With a backlog of over 600,000 unprocessed claims, it has long been the case that U.S. Military Veterans returning from OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operations Enduring Freedom) have had to wait months and even years for their disability benefits to begin – even those Veterans with the most obvious and serious injuries and illnesses have not yet received relief.
In fact, there are Veterans from both the Vietnam and the Desert Storm wars that continue to wait as well. This backlog (or waiting game) has caused great financial and emotional strain on wounded veterans and their families.
Even more disturbing are the statistics from the VA that estimate one in four homeless adults living on the street are U.S. Military Veterans from as far back as World War II (an estimated 200,000 people). The current wars, alone, have produced over 1500 homeless Veterans. It is a national disgrace.
However, there are benefits available to you, and the attorneys at DeHaanBusse LLP also are available to you to help you obtain those benefits.
What Benefits Are Available? . . .
Disabled Veterans are eligible for a number of federal programs including:
- Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP) – put in place to guide you through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, and to facilitate those benefits;
- VA Disability Benefits – provides mandatory medical care for service-connected disability (also provides medical care for non-service connected care, but in those cases, Veterans must make a co-payment);
- Disability Compensation – provides monetary compensation to Veterans who became disabled as a result of active-duty service;
- Vocational Rehabilitation – this program’s goal is to provide necessary resources to Veterans with service-related disabilities to help them acclimate back into civilian life. Benefits might include college, technical training, or special on-the-job vocational training at home for those severely disabled;
- Disabled Veterans Insurance – Both disabled and non-disabled Veterans may apply for life insurance coverage. Those Veterans who are totally disabled, may apply for up to $20,000 in this coverage and premiums on the first $10,000 will be waived.
I Have Been Diagnosed With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) . . .
It has been estimated that over 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans returning stateside have been diagnosed with PTSD, and many more go undiagnosed altogether.
Often, Veterans affected by PTSD attempting to obtain VA benefits have a difficult time proving disability and obtaining their benefits. As PTSD is categorized as a mental illness, the symptoms are not always obvious, nor do they manifest early on. Therefore, if you suspect you are suffering from PTSD, seek medical help immediately.
Gulf War Syndrome . . .
The Military and the scientific community have consistently denied any link between the Gulf War and the collection of illnesses and conditions many have attributed to it (known as Gulf War Syndrome). That all changed on November 17, 2008, when a scientific panel mandated by Congress issued a report stating that Gulf War Syndrome is, in fact, real. Researchers now believe that Gulf War Syndrome is a result of exposure to pyridostigmine bromide, a drug the Military gave to troops to protect them against nerve gas and pesticides.
Among the many disorders associated with Gulf War Syndrome are memory loss, muscle pain, constant headaches, gastro problems, chronic fatigue, rashes, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disorders, and menstrual disorders. If you suffer from any of these symptoms and believe you may have been exposed to pyridostigmine bromide, seek medical care immediately.