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Did You Know?

VA Eliminates Verification Report
Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has cut much of the red tape for veterans by eliminating the need for veterans to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR)?  VA will implement a new process for confirming eligibility for benefits, and staff that had been responsible for processing the old form will instead focus on eliminating the compensation claims backlog.  All beneficiaries currently receiving VA pension benefits will receive a letter from VA explaining these changes and providing instructions on how to continue to submit their unreimbursed medical expenses.

        

Veterans May See Local Doctors

Did you know a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Tim Walz aimed at tackling the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit-claims backlog passed the House of Representatives?   The Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2015 is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that allows local doctors to conduct disability medical examinations for veterans seeking benefits from the VA for the first time. Currently, veterans must visit a VA facility for the examination.   Allowing veterans to see a local doctor for their initial exam is designed to conserve VA resources, cut back on long wait times at VA hospitals, enable quicker diagnoses of disabilities, and eliminate unnecessary trips to the VA for veterans in rural communities.

  

   

   

   

   

   

  

  

  
         
Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments
Did you know the Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments (CRDP) is designed to remove the offset of VA and DoD payments?  The program provides a 10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay from receiving VA disability compensation for members who have a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater.  Members retired under disability provisions must have 20 years of service.

   

Skills Test Waived
Did you know thirty-three (33) states agreed to waive the skills test for veterans and active duty service members who have military training that would entitle them to a commercial driver's license?  A provision of the commercial learner's permit rule gives state driver licensing agencies the authority to substitute two years of commercial motor vehicle safe-driving experience in the military equivalents of commercial motor vehicles for the skills-test portion of the commercial driver license. The rule applies to active duty, Reserve, Guard and Coast Guard members, and veterans within 90 days of separation. More states are considering such a waiver. For more information, contact your state's motor vehicle administration or department of transportation.

      

   

   

  

   

   

  

   

     

     

     

Free Lapel Pin

Did you know if you are a Vietnam veteran, there is a lapel pin waiting for you?  It has an eagle in the center and the words Vietnam Veteran around the outside. If you don’t have one, leave a message at the VFW and they’ll get one to you. The phone number is 936-825-3666. This is a long overdue and small recognition for your service. I salute you.  Some limitations may apply.

      

Underutilized Benefit

Did you know the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program, commonly known as VOC Rehab, is an excellent benefit offered by VA that is not utilized by many eligible veterans who may need it?  VR&E services can assist eligible veterans with resume development skills, job research training, employment accommodations and education in order to keep employed through different avenues. The program offers individual counselors to accommodate the different needs of the clients they serve. All veterans are encourage to learn more about this program’s services to see if you are eligible for this great benefit.

    

Veterans Still Eligible

Did you know if you’re a veteran that was dishonorably discharged, or for other reasons don’t qualify for VA benefits, you may still be eligible for legal compensation? One option for financial recourse is an asbestos trust fund, which is put in place by bankrupt companies that used asbestos in construction, so they can avoid going to court. Another option for compensation is by filing for a personal injury case against the asbestos companies.

      

  

  

  

  

  

 

  

  

      

Waiver Request For Dental Services

Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it has submitted to Congress a waiver request and pilot program under Section 152 of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (MISSION Act) to improve access to dental care for Veterans?

       

The MISSION Act authorizes VA to submit statutory waivers to Congress for the purpose of testing innovative service delivery models to improve the quality of care for America’s Veterans.  Under existing statute, VA has limited authority to provide dental services for Veterans.  With this waiver request, VA is submitting a proposal to increase access to dental services for enrolled Veterans ineligible for dental services through VA by connecting them with community-based, pro bono or discounted dental service providers.

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Scoop on Migraine Headaches

Did you know the VA rates migraine headaches according to the symptoms, severity, and frequency of attacks?  For instance, if you experience the following: migraine with very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability (50%);  migraine with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months (30%);  migraine with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months (10%);  migraine with less frequent attacks (0%).

      

Additionally, did you know the cause of migraine headaches is not always known but may be triggered by the following conditions?

     

Additionally, if you are already service connected for the one of the above listed conditions and you suffer from migraine headaches, then your migraine headaches could be considered a secondary service connected disability.

    

Transitioning Veterans

Did you know SkillBridge, established in 2014, allows transitioning service members during the final 180 days of their military service to work as an apprentice, intern or fellow at a private or public employer while maintaining their military salary and benefits. The goal is to ease veterans into a new civilian career, and the employer does not have to pay the separating military member while he or she is receiving their military salary and benefits.

        

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

      

Zinc & Vitamin C Ineffective Against COVID-19
Did you know that Zinc and Vitamin C have shown not to be effective in warding off COVID-19?  Not even at high doses, according to the first randomized clinical trial to test the two supplements under medical supervision.  Despite the popular use of Vitamin C and Zinc to fight off or lessen the severity of viral colds and flu, the new study, published in JAMA Network Open, found the two supplements were of no benefit to people isolating at home with COVID-19.

           

Space-A Available Update

Did you know a recent regulations change allows dependent family members of permanently and totally disabled veterans to fly on space-available, or Space-A, flights?  On October 23, 2020, a change to modify DoDI 4515.13 updated the eligibility requirements for Space-A travel, adding dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans making them eligible for open seats on Space-A flights.

       

Tax Refund Info

Did you know if you recently had an increase in your disability rating or were granted Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC), you may be eligible for a tax refund?  However, this can be applied only to the year that the VA re-assessed your disability level.  Other money from the VA that is not taxed:

  • Interest from VA life insurance policies
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
  • Money paid to a survivor of a member of the Armed Forces who died after September 10, 2001
  • Payments made under the compensated work therapy program
  • Any bonus pay from a state, county, city or town because of service in a combat zone