based on speech examples. According to the findings, the AI could distinguish which individuals had PTSD and which did not with 89 percent accuracy. Researchers recorded hours-long speech samples from 53 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with PTSD linked to their service. They also interviewed 78 […]


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