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Veteran Benefits

Additional SS benefits

posted Feb 27, 2014, 10:01 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Feb 27, 2014, 10:01 PM ]

This is something to put in your files for when you apply for Social Security down the road.  It is NOT just for retirees, BUT any  who has served on active duty prior to January 2002.

This benefit is not automatic, YOU MUST ASK FOR IT!

Retirement Planner: Special Extra Earnings For Military Service

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you paid Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security.

Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for your military service from 1957 through 2001 can be credited to your record for Social Security purposes. These extra earnings credits may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

Special extra earnings credits are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for training. Special extra earnings credits are not granted for inactive duty training.

If your active military service occurred

  • From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
  • From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
  • After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits for military service.
    Note: In January 2002, Public Law 107-117, the Defense Appropriations Act, stopped the special extra earnings that have been credited to military service personnel. Military service in calendar year 2002 and future years no longer qualifies for these special extra earnings credits

How You Get Credit For Special Extra Earnings

The information that follows applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1957 through 2001. Here's how the special extra earnings are credited on your record:

Service in 1957 Through 1977

You are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.

Service in 1978 through 2001

For every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, and didn't complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.



VA to Expand Benefits for Traumatic Brain Injury

posted Feb 27, 2014, 9:52 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Feb 27, 2014, 9:52 PM ]

Adds Five Illnesses Related to Service-Connected TBI

WASHINGTON – Some Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are diagnosed with any of five other ailments will have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new regulation, which takes effect 30 days from today, impacts some Veterans living with TBI who also have Parkinson’s disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

“We decide Veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “As scientific knowledge advances, VA will expand its programs to ensure Veterans receive the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

This regulation stems from a report of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM) regarding the association between TBI and the five diagnosable illnesses. The IOM report, Gulf War and Health, Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury, found “sufficient evidence” to link moderate or severe levels of TBI with the five ailments.

The new regulations, printed in the Federal Register, say that if certain Veterans with service-connected TBI also have one of the five illnesses, then the second illness will also be considered as service connected for the calculation of VA disability compensation.

Eligibility for expanded benefits will depend upon the severity of the TBI and the time between the injury causing the TBI and the onset of the second illness. However, Veterans can still file a claim to establish direct service-connection for these ailments even if they do not meet the time and severity standards in the new regulation.

Veterans who have questions or who wish to file new disability claims may use the eBenefits website, available at www.eBenefits.va.gov/ebenefits.

Servicemembers who are within 180 days of discharge may also file a pre-discharge claim for TBI online through the VA-DoD eBenefits portal at www.eBenefits.va.gov/ebenefits.

The published final rule will be available Dec. 17 at http://www.regulations.gov.

Information about VA and DoD programs for brain injury and related research is available at www.dvbic.org

Information about VA's programs for Gulf War Veterans is available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/hazardous_exposures.asp.

Benefits

posted Feb 3, 2014, 9:10 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Feb 3, 2014, 9:10 PM ]

National Resource Directory

posted Mar 31, 2013, 10:27 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Mar 31, 2013, 10:29 PM ]

The National Resource Directory (www.NRD.gov) is a federal government website that connects wounded warriors, Servicemembers, Veterans, families and caregivers to thousands of services and programs at the national, state and local levels that support them during recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Visitors to the website can find information on topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, military and Veterans' benefits, health care, educational opportunities, homeless assistance, employment and much more. Throughout the past few months, more than 60 new resources have been added to the NRD, bringing the total number of resources that can be accessed from the site to nearly 15,000.

Presumptive Conditions

posted Nov 9, 2012, 8:46 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Nov 9, 2012, 8:46 PM ]

A Presumptive Condition is an assumed belief of an illness or injury on reasonable grounds or probable evidence that an illness or injury occurred during the time of a Veteran's service, thus making that illness or injury service-connected.

The Presumptive Conditions categories are:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - the VA added Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease to its list of presumptive conditions. All veterans who develop ALS at any time after separation may be eligible for disability compensation.

Prisoners of War – any length of time with presumed 10 percent disabling condition, includes types of anxiety and psychosis conditions, along with heart disease, osteoporosis and more.

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides – service in the Republic of Vietnam from 1962 – 1975 with exposure to a herbicide used for military tactics. Twelve illnesses are presumed by the VA to be service-connected.

Veterans Exposed to Radiation – those who participated in “radiation risk activities” who have conditions presumed to be service- connected. Many illnesses are included that are leukemia, lymphoma and cancer-related.

Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Disabilities – covers those with chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses and/or medically unexplained chronic multi symptom illnesses from those serving in Southwest  Asia from 1990 through 1991 or to a degree of at least 10 percent anytime since then through 2011.

Do you have an Agent Orange claim?

posted Nov 9, 2012, 8:27 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Nov 9, 2012, 8:35 PM ]

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides: A Veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations.

