Thursday, January 27, 2022

Agent Orange update, disability and VA health care, unemployment and more



Bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism were added to the Agent Orange Presumptive List when the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act was passed. Veterans who previously filed and were denied claims involving these conditions will be eligible for VA disability benefits. The VA was ordered under the Defense Authorization Act to locate and contact the veterans who were denied their claims for these conditions so that appropriate reconsideration by the VA could be conducted. If you are a veteran whose disability claim for any of these three new presumptives was denied and the VA has not contacted you, please contact your VSO (preferably the VSO who assisted in the filing of the original claim) to take further action on your claim.


Are you a veteran who was denied VA health care because your income exceeded the means test for eligibility (your household income was above the VA income means test)? Medical conditions and their proven relationship with exposure change periodically as the VA gains more data. If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition or disease that has been determined to be caused by an exposure, you should file a claim for service-connected disability compensation regardless of how long you have been out of the military or how long ago you filed and were previously denied. If your claim is approved, this disability makes you eligible for VA health care and you should apply as soon as you get the approval of your disability claim.


A veteran who cannot work because of a disability related to their service in the military (a service-connected disability) may qualify for “individual unemployability.” Such a veteran may be able to get disability compensation or benefits at the same level as a veteran who has a 100% disability rating. If, 1) a veteran has at least one service-connected disability rated as 60% or more disabling, or 2) has two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more AND the veteran cannot hold down a steady job that can support the veteran financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of the service-connected disability.


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