Schmitt & Coletta, P.C. - Veteran Attorneys Fighting For Veterans and Their Families
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Incresed Compensation for Back Injuries
Medicaid Expansion Helped Vets
NEW RULE
VA Lost Docs
VA Aid & Attendence Proposed Rule Chanes are Devastating

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Incresed Compensation for Back Injuries

The US Court of Appeals recently held that the Board of Veteran Appeals erred by relying on a C&P exam which only measured the current loss of  Range of Motion and did not ascertain the Loss of Motion during flare-ups of the back condition.

If you have an orthopedic injury, the amount of compensation depends upon your functional loss of range of motion. VA examiners routinely push you beyond your functional range of motion to lessen your compensation.  Now they at least have to estimate the degree of limitation during flare-ups.

Medicaid Expansion Helped Vets

The number of uninsured veterans in the U.S. declined by nearly 40% from 2013 to 2015, but that number could drop even more if more states opt to expand Medicaid, according to a
.

The Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the number of uninsured veterans ages 19-64 dropped from 980,000 in 2013 to 552,000 in 2015, according to a study published Wednesday.

The majority of the coverage gains occurred in states that decided to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

NEW RULE

New Rule:

You may now request another hearing before the Board of Veteran Appeals when you case is remanded!Cook v. Shulkin

The old case said there was but one administrative review by the Secretary which meant upon a remand either to the BVA or the Regional Office, you did not get another hearing to testify or submit evidenceat a hearing.

Under Cook, there is no limit the number of BVA hearings a Veteran may have after a remand.

Cases go up and down from the Board to the Court, Remanded back to the Board and sometimes remanded back to the Regional Office.

VA Lost Docs

VA has mailed a development letter to claimants and private representatives (where there is one) affected by an "application defect" that occurred when uploading documents on both the VA's eBenefits and Stakeholder Enterprise Portal (SEP) sites.  The defect resulted in users being incorrectly informed that documents were successfully uploaded, when in fact the documents may have been rejected.  These errors occurred from August 1, 2015 through December 21, 2015.

VA Aid & Attendence Proposed Rule Chanes are Devastating

On January 23, 2015, the Federal Register released Document No. 2015-00297. This document has caused quite a
stir in the elder care industry, and has climbed to the top of the “hot-button issues” list. If you’re not yet familiar with
the document, you’re likely wondering what could possibly cause such widespread interest. It’s an unexpected rule
proposal by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) regarding net worth determinations, asset transfers, and
income exclusions for Veterans pension benefit eligibility.

Mandatory New VA Forms Effective March24, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to make filing claims and appeals as fast and easy as possible. Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2015, claims and appeals must be filed using the appropriate form. Standardizing forms will ease frustration among claimants, make claims processing more efficient and help VA reach more accurate decisions.
There are three major actions that will require a specific form or standardized process: Intent to File, claims applications, and Notice of Disagreement.

Ten U.S. MIAs Announced as Accounted for From the Vietnam War

As reported March 12 by the National League of POW/MIA Families, since November 24, 2014, the following ten US personnel have been announced as accounted for: Capt. Richard D. Chorlins, USAF; LT Richard C. Clark, USNR; Col William E. Cooper, USAF; MSG James W. Holt,USA; CMSgt Edwin E. Morgan, USAF: SSG Warren E. Newton, USA: CW3 Larry Phipps, USA; SSG Bunyan D. Price, Jr., USA: CW3 Ranier S. Ramos, USA: and LTJG Neil B. Taylor, USNR.
The number of Americans now listed by DoD as returned and identified since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 954. Another 63 US personnel, recovered by the US and identified before the end of the war, bring the total of US personnel accounted for from the Vietnam War to 1,017.

New Social Security Ruling on Interstitial Cystitis

On March 18, the Social Security Administration published a ruling in the Federal Register for the evaluation of interstitial cystitis (IC) in adults and children. The new ruling, SSR 15-1p, rescinds and replaces prior SSR 02-2p for establishing IC as a medically determinable impairment (MDI) and determining disability. It takes into consideration descriptions of IC recently developed by the American Urological Association and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In the new SSR, the following evidence can establish the MDI of IC: a diagnosis of IC by an acceptable medical source who reviewed the claimant’s medical history and conducted a clinical examination; IC symptoms, as indicated in the AUA and NIDDK descriptions; and medical signs or laboratory findings.

The Problem with the VA Medical Centers

The tragedy at Phoenix Medical Center is partly the result of the executive bonus system  This bonus system encourages conduct like secret waiting lists. By hiding the true wait-list, the Medical Center Director was able to qualify for a $9000 yearly bonus.

This is not isolated to Phoenix. It is pervasive around the country. There has been Congressional testimony about how mangers manipulate data to qualify for bonuses. This bonus system is used throughout the Federal Government.  Perhaps it is time for Congress to eliminates bonuses  entirely!

Win Your Case With Affidavits

Many veterans   claims  are lost due to a lack of sufficient evidence to prove the effects their individual service connected disabilities impact their ability to perform work that produces wages above poverty wages.

Use affidavits from relatives and friends describing in detail the difficulty you have performing ANY activity. This puts the onus on the VA to show why these difficulties do not prevent substantial gainful employment. The submission of such lay evidence of the combined effects of multiple service connected disabilities provokes the VA to produce contrary evidence and without such evidence the Board of Veteran Appeals is unable to arbitrarily reject your lay evidence.
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