Tag Archives: VA Disability

New VA Disability “Improvement” Law Actually Decreases Assistance

assistance

Despite the title, when President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act at the end of August, some important assistance evaporated.  In the past, when filing a claim for VA disability compensation, the VA was obligated to help the veteran locate documents pertaining to his service or medical records to help him prove his disability is connected to his military service.

For example, a veteran could tell the VA approximately which dates a particular incident occurred, and the VA was obligated to procure the pertinent documents that might link the disability to his service (think the deck logs of a certain vessel).  This was known as the VA’s “duty to assist,” and it was a great resource for veterans since obtaining these kinds of documents can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. This duty was consistent with the general orientation that the VA is required to have toward vets (i.e., accommodating and helpful).

But this provision has now changed at a crucial point in the process; veterans can still take advantage of the duty to assist at the initial claim phase, but that obligation on the VA disappears after an initial ratings decision has been rendered. Because Veterans aren’t allowed to pay counsel for representation during the initial claim phase, it’s predictable that most veterans will overlook this important assistance until it is too late.

If a veteran wishes to appeal the partial or complete denial of his or her claim—at the time he or she can retain paid counsel—he or she will have to do so without the records help of the VA. If certain documents were not procured and the veteran is sure they do exist, then he or she will have to independently find them.

As with most political arguments, what can be alleged to be helpful can, in practice, be counterproductive; in this case, that is decreasing the number of approvals of VA disability claims.  The justification here is that now VA employees will be spending less time looking for substantiating documents on behalf of veterans and have more time for processing appeals.

This new development in the appeals process has been criticized by some organizations. For example, the Vietnam Veterans of America recently said, “It hardly seems like a pro-veteran system where an adjudicatory body knows of possible helpful information for a claimant but is not able to act on this knowledge in a helpful way to the veteran.”

What is your takeaway from this news?  Be sure to insist on VA assistance in locating documents pertaining to your military service and medical records when you file your initial claim for VA disability benefits— before you lose your right to request that assistance.

This article was written by Brad Harris, Attorney at Law, of the Harris Federal Law Firm.  He can be reached at brad@harrisfederal.com or toll-free at (877) 226-2723.  

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Appeals Process Changing for Veterans

veterans

President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 and it is designed to “streamline the lengthy process that veterans undergo when appealing their claims for disability benefits” with the VA.

In theory, this is supposed to help veterans navigate the VA system and challenge rejected benefit claims. It’s also intended to reduce the appeals backlog with new approaches for veterans seeking benefits.

Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the House Committee of Veterans Affairs said, “The VA’s current appeals process is broken. Between FY2015-2017, the number of pending appeals increased from approximately 380,000 to 470,000—more than a 20 percent increase. Between FY2013-2016, Congress appropriated nearly $200 million more than the president’s request to address the appeals backlog. Despite the infusion of resources, VA estimates that it will take at least five years just to resolve the appeals currently pending.”

Within 90 days after the act has been enacted, the VA Secretary is to submit to the appropriate committees of Congress and Comptroller General, a comprehensive plan for processing legacy appeals and implementing the new appeals system.

This bill will also create three “lanes” for veterans’ appeals:

  • Local Higher-Level Review Lane—adjudicator reviews the same evidence considered by the original claims processor
  • New Evidence Lane—veteran can submit new evidence for review and have a hearing
  • Board Lane—jurisdiction for an appeal would transfer immediately to the Board of Veterans appeals

This bill will also give the Secretary authority to test the new system prior to full implementation and allow some veterans already going through the appeals process to opt into the new system.

It will also require the VA to provide a plan for implementing the new system and subsequent certifications by the Secretary that the department is prepared to implement changes.

Finally, it requires the Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress, including information on how many appeals are pending in both the modernized system and the legacy system.

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Veterans Affairs Accountability Bill is Gaining Support

affairs

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is a bipartisan bill. This bill is in response to problems encountered by the VA over the last few years. It’s intended to reform the Department of Veteran’s Affairs by allowing the secretary to dismiss any employee who isn’t performing. It’s also intended to ensure due process protection for whistleblowers. If this becomes a law, many VA employees will be impacted.

