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Biden Announces His Team for Veterans Issues

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Despite the Trump campaign’s unwillingness to provide a peaceful transition of power, the Biden team appears to be moving forward in preparation for January 20th. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team for the Department of Veterans Affairs includes several alumni from the Obama administration. The Trump Administration has declined to offer any transition assistance which extends down to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie who said he will not begin transition work until receiving instruction from the White House. While this lack of support from the departing administration has caused concern among many regarding the functionality of the different departments, Biden has downplayed […]

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Recent Report Highlights Alarming Rates of Insomnia Among Veterans

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A recent study out of the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego found “alarmingly high” rates of insomnia among veterans, especially among those experiencing PTSD and TBIs. First published in June, the Oxford University medical journal’s “Sleep” found in a seven-year study of over 5,500 post 9/11 veterans, 57% had insomnia disorder. These results of the “Sleep” study held true across the different demographics that make up the military such as age, sex, race, even which branch the veteran served in. By comparison, it was noted that the average rate of insomnia among the general adult population is only […]

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Veterans Fight for Agent Orange Benefits in Court

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Last Wednesday, attorney Stephen Kinnaird argued on behalf of veterans in California’s Northern District Court in San Francisco. Kinnaird’s arguments called for the VA to pay retroactive benefits to thousands of Navy veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam, without making the veterans file new claims. These Blue Water Veterans have been previously excluded from the class of veterans that qualify for coverage from the VA for the myriad of health problems tied to Agent Orange. These illnesses include leukemia, lymphoma, throat cancer, and many other diseases. When the Agent Orange Act was passed in 1991, it […]

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Jon Stewart and John Feal Team Up in Support for Service Members Exposed to Toxins

Friday, November 6, 2020

Regardless of what comes out of this extremely close election race, Jon Stewart and John Feal have a plan to move forward with legislation passed in support of service members exposed to toxins. Jon Stewart, comedian and long-time advocate, recently teamed up with John Feal, activist and Army veteran, to voice their support and enact change for these veterans. Their focus: veterans exposed to burn pits. The fight for these veterans has been a long an arduous one. The case has been made on Capitol Hill time and time again by the same experts, all of which have supported benefits […]

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Two New Laws Approved By Trump Designed to Help Veterans with Mental Health Issues and Prevent Suicide

Friday, October 30, 2020

Two major pieces of legislation were signed by President Donald Trump last Saturday. Both address the problem of suicide among veterans. However, certain provisions of the new laws had been stripped before they reached the president’s desk, leaving advocates unsatisfied. The first law, dubbed the Cmdr. John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, will require that the VA hire additional suicide prevention coordinators and award grants to organizations that focus on mental health issues among veterans. Frequently pressured for flexibility in awarding funds to such community organizations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie praised the legislation. In a press release […]

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In an Abrupt Move, the VA is Eliminating its in-house Compensation and Pension Exam Program

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Compensation and pension exams, commonly referred to as C&P exams, play a pivotal role in the determination of a given veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits. The VA’s announcement to outsource the entirety of these exams comes amidst a pandemic and a rapidly growing backlog of requests, which causes growing concerns for advocates and support groups. Representative Elain Luria of Virginia voiced her concerns in a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Tuesday, stating that the new plan was developed with no notice to Congress. “For many veterans, thorough and accurate C&P examinations are crucial to securing service-connected benefits,” she […]

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VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers is Expanding Coverage

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

On October 1st, 2020, the VA announced the implementation of a new IT system that marked the launch of phase one of the expansion of their Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program. The first piece of the expansion gives benefits to caregivers of eligible Veterans who incurred a serious injury in the line of duty before or on May 7th, 1975. This means those who served in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II may now qualify for a number of benefits. “Today begins the first phase of expansion of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Through this expansion, […]

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New House Bill Aims to Protect Veteran Survivor Benefits in the Midst of Coronavirus Pandemic

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic has presented many problems for veterans. One of which being the potentially diminished benefits for surviving family members after a veteran passes away due to the virus. Currently, if a veteran has contracted the virus and subsequently passes away and the autopsy states that the cause of death is solely coronavirus and omits service-connected disabilities, it potentially puts much needed survivor benefits at risk. Warren Davidson, a House Representative from Ohio, has introduced The Ensuring Survivors Benefits during COVID-19 Act, which addresses this very problem. The law would require the VA to account for service-related disabilities […]

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Former VA Secretary Stands With Veterans Affected by Burn Pits

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Recently in an interview with Fox News, former VA Secretary David Shulkin, expressed his frustrations with the VA for not providing adequate benefit coverage for members returning from war, specifically those exposed to burn pits. Shulkin took the time to praise the VA for the things he believes it does well, but was extremely critical when it came to the discussion about burn pits. “I think the VA is a terrific organization that does many, many things exceptionally well. But the area that I think that we continue to make the same mistake on, for generations of veterans, is in […]

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VA Denied 78% of Burn Pit Exposure Claims

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Last week, Laurine Carson, a VA agency official said that 78% of disability claims related to toxic exposure have been denied. Carson is the deputy executive director of policy and procedures for the VA and released the information that only 2,828 out of 12,582 veterans between 2007 and 2020, have been approved for claims related to burn pit exposure. Lawmakers and advocates have been fighting for presumptive care benefits for veterans affected for years, saying that the agency does not have clear guidelines for who gets compensated. Many people have called the impact of burn pits on veterans the “Agent […]

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