Fourteen illnesses or presumptive conditions that are presumed by the VA to be service-connected for such Veterans:

  1. AL - amyloidosis
  2. Chloracne or other acne form disease similar to chloracne,
  3. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  4. Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's Sarcoma or Mesothelioma)
  5. Hodgkin's disease, multiple Myeloma, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea),
  6. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  7. Prostate Cancer
  8. Acute and sub-acute peripheral neuropathy
  9. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
  10. All chronic B-cell Leukemias (including, but not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia),
  11. Parkinson's disease
  12. Ischemic heart disease


Are you eligible for VA benefits?

posted Nov 2, 2012, 8:50 AM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Nov 2, 2012, 8:50 AM ]

When most of my buddies ask about their VA health care eligibility, it’s mostly because they have no idea where to begin. The VA system may look too big or daunting to tackle. But it’s a relatively easy process to start.

The easiest way to determine eligibility is to simply submit an application, which can be done online. If you’d rather do it in person or by phone, you can visit the nearest VA medical facility, or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) during business hours. A representative will fill out the form and have it sent to you for a review and signature. Each process is outlined here.

There are always questions surrounding eligibility, and many assumptions are tossed around. Some Vets may think you have to be injured in a war zone to receive care, or that you can only receive medical attention for issues that already carry a disability rating. I addressed those inaccuracies in the past—along with other myths—but it’s good to keep them handy and pass along to fellow Vets to set the record straight.

Important Forms

posted Aug 30, 2011, 7:47 PM by Info @NesloVentures   [ updated Aug 31, 2011, 10:09 AM by Neslo Ventures ]

To get your veteran benefits started, make sure you have your current DD214.

Loss of VA Benefits

posted Aug 30, 2011, 7:37 PM by Info @NesloVentures   [ updated Aug 30, 2011, 7:39 PM by Neslo Ventures ]

If you are a disabled retired Veteran with an unemployable rating, READ THIS FIRST before you decide to volunteer at the VA.

Loss of VA Benefits: Is It True?

Unfortunately...it is true.

By Terry Bowman June 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

In April of this year I was reading the minutes of the National Veterans Mental Health Council Conference Call (April 13, 2011) and noted a comment by one of the participants. It seems that a Veteran who was a volunteer on the Veterans Mental Health Council at one of the VA Medical Centers had been downgraded on his Service Connected mental health disability because the volunteer work he was doing “showed that he could work.” I began to investigate this issue and discovered more than one Veteran at more than one VA Medical Center location who allegedly had experienced the same. The issue, for a few Veterans, seems to be that they had volunteered in one capacity or another at their VA Medical Center; VA likes for Volunteers to log their volunteer hours and uses the logged hours to give credit to Veterans Service Organizations and when recognizing Veteran volunteers; the affected Veterans were Service Connected with a 100% Unemployable rating for a mental health disability; and,  after performing Volunteer work at their VA Medical Center and logging their volunteer hours, these few Veterans were notified by the Veterans Benefits Administration that their 100% Unemployable status was revoked because their volunteer work was evidence that they were employable.

I have written quite a few letters and sent numerous emails in an attempt to determine if this is a true issue or if it is a bad rumor. Unfortunately, no one in VA has responded. In the meantime, word of this issue has spread to Veterans across the Country. Some Veterans who were serving in VA volunteer positions resigned because they feared their Unemployable rating was in jeopardy.

It would help both VA and Veterans if the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) would issue a response to this issue from a VBA office that is high up in the chain-of-command; a position above the VA Regional Offices. A response from a position above VA Regional Offices is needed so that Veterans can rely on whatever the response is and not be concerned that individual VA Regional Offices might have different interpretations of the issue. A full explanation of the truth or non-truth of the issue, more than just a quote from the applicable law, and one that addresses the specific issue would be most helpful. (I and others have researched and read the applicable law. However, we all know that the law is subject to interpretation).

To clarify, the issue that needs to be addressed by VBA is, “If a Veteran who is 100% Unemployable due to a mental health disability performs volunteer services at a VA facility and logs those volunteer hours, is there any chance at all that VBA would recognize the Veteran’s volunteer service as evidence that the Veteran is employable and would revoke the Veteran’s Unemployable status.”

Terry S. Bowman is a retired Air Force Air Traffic Controller (SMSgt) who served in the U.S. Air Force from September 1960 to October 1981. He served as a Professor in Aviation Management at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois (SIUC). Bowman completed a Doctorate in Administration of Higher Education and, from 1993 to his retirement in 2001, he served as the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Director of Off-Campus Academic Programs. He is now fully retired and enjoys working around his land he has established as a National Wildlife Refuge. He also volunteers at his local VA medical center.


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