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Category: Disability Compensation

Military Blast Exposure May Cause Brain to Age Early

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | June 4, 2015 | Disability Compensation

A study published Monday in Brain, A Journal of Neurology, found that “blast exposure may negatively affect brain-aging trajectories at the microstructural tissue level,” even among service members who felt nothing from the blast. It’s especially disturbing the study found signs of brain degeneration and early aging even in veterans who reported they never experienced blast-related symptoms… read more

VA’s New Standardized Forms and Intent to File a Claim

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | April 1, 2015 | Disability Compensation,Legal Update

VA’s requirement to use standardized forms to start claims and appeals has gone into effect as of March 25, 2015. In addition, the VA’s new “Intent to File a Claim” process replaced the old “informal claims” process. I’ve already discussed the details of the new standardized forms requirement here, as well as the intent to… read more

Veterans Law Legal Update: Beraud v. McDonald, 766 F.3d 1402 (Fed. Cir. 2014)

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | January 20, 2015 | Disability Compensation,Legal Update

  In September 2014, the Federal Circuit decided Beraud v. McDonald, carving out an exception to the general rule that a “subsequent final adjudication of a claim which is identical to a pending claim that has not been finally adjudicated terminates the pending status of the earlier claim.” Now, under Beraud, when a veteran submits evidence to the VA… read more

Service Connection for Tinnitus Without Accompanying Hearing Loss?

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | December 10, 2014 | Disability Compensation

It’s very common for veterans to suffer from tinnitus without accompanying hearing loss. Unfortunately, when a veteran submits a claim for service connection for tinnitus without hearing loss, VA examiners will often render a negative nexus opinion that goes something like this: “Although the veteran served in a high hazardous noise MOS, the veteran has bilaterally normal hearing indicating… read more

A Closer Look at the “Intent to File a Claim” Process

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | November 20, 2014 | Disability Compensation

In my last post, I briefly discussed VA’s new “intent to file a claim” process which replaces the current informal claim process on March 25, 2015. Now I take a closer look at the specifics of the new claims filing process and how it can determine the effective date of a claim.

VA Releases Final Rule on Standardized Claims and Appeals Forms

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | September 25, 2014 | Disability Compensation

The VA amended its regulations today introducing a uniform disability claims form that VA says will allow it to better service veterans. The new rule goes into effect beginning March 25, 2014, and includes three major changes: Requirement that all VA benefits claims (pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, and monetary burial benefits) be filed on… read more

Shock Waves Cause As Much Damage As Impact Head Injuries

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | August 6, 2014 | Disability Compensation

A recent study has confirmed that the concussive blast wave from an explosion can be equally as damaging as an impact injury to the head when it comes to traumatic brain injuries. The study set out to determine whether there was any difference in the level of symptoms suffered by service members “with blast-related vs. non-blast-related concussive… read more

VA Finally Rolls Out Burn Pit Registry

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | June 27, 2014 | Disability Compensation,Health Benefits

After years of pressure from lawmakers in Congress, VA has finally rolled out an open burn pit registry by which veterans can document exposure to airborne hazards, including smoke from burn pits. The potential effects of open air burn pits were first raised in 2008, and since that time, hundreds of veterans have returned home with significant respiratory problems and… read more

Study Confirms post-Vietnam C-123 Aircrew and Maintainers Exposed to Agent Orange

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | June 15, 2014 | Disability Compensation

A new study has concluded that aircrew and maintainers who flew the C-123 Provider during the post-Vietnam era were likely exposed to hazardous levels of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange. The Air Force used the UC-123 during Vietnam to spray Agent Orange, and the planes were subsequently returned to the United States and used by the Air Force Reserve as… read more

Five Illnesses Now Presumed Service-Connected for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | January 26, 2014 | Disability Compensation

The Department of Defense calls traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) “one of the signature injuries of troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.” TBIs can cause many physical and mental impairments, and the VA doesn’t always link those impairments to the TBI. Now, based on a 2008 report from the Institute of Medicine entitled Gulf War and Health,… read more