Purpose of the Bill

According to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):

“To fully reform the VA and provide our nation’s veterans with the quality care they were promised and deserve, we must ensure the department can efficiently dismiss employees who are not able or willing to do their jobs. […] We must make real changes that put the well-being of our service members before the best interests of bureaucrats.”

Quicker Procedures for Removal, Suspension, or Demotion

This will affect both senior executives and employees. It would enact a fast procedure for the removal or demotion of an employee. The bill states, “The aggregate period for notice, response, and final decision in a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section may not exceed 15 business days.” A removal, demotion, or suspension of more than 14 days can be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board. It would have to be made within 10 days and the Administrative Judge must issue a decision within 180 days after the date of the appeal. An employee is also allowed to appeal the decision to the full board. Any employee who wins their appeal would receive back pay.

Whistleblower Protection

If an employee is seeking corrective action from the Office of Special Counsel, the VA secretary would not be allowed to remove, demote, or suspend that employee without Special Counsel approval.

Annuity and Employee Conviction of Certain Crimes

The bill proposes reducing annuity of an employee convicted of a felony that influenced the performance of an employee while working for the VA. When an annuity is reduced, there will be a procedure for appealing to the Director of OPM. This annuity reduction can also be applied to an employee who has already retired.

Recouping Bonus Payments

This bill also allows the agency to recoup bonus payments to an employee if the Secretary determines that person engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to the payment.

Recouping Relocation Expenses

This bill also allows the VA secretary to issue an order directing an employee of the department to repay the amount, or partial, paid for relocation expenses if the expenses were paid following an act of fraud or malfeasance that influenced the authorization of the expenses.

 

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President Trump Signs New Veteran’s Choice Act

choice

President Trump has signed the Veterans Choice Improvement Act. It will greatly expand an existing program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Key Changes

This new bill will make the following changes to veterans’ care:

  • Allows patients to seek care from private doctors if they want to go outside of the VA system
  • Removes barriers that Congress put in the original “choice “initiative
  • Eliminates the expiration date of the law that would have closed the program in August 2017
  • Makes VA the primary payer (currently they’re the secondary payer) for medical care relating to non-service connected disabilities and recovery of costs from third parties for certain care under the program

The Choice program was created in 2014 by Congress because of the VA scandal involving wait time maneuvering at some VA facilities around the country. Initially, the Choice program was set up as a pilot program limiting when and where veterans could elect to use private doctors. Patients could only use this program if they lived more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA hospital or if they could not get an appointment from their local VA facility within 30 days.

The Concerned Veterans for America said the following, “President Trump is upholding the promises he made to veterans and we applaud him for continuing to make them a priority. However, there is more work to do. The Choice program passed as a quick fix to the wait list manipulation scandal that broke 3 years, has helped, however, too many veterans still are forced to seek care at failing VA facilities. Congress now has some time to work with Secretary Shulkin on broader, more permanent Choice reforms that will truly put the veteran at the center of their health care and remove VA bureaucrats as the middlemen.”

Congress established the Commission on Care to examine veterans access to Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare and to examine how to efficiently organize the Veterans Health Administration, locate health resources, and deliver healthcare to veterans. It recommended providing more private sector services for veterans beyond restrictions placed in the original Choice Act. This new legislation seems to do that to some degree.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has generally opposed this type of change in the VA. They have stated, “…..given the evidence of overall quality, efficiency, integration, and innovation with the VHA, we believe that efforts to reform the VHA can best serve veterans by expanding access to services the VHA currently provides. Where geographic challenges exist and/or VHA doesn’t offer specific services, the VHA should purchase services from non-VA partners.”

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New VA Accountability Legislation

accountability

Legislation for accountability is back on the table for Veterans Affairs employees. VA Secretary David Shulkin has 10 major priorities this year and accountability tops that list. Shulkin told reporters this after his speech to the American Legion, “The House is looking at an accountability bill that I believe they’re going to introduce March 8th and potentially bring to the floor on March 14th. We are working closely with House and Senate colleagues to make sure that this bill actually goes through.”

