Effective December 1, 2011 The COLA increases for major Pension benefits follow. Charts showing COLA increases for all Pension benefits and for all parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits are attached here. Single Veteran Base Pension: $12,256 annually; $1,021 monthly Supplements: Housebound: $14,978 annually; $1,248 monthly Aid & Attendance: $20,447 annually; $1,703 monthly Veteran.. read more →

Following are descriptions of several of the issues which attorneys at my law office have confronted in recent claims we filed on behalf of veterans and their dependents seeking non-service connected pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which may be of interest to readers. Life Insurance The face value of a life.. read more →

As readers of this blog may know, representing veterans in connection with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims is an emerging practice area that is becoming an increasingly important component of an elder law practice. Lawyers at my firm have been retained with increasing frequency in recent years to represent veterans in claims for both.. read more →

Title 38 of the United States Code. This is the section of the codified laws of the United States that applies to benefits provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The United States Code is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States. Section 38 of the Federal Regulations… read more →

In a scathing 104-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that “the VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing … delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment [of the Constitution].” Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, _______ F.3d… read more →

In order to receive service-connected compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the usual case, a veteran must (1) be suffering from a current disability, (2) show evidence in his/her military service records of a disease, injury, or event in service, and (3) show a nexus, or link, between the current disability.. read more →

In Freeman v. Shinseki, No. 10-1462 (U.S. Ct. App. Vet. Claims April 26, 2011), 2011 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 906, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims handed a partial victory to a veteran attempting to challenge the VA’s appointment of a third-party fiduciary, instead of petitioner’s sister, to control his finances. The.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, concerning benefits available for veterans, their dependents and survivors from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA)”.) Question: Assume the following facts – an applicant for needs-based pension benefits from the VA signs a deed gifting income-producing real estate to an.. read more →

The Veterans Benefits Act of 2010, Public Law 111-275, made a few relatively minor changes in veterans’ benefits laws that might be of interest to readers. None of the changes in the law go into effect until October 1, 2011. A few of the changes in the law follow: 1. There will be a cost-of-living.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, concerning benefits available for veterans, their dependents and survivors from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA)”.) Question: We just had a veteran denied for pension benefits with Aid and Attendance supplement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA A&A Benefits”).. read more →

(This article is from the February 2011 Edition of the Compensation and Pension (C & P) Service Bulletin published by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The C & P Service website can be found here – https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/ ) During the Vietnam era, most naval aviation units were either carrier based or operated out of Western.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, concerning benefits available for veterans, their dependents and survivors from the Department of Veterans Affairs.) Question: I have a client who has applied for Aid and Attendance Benefits (A&A) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The client is moving.. read more →

What is the Medical Nexus Requirement? As I wrote in a blog post in 2009, in order to receive service-connected compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a veteran must meet three criteria: the veteran must be suffering from a current disability diagnosed by a medical professional; there must be evidence in the military.. read more →

On January 6, 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched an internet website for the VA fiduciary program. The VA states that this launch is only the first phase of the internet site and was designed to provide fiduciaries and other interested parties with information regarding VA’s fiduciary program. A VA fiduciary has significant.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, concerning benefits available for veterans, their dependents and survivors from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) Question: Our client is the widow of a veteran with no savings or other assets who resides in an assisted living facility (ALF). The.. read more →

(The following discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, is between accredited professionals involved in assisting veterans in prosecuting claims for Home-Bound and Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) Question: My understanding has been that, when one or more persons are listed as joint-owners on a veteran’s.. read more →

Under the statutes, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has a duty to assist a veteran in obtaining all relevant medical records, to provide medical examinations and obtain medical opinions necessary for the agency to make a decision on a claim for benefits. The duty has been explained in the cases in different ways, and.. read more →

A disability compensation benefit is paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to a veteran who (1) has a service-connected disability (injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service); and, (2) was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. There are approximately 23.4 million veterans in.. read more →

November 1, 2010 Washington, D.C. VA Begins Paying Benefits for New Agent Orange Claims VA Encourages Affected Vietnam Veterans to File Claims The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun distributing disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify for compensation under recently liberalized rules for Agent Orange exposure. “The joint efforts of Congress and VA.. read more →

The two monetary benefits available to disabled veterans are Service-Connected Compensation and Non-Service Connected Pension. Surprising though it may be, however, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not consider everyone who ever served in the military to be a “veteran” for benefits purposes. According to 38 U.S.C. §101(2) and 38 C.F.R. §3.1(d), a “veteran”.. read more →

The Benefits Inspection Division is part of the Office of Inspector General (IG) in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Benefits Inspection Division’s mission is to improve management of VA benefits processing activities and veterans’ services. The Benefits Inspection Division conducts on-site inspections at VA Regional Offices (VARO) to review disability compensation claims processing.. read more →

Today, a final regulation was published in the Federal Register (75 FR 59968 ) making it easier for veterans to obtain health care and disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia (including Iraq) or Afghanistan. The final regulation establishes new presumptions of service-connection.. read more →

(I recently ordered a free DVD from the American Bar Association (ABA). That’s right; it was, surprisingly, actually free. And, another surprise, it has been quite good so far. In addition, the written materials included with the DVD in PDF format are excellent. The DVD, entitled “A Primer on Veterans Administrative Law, Practice and Procedure,”.. read more →

Following is an exchange posted on a electronic bulletin board devoted to the discussion of issues involving veterans pension and compensation claims. Question: Have you heard that once a veteran is approved for VA Pension benefits with Aid and Attendance supplement, he/she also gets free or discounted prescriptions?  If this is true, how do I.. read more →

Lawyers who regularly deal with elderly and disabled clients like I do often confront the issue of client capacity. Under our professional rules, a lawyer may represent a client who has less than full capacity, although a lawyer is precluded from representing a client who lacks capacity. The issue confronting the lawyer involves properly assessing.. read more →