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Online Reimbursement Form 

Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has initiated online form VA Form 10-3542 (Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses) as a simple way to apply for mileage reimbursement without standing in long lines at your local VAMC?  Contact your local VAMC Beneficiary Travel office for details as application process may differ from VA to VA.  Travel benefits are subject to a deductible.  Exceptions to the deductible requirement include travel for a compensation and pension examination and travel by an ambulance or a specially equipped van.











VA to Remove SSNs

Did you know a bipartisan Senate bill proposes removing Social Security numbers of U.S. veterans from all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) information systems within the next five years in an effort to reduce veteran identity theft?


The Veterans' Identity Theft Protection Act was introduced on June 16, 2016, by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and is co-sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.


The bill would require the VA, the nation's largest healthcare provider, to discontinue the use of Social Security numbers with new claims for benefits within two years, and for all other veterans whose data is already in VA systems within five years. The VA, however, would still be permitted to use Social Security numbers if it needs to exchange information with another system outside of the agency that requires the use of those identifiers.











Combined Ratings Table

Did you know VA disability ratings are not additive, meaning that if a veteran has one disability rated at 60% and a second disability rated at 20%, the combined rating is not 80%?  VA uses the Combined Ratings Table to calculate a multiple disability ratings.


The VA uses the Combined Ratings Table to compute the combined disability. The highest percentage to the lowest percentage is used. The highest minus 100% gives the "efficiency" for the highest degree of disability. Then the second is computed and so on to derive at a combined disability. The combined rating is then rounded up or down to the nearest 10%.


New Task Force Investigating for Remnants of Agent Orange
Did you know a new investigative task force will “review and record reports from the community” on the use of polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, DDT and Agent Orange on Guam?  According to a recent news release.


The task force will reach out to the community, review records and compile recent research data,  and will attempt "to correlate these environmental pollutants with an array of congenital health problems that plague the island of Guam.


Recent reports of use of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange at Andersen Air Force Base during the 1960s and 1970s has prompted several Guam officials to request a briefing from the military detailing the handling of Agent Orange at Andersen.

The request came after 68-year-old veteran Leroy Foster went public, saying he sprayed Agent Orange at Andersen AFB. Shortly after that, local 72-year-old veteran Gerard Laitres detailed Agent Orange use he witnessed at Andersen AFB in the 1960s.


New VA Ap

Did you know a new mobile app will give veterans instant access to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) information?  The MyVA Info app can tell veterans how to apply for VA health care and supplies information on the Caregiver Support Program, among other services.  The app is free and available for iOS and Android devices.










Compensation For Parents

Did you know Parents Dependency Indemnity Compensation is an income dependent monthly benefit paid to eligible surviving parents of certain veterans?  The total monthly compensation for Parents Dependency Indemnity Compensation will be dependent upon a variety of factors, such as whether or not the claiming parent lives with their spouse, any Aid and Attendance supplement paid, and the parent’s income (a spouse’s income is counted for the purpose of determining the benefit level). The parent must report all income to the VA, along with any offsetting medical expenses. The VA will use a formula set by law to determine the benefit level for which the parent will be eligible. 

Did You Know?

Pay Continues for Veterans

Did you know during Government shutdowns, veterans and survivors still receive ongoing benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Social Security Administration (SSA)?  At the same time agency staff members aren’t on hand to process new applications or claims, and national parks, monuments and Smithsonian museums are all among federal properties slated to be closed. 


American Guardians Program Expanded for Veterans

Did you know Smith & Wesson has expanded its American Guardians Program which provides a discount on firearms to law enforcement, active duty service members, and first responders?  New for 2021, the American Guardians Program now includes all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with an honorable discharge as indicated on the veterans’ DD Form 214.











Veterans Under 81 Eligible for New Benefit

Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be introducing a new program of life insurance on January 1, 2023, known as the Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALI)?  The new life insurance program will provide up to $40,000 of whole life insurance coverage. VALI will be available to all service-connected veterans under the age of 81.


3M Co. Loses   

Did you know 3M Co. and its Aearo Technologies LLC subsidiary lost a hearing-loss and tinnitus trial that kicked off a new round of service members’ bellwether trials in federal court in Florida over the companies’ combat earplugs, and must pay $8.2 million in compensatory damages?


Disturbing Trend Shows Increase

Did you know the Department of Defense Annual Suicide Report shows a disturbing rise in cases among both active duty service members and Reservists?  The Department of Defense report shows that suicides among active duty service members have been increasing from a rate of nearly 2 out of 100,000 members in 2018, to a rate of nearly 29 out of 100,000 in 2020.  Meanwhile, suicides among Reserve and National Guard members are rising as well after falling in 2019.  Rates among these military members are nearly 22 and 28 suicides out of 100,000 in 2020 respectively.












Fraud Losses Suffered by Veterans 

Did you know the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimated that in 2022, veterans reported $292 million losses to fraud?  Common types of fraud include healthcare, finances (life insurance, social security, home loans, etc.), housing, PACT Act benefits, employment, education, memorialization and imposter scams.  Download free fraud protection kit.


VA's 5-Year Rule

Did you know the VA 5-Year Rule is a crucial protection for individuals with a disability rating, as it prevents the VA from reducing their disability rating once it has been in effect for five years or longer?  This rule specifically applies to ratings that have remained unchanged for a significant period, ensuring that after five years, the rating is deemed as stabilized. This stability offers peace of mind to claimants, safeguarding their entitled benefits and providing a sense of security in their disability status. Understanding and leveraging this rule can be instrumental in navigating the complexities of the VA disability system.