The National Veterans Legal Services Program
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) has launched a new program through its Lawyers Serving Warriors project to provide free representation to veterans applying for a new federal disability benefit Combat‐Related Special Compensation (CRSC). CRSC is available to veterans who are medically retired for disability (either because they are on permanent disability retirement or the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL). CRSC can provide a veteran with hundreds of dollars per month in additional tax‐free compensation in Addition to whatever compensation the veteran is receiving from the VA or the military department.
At the Joint Pathology Center in Maryland, researchers are investigating an important medical issue: whether shrapnel embedded in the bodies of U.S soldiers can cause chronic health problems. Many veterans, after suffering injuries from roadside bombs during their tours of duty, carry these fragments in their bodies for life. Often surgery is risky, or the fragments are too small to remove. Either way, the metallic bits may slowly disintegrate, entering the blood and reaching vital organs.
Military doctors first became concerned about embedded shrapnel following the Gulf War in the early 1990s, when they suspected that depleted uranium from tank munitions was causing kidney damage. In 2008 the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs set up a program to monitor adverse health effects from more than a dozen metals -including lead, copper, and cadmium- found in the urine of over 8,000 shrapnel victims. Those veterans will be reanalyzed every five years for high metal concentrations and corresponding health issues, says clinical toxicologist Melissa McDiarmid of the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. If a certain metal increases to potentially toxic levels or if X-rays reveal that fragments are dissolving, her group will suggest that the patient consult a surgeon too see if the benefits of removal outweigh the risks.
Source: Fangfei Shen, Discover Magazine
Protected Disability Rating
A rating percentage is considered “protected” once it is in place for 20 years. There would be no danger of a decreased disability rating after the 20 year mark. Veterans whose ratings have been in place for less than 20 years may be somewhat assured that there has been no improvement in the disability before requesting a new evaluation or they could risk having their disability rating reduced.
Under the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program, veterans with service-connected disabilities or veterans with non-service connected disabilities may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to their home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. See your VSO for more information.