The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 gives the VA secretary the authority to fire, demote, or suspend any employee in the department based on performance or misconduct. Employees can still appeal the disciplinary action to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Administrative judges have 45 days to decide, during which the employee may not receive any pay or special benefits.

Below is a more in-depth look at what this may look like.

Pension Reductions

The VA secretary would be able to reduce an employees’ pension is that employee was convicted of a felony which influenced their job performance. The employee would be entitled to notice, an opportunity to respond to the order, and an opportunity to appeal the secretary’s final decision before the OPM Director. An appeal would have to be completed within 30 business days after it was filed.

Disciplinary Action Based on Poor Performance or Misconduct

This part of the legislation would allow the VA secretary to fire, demote, or suspend for longer than two weeks without pay any employee for performance or misconduct. This also applies to Senior Executive Service employees.

Recouping Bonuses

This bill also allows the VA secretary to recoup bonuses or awards paid out if it is determined that an employee engaged in poor performance or misconduct prior to receiving that bonus. The employee would be entitled to notice, an opportunity to respond to the order, and an opportunity to appeal the secretary’s final decision to the head of another federal agency or department. The appeal must be completed within 30 business days.

Recouping Relocation Expenses

This would allow the VA secretary to recoup relocation expenses paid to an employee if the secretary determines the employee committed an act of fraud, waste, or malfeasance. Prior to recouping the money, the employee would be entitled to notice of the proposed order, an opportunity to respond, and the opportunity to appeal the secretary’s final decision to the head of another federal agency or department.

This legislation also includes improved protection for whistleblowers and gives direct hiring authority to the VA secretary for Medical Centers Directors and Veterans Integrated Service network directors.

 

VA Choice

Shulkin is working on legislation with Congress that would temporarily extend the Veterans Choice Program, set to expire August 7th. The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act) was passed in reaction to long wait times at VA hospitals across the country. He will then work with Congress to redesign the current Choice program. The goal is to combine the best of VA care with the best of private sector care in one seamless experience.

 

Other Priorities

Shulkin also named 10 top priorities for the department this year:

  • Employee accountability legislation
  • Temporary extension to veterans Choice program
  • Redesign Choice program
  • Improving VA infrastructure
  • Enhance VA foundational services
  • Better collaboration between VA and Defense Department
  • Interoperable electronic health records and improvements to VA IT systems
  • Suicide prevention programs
  • Appeals modernization
  • Improving performance at Veterans Benefits Administration

Find out more about each of these areas by clicking below.

New Accountability Legislation for the VA

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Agency Spotlight–Common VA Worker Injuries

injuriesThis post will look at some of the most common injuries or illnesses that affect VA workers; slips and falls, torn muscles, psychological disorders, and more.

injuriesSlips and Falls

This is probably most prevalent in VA hospitals and clinics. Nurses, doctors, and medical technicians can easily be injured this way. Tripping over a cord or slipping in the hallway are all common, especially if there is an emergency and a nurse needs to get to a patient quickly.

Torn Musclesinjuries

This seems to be one of the most common injuries we see. The reason is simple: lifting a patient, or something too heavy, can cause back injuries, torn muscles, and damaged discs. One VA hospital, the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, reported that they have reduced injuries among the nursing staff by up to 80 percent. They have done this by using an approach called “safe patient handling”. Special machines exist to help lift patients, like motorized hoists that lift heavy parts in factories. Most hospitals have not adopted this method.

injuriesPsychological Disorders

Stress is a big factor in these types of illnesses. Working in any hospital environment creates undue stress that can lead to not only psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety but also physical ailments as well.

Who We’ve Helped

We have helped many VA employees with their federal disability retirement claims. With over 25 approved VA cases in 2016 alone (and many more awaiting decision), we have helped VA employees get approved for mental and cognitive disorders, visual disturbances, spondylosis, dysthymic disorder, stenosis of the cervical and lumbar spine, and much more. Our successful cases include professions such as gardeners, program support assistants, police officers, financial administrative specialists, medical supply technicians, veterans service representative, and many more. If you are a VA worker who can no longer perform your job duties, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-226-2723, or fill out this inquiry form, and find out how we can help you!

To learn more about risks VA workers face, and see what our VA clients have said about us, click below!

Common Cause of Injuries and Illnesses to VA Employees

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Agency Spotlight–History of the VA Part 2

history

This two-part blog post will look at some of the issues that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, including issues they face today. This post will focus on some of the headlines out of the VA in recent years.

Dentist Resigns After Possibly Infecting Vets

Last month, a story surfaced from Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin of a dentist who resigned after possibly infecting almost 600 veterans. The dentist may have infected the veterans treated by him with Hepatitis B or C or HIV. The dentist failed to use proper sterilization procedures. Instead, he was using his own equipment-cleaning and reusing it which violates the VA’s regulations.

Hundreds of Vets Die Waiting for Care

A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, AZ has been in the headlines of late. Two hundred veterans died while waiting for medical care. The VA’s Inspector General’s office (OIG) found 215 deceased patients had open specialist consultation appointments the day they died. The report also found that one veteran never received an appointment for a cardiology exam “that could’ve prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”

 

veteransUnion Challenges Recent Recommendations on Care for Vets

Because of the scandals that have gripped the Department of Veterans Affairs over the recent months and years, Congress established the Commission on Care. This new commission examined veterans access to VA health care to examine how best to effectively organize the VHA and deliver health care to veterans during the next 20 years.

In their final report on healthcare they write, “The evidence shows that although care delivered by the VA is in many ways comparable or better in clinical quality to that generally available in the private sector, it is inconsistent from facility to facility, and can be substantially compromised by problems with access, service, and poorly functioning operational systems and processes. The Commissioners also agree that America’s veterans deserve much better, that many profound deficiencies in VHA operations require urgent reform, and that America’s veterans deserve a better, organized, high-performing healthcare system.”

VHA Failed to Recoup Nearly $800K in Employee Recruitment and Relocation Debt in FY2014

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) relies heavily on financial incentives to recruit and retain critical staff. A recent audit showed that the VHA didn’t try to recoup outstanding debts of nearly $800K in FY2014 from employees who should’ve reimbursed the government. The audit reviewed the departments’ use of recruiting, relocation, and retention (3 R’s) compensation and found that the VHA didn’t enforce payment for roughly 55 percent of the established 238 incentives for which employees didn’t fulfill their recruitment or relocation obligations.

During the audit timeframe, the IG found that the VA’s personnel system lacked the ability to issue alerts when employees, who received one the 3 R’s, changed jobs, making the HR staff possibly “unaware of unfulfilled incentive service agreements.”

 

VA is Still in Need of Doctors and Nursesveterans

The VA’s largest staffing shortages are in 5 occupations: medical officer, nurse, physician assistant, physician therapist, and psychologist; their greatest need being medical officers and nurses. Medical technologist is also another occupation the department has had difficulty filling and retaining staff.

The VHA groups staffing losses into three categories—volunteer retirements, regrettable losses, and other losses. Regrettable losses are defined as “those individuals who resign from the VA or transfer to another government agency.”

Over the past few years, the VA has been on a hiring frenzy with doctors, nurses, and clinicians. They have used their Title 38 authority to offer more competitive pay to doctors and other healthcare professionals. Currently, they are trying to get authority from Congress to move other top management positions into Tittle 38. This would provide them with a greater hiring potential and more flexibility on pay.

New Legislation Could Make it easier to Fire VA Employees

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has introduced the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (H.R. 611) to help make it easier to fire VA employees. This is a companion to a bill already introduced. This bill would increase the flexibility to make it easier to remove an employee for poor performance and misconduct as well as strengthening the protection for whistleblowers.

Lamborn made this statement:

“After 3 years of witnessing systemic abuse–including falsified waitlists, whistleblower retaliation, and abysmal patient care–this bill will provide real accountability and culture change at the VA. Too often, misbehaving and even criminal employees have continued to receive a salary at taxpayers’ expense. This strong piece of legislation expedites the discipline process to make it easier to demote or fire employees for misconduct. Although I recognize that the vast majority of VA employees are good people trying to serve our veterans, we cannot ignore the serious problems that result from employee misconduct. Eliminating the worst of the worst will send a clear message to all agency employees and will begin to change the culture of corruption that has become too prevalent at the VA.”

For more on each of these stories, click below.

Agency Spotlight–The Troubled History of the VA–Part 2 of 2

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Agency Spotlight–History of the VA

history of VA

This two-part blog post will look at some of the issues that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, and continue to do so. This post will focus on the troubled history of the VA.

Scandal and controversy have plagued the Veterans Administration since its formation. One of the first issues came about after the Revolutionary War. Congress left promised payments, to disable veterans, up to the states. Therefore, only a few thousand who served ever received anything. Below is a timeline of some of the major scandals to hit the Veterans Administration.

1921—Congress created the Veterans Bureau to administer assistance to World War I veterans; however, it quickly fell into corruption and was abolished nine years later.

1930—The veterans Administration is established to replace the Veterans Bureau.

1932—Thousands of World War I veterans march on Washington to demand payment of promised wartime bonuses.

1947—A government commission uncovers waste, duplication, and inadequate care in the VA system and calls for changes in the structure.

1955—A second government commission again finds waste and poor care in the VA system.

1970’s—Veterans grow increasingly frustrated with the VA for failing to better fund treatment and assistance programs. They later recognize exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange by troops in Vietnam as the cause for numerous medical problems among veterans.

1976—The General Accounting Office investigated Denver’s VA hospital and found numerous shortcomings in patient care, including surgical dressings rarely being changed. They also looked at a New Orleans VA hospital and found increasing patient loads were contributing to the decline in quality of care.

1982—The VA Director Robert Nimmo described the symptoms of exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange as little more than “teenage acne”. He resigned and was criticized for his wasteful spending. The agency also issued a report supporting veterans claims that the VA failed to provide them with enough information and assistance about Agent Orange exposure.

1986—VA’s Inspector General’s Office found that 93 physicians who worked for the agency had sanctions against their medical licenses, including suspensions and revocations.

1989—President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which elevated the Veterans Administration to Cabinet status, creating the Department of Veterans Affairs.

1993—A backlog of growing appeals began to grow from veterans who were denied benefits.

1999—Lawmakers opened an investigation into widespread problems with clinical research procedures at the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center. This investigation followed years of problems at the hospital, including ethical violations by hospital researchers that included failing to get consent from some patients before conducting research involving them.

2001—Despite the 1995 goal by President George W. Bush to reduce wait times for primary care and specialty care appointments to under 30 days, GAO found that veterans were still waiting more than 2 months for appointments.

2003—The Commission appointed by President George W. Bush reported that as of January 2003, 236,000 veterans had been waiting 6 months or more for their initial or follow-up visits. This is “a clear indication of the lack of sufficient capacity, or at a minimum, a lack of adequate resources to provide the required care.”

2006—A VA employee stole sensitive records containing names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of 26.5 million veterans. This employee didn’t have the authorization to take these records.

2009—The VA discloses that 10,000 veterans who underwent colonoscopies in TN, GA, and FL were exposed to potential viral infections due to poorly disinfected equipment. Thirty-seven tested positive for 2 forms of Hepatitis and 6 tested positive for HIV.

2011—Nine Ohio veterans tested positive for Hepatitis after routine dental work; performed in a VA Clinic in Dayton, OH. A dentist at that medical center admitted not washing his hands or even changing gloves between patients for 18 years. Also, this same year an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease began at a VA hospital in Oakland, PA. AT least 5 veterans died of the disease over the next 2 years. IN 2013, VA records showed widespread contamination of the facility dating back to 2007.

2012—The VA finds misidentified graves of at least 120 veterans in agency run cemeteries.

2014—The scandal in Phoenix, AZ occurred where hundreds of veterans died while awaiting care.

2014-present—Hundreds of veterans still see long wait times and some die while waiting for their appointments. There are still reports of veterans being potentially infected with diseases and viruses because of unclean equipment, which will be touched on in part 2 of this post.

For more on their history, click below.

Agency Spotlight–The Troubled History of the VA–Part 1 of 2

This is not meant to shine the VA in a negative light, rather bring light to the issues it faces. They have made improvements to become more patient-focused, but there is still a long road to ensuring that our veterans receive the best care possible.

If you are a veteran who has had your benefits claim denied, the team at Harris Federal Law Firm wants to help you! Our consultation is always free, so please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form today! You have done a great service for our country, now let us serve you!

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The National Cemetery Administration

cemetery

There are three administrations under the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). This post will focus on the NCA.

Mission

The National Cemetery Administration honors Veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines. They also provide lasting tributes that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our nation.

Vision

The NCA strives to be the model of excellence for burial and memorials for our Nation’s Veterans and their families.

Purpose

There are four main purposes for the NCA.

  • First, to provide burial space for veterans and their eligible family members.
  • Second, they maintain national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there.
  • Third, to mark veteran’s graves with a government-furnished headstone, marker, or medallion, and to provide a Presidential Memorial Certificate in recognition of their service to a grateful nation.
  • Finally, to administer grants for establishing or expanding state and tribal government veterans’ cemeteries.

Veterans Cemetery Grants Program

This program, established in 1978 to complement the VA’s National Cemetery Administration, assists states and territories in providing gravesites for veterans in the areas where VA’s national cemeteries can’t fully satisfy their burial needs. The grants can be used for establishing, expanding, or improving veterans’ cemeteries that are owned and operated by a state.

To learn more about the NCA, click below.

Agency Spotlight–National Cemetery Administration

If you are a veteran now working as a federal employee and you have an injury or illness preventing you from performing your essential job duties, please contact us. You may qualify for a federal disability retirement. Contact us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We are honored to help you in any way we can!

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The Veterans Health Administration

healthThere are three administrations under the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). This post will focus on the VHA.

Mission

The VHA provides medical assistance through the administration and operation of numerous VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, and VA Community Living Center programs.

Their mission is to honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional healthcare that improves their health and well-being.

 

Vision

“The VHA will continue to be the benchmark of excellence and value in health care and benefits by providing exemplary services that are both patient centered and evidence based. This care is delivered by engaged, collaborative teams in an integrated environment which supports learning, discovering, and continuous improvement. It will emphasize prevention and population health and contribute to the nations’ well-being through education, research, and service to the Nations’ emergencies.”

Several offices and programs support the VHA.

History

Just before the Civil War ended, President Abraham Lincoln signed a law to establish a national soldiers and sailors asylum. In 1873, it was renamed as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. It was the first ever government institution created specifically for honorable discharged volunteer soldiers. These became the template for VA Hospitals.

By 1929, the system had grown to 11 institutions and accepted veterans of all American wars. World War II brought the establishment of the 2nd largest system of veterans’ hospitals. A program began of building new ones. The VA’s Department of Medicine and Surgery evolved into the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in 1991.

Today, this division employs more workers than all other areas of the VA combined. New programs provide treatment for traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, suicide prevention, women veterans, and more. Outpatient clinics and telemedicine services are now open to accommodate a diverse veteran population.

Eligibility for Benefits

To be eligible to receive VA health care benefits, you must have served in the active military, naval or air service and separated under any condition other than dishonorable.

The minimum duty requirements of veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty. This requirement usually doesn’t apply to veterans who were discharged for a disability that occurred in the line of duty or for a hardship. The VA determines the minimum requirements when the veteran enrolls for VA health care benefits. By federal law, 8 priority groups determine eligibility for benefits.

To learn more about the VHA and the services they offer, click below!

Agency Spotlight–The Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

If you are a veteran now working as a federal employee and you have an injury or illness that is preventing you from performing your essential job duties, please contact us. You may qualify for a federal disability retirement. Contact us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We are honored to help you in any way we can!

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