Blue Water Veterans Bill Passes House – What’s Next?

A bill has passed the House of Representatives that will extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for “Blue Water Veterans”, veterans that served off the coast during the Vietnam War.

This is a major victory for Blue Water Vets who have been denied benefits for their Agent Orange related conditions. The bill must also pass the Senate and then signed into law by the President, and it is likely that it will without much resistance.

Once it is passed into law, the VA will develop regulations to implement this new extension of presumption to Blue Water Veterans. Special consideration should be paid with how the VA implements the new law.

The VA may decide to grant a Blue Water Veteran’s Agent Orange claim, however, the effective date may reflect the date of the law change and not the date of the claim. That is unacceptable. We saw this with the Camp Lejeune law that was passed in March 2017.

If you are a Blue Water Veteran and the VA does not grant you the correct effective date, specifically, the date of the filing of your claim, then that is an issue that can and should be appealed. Our VA Disability attorneys will help you hold the VA accountable and assist with your effective date appeals.

Is the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) Right for You?

The VA is rolling out invitations to their new “RAMP” appeals process, but what exactly is RAