Jim's Mailbag

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Jim's Mailbag
November 1, 2010

Jim,

I was married to a Vietnam Veteran for 24 years. He was married to his second wife for two years. Am I entitled to any benefits after his death?

Reply:

There are many variables that could affect your eligibility.

You should complete VA Form 21-534 Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child. The form is here
http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-534-ARE.pdf

Jim's Mailbag
October 28, 2010

Jim,

this morning I called the v.a. and spoke with a rep. regarding my appeal, that they told me three months ago it was being rated am still waiting for a decision. She stated it is still pending, how long does it take? 2) I then asked her about the three new diseases, she stated no decision has been made they are waiting for a congressional decision regarding the three new diseases and the nehmer court order, do you have any idear what she is talking about? I was diagnosed 25 years ago with (IHD) and had three major heart operations. Thanks

Reply:

Jim's Mailbag
October 28, 2010

Jim,

I made a claim for an increase of depression over six months ago it had been rated at 10% (already had a c&p exam on the 9th of june 2010 concering this issue) as of today I went to my local regional office that is located in portland oregon. I spoke to someone a VA repersenative I assume and they said my claim is still being worked on and that the VA is now seeking an "addendum" which is an addition for further documents added to my claims file.

I was also told that perhaps I may have to go to another c&p exam why I don't know because I already had one . Is this all normal procedure with the VA concerning claims of this nature or is this out of the ordinary I would appreciate your insite on this because I am at a dead end as of right now.

P.S. CURRENTLY RATED AT 80%

Jim's Mailbag
October 28, 2010

Jim,

I am now a former VA employee due to mistreatment and bullying by the Administrative Officer in my department - with the complicity of the department chief. I have witnesses, backup documentation, and my mental health disability percentage was increased my 20%. My psychiatrist even gave me a letter saying I should leave the department, but I couldn't locate another job. It got to the point where I couldn't get up every morning or leave the house on some morning, so I had to put in for disability retirement.

I took my concerns to the union and the hospital human resources department. Needless to say nothing was really done. Also the department chief broke the Department of Labor rule about not interfering with my unpaid lunch break and exerting supervisory authority.

I cannot locate a lawyer to take my case. Can you provide any help or advise???

Jim's Mailbag
October 28, 2010

Jim,

My brother is MIA, Vietnam, 1973. He married a citizen of Vietnam while he was in Vietnam. They were coming home in 3 weeks when his Helicopter was shot down. A "search" took place for his wife and we were told they could not find her.

In 1997, I found her myself during my 2nd trip to Vietnam. She told me that when my brother did not come home for 2-3 days (they had an apartment in Da Nang while preparing for their departure) she went to the main gate of the base. Two officers cam out and consoled her, told her that hewas dead, they were sorry and then they sent her away.

So, in 2001, I finally got DIC for her. I have been through hell and back trying to get retro-active benefits for her. She did everything right, the officers should have treated her as the wife of a fallen soldier because that is what she was. I am not bitter or angry with what went on then, I am upset now because we have been passed off and told that she should be paid but no one knows who should do it.

Jim's Mailbag
October 23, 2010

Jim,

I do read just about all of your articles and am aware of what you say about someone who is 100% for TDIU and less for service connected disability applying for additional service connected disability to achieve 100%. I do believe that is good advice. I would like to outline my situation and ask for your opinion.

I am currently rated at 70% for General Anxiety and 100% for TDIU. I did serve in country in Vietnam with an Air Force Combat Security Police Squadron. I know that you need a 10 year time period from the date of awarded disability in order for your wife to be eligible for DIC in case of my death. I have a suggested diagnosis of Pick's disease (also known as frontal temporal dementia) based on a PET scan. In actuality the only way this disease can be proven is by an autopsy, so I may or may not have Pick's. If I do it is a slowly progressive disease and is always terminal. The time frame varies from person to person.

My latest disability percentage was awarded in Sept 2006. So I need to "stick around" until 2016 for her to be eligible for DIC unless I pass away from General Anxiety. I think that would be hard to prove. I am military retired, however I did not sign up for SBP

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

I wrote to you several months ago concerning my Hepatitis-C and wanted to follow up on that issue with you.

Went to see local VA rep and he advised me to seek a letter from my internist regarding the exposure factors. I received one lab result from the time I was active duty which is directly correlated with the time of exposure to the 74'-75' time frame. In addition to the service time working at Wilford Hall Medical Center with blood borne exposure daily. I hope to meet back with the rep this week and can then file to get this started.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

You have been a great help to me. I'm no writer...just wanted to say thanks.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

Is this crap true? I heard something about this from the DSO at the VA in Loma Linda, Ca. If so please send me some links to investigate. Thanks

VA, Prudential Made Secret Deal

Could this resonate as much as the Walter Reed scandal? Bloomberg reports that since 1999, Prudential Financial Inc. has had a secret agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows it to withhold lump-sum payments of life-insurance benefits to the family of fallen soldiers—so that Prudential can invest that money and keep whatever money it makes for itself. The arrangement was completely secret for 10 years until it was put into writing in 2009. "Every veteran I've spoken with is appalled at the brazen war profiteering by Prudential," says the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. Survivors who request lump-sum payments are sent "checkbooks"—essentially, IOUs that aren't insured by the FDIC—instead of actual checks. Prudential makes eight times as much through the investments as what it pays in interest to beneficiaries.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS OF A VETERAN THAT HAS BEEN CONTINOUSLY MISDIAGNOSED AT A VA HOSPITAL IN FAYETTEVILLE NC?

THIS IS A FEMALE VETERAN, IN SHORT I WILL EXPLAIN WHAT HAS HAPPEN OVER THE YEARS.

JUST APRIL 29, 2010, SHE WAS GIVEN A INJECTION THAT NEARLY KILLED HER. SHE HAS A HEART CONDITION AND A VERY LOW HEART RATE, BRADYCARDIA, THE VA WITHOUT READING THE RECORDS GAVE HER AN INJECTION OF NUBAIN WHICH CAUSES BRADYCARDIA.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

Good PM--James------saw yu got married-----so congrats!!!!----James just "heard" that since I am 70% SC and 30% IU----if I cash in---my wife gets ZERO---can yu shed any light on this for me @ yur convenience---THANX a lot loyal Veteran!!!!, for what yu do.

Reply:

My wife (over 15 years now) would be interested to hear I’ve gotten married. It may be best if we don’t tell her.

You're 100%, don't think about the IU part.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

First off thank you for all you do for veterans.

I am a Iraq combat infantry vet. I am 80%SC, 100%IU ( PTSD), P&T, SSDI.

I have been in thirty day inpatient programs here in Oregon. After all this I was thinking about trying to take a few class's at a community college (half time at most).

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

My wife is going to write a support letter for my IU claim. Diabetes and secondary's totaling 70%. Do you have any good advice for her support letter? We've been told to have the letter notarized.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

I wanted to thank you again for the last help you gave me about going for 100% or not to. I have another situation which I am not sure how to handle. I just received a letter from the VA tell me that they are conducting a review of my claims folder. Says my case was identified as a potential Nehmer class-member case based on the new additions of diseases related to A.O. My claim would have been for coronary artery disease which was originally denied. The coronary Artery disease was diagnosed by a VA Dr., after some testing I had done, and is on the list of medical problems. My heart problems are not life threatening, but I do take blood pressure, cholesterol, and anxiety meds. Also have a very brittle case of Diabetes, and the liver problems from Hep C.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

I am a vet from the Vietnam Era.

I am seen for healthcare at the VA HealthCare System in Chicago.

A week ago, I was scheduled at a critical surgery clinic. This clinic in itself is filled to the max on the one 'half day' that they meet per week.

What I arrived to last week at this clinic was a space, with seating for at best 20 patients, already filled to the maximum, with patients spilling out into the hallway.

After checking in which took nearly 30 minutes, I questioned what was going on but did not get an answer from the staff, who it seems, don't want to create rumblings about what is happening.

When I saw veterans on crutches and canes, or in wheel chairs, who could not even get into the space to check in, who had to wait for their names to be called by nurses and doctors out in the hallway, forced to stand, I kinda lost it and walked in to the Directors to voice my complaint as to what they were putting Veterans and staff through.

Within 30 minutes maintenance started arriving with more chairs, but that is simply not enough for what is happening here.

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

I know you are not a lawyer but with the cost of IHD as a AO presumptive disease, can congress approve one or more and deny the other or is it all or nothing?

Reply;

I believe all 3 new presumptives will come as a package, all or nothing. I also believe that it could be nothing.
 

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

I've found a web site that has V.A. publications and manuals that deal with what those people ( the V.A. ) are supposed to be doing for veterans. On my search engine, I typed in: www1.va.gov/vhapublications

Reply:

That’s a great site. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy getting mail from veterans like you who want to reach out to help other veterans. You made my day!
 

Jim's Mailbag
October 26, 2010

Jim,

Thank you for the work you do on behalf of all veterans.

After the hearing on AO Presumptive ISH conducted 9/23/10 where does leave the veteran? What is the next step in this process?

Will the VA start to process the previously denied claims. and if so when?

Reply:

No, VA will not begin processing claims...not to my knowledge. I believe more Congressional bickering, stalling and delays will happen first. I'm not yet convinced this will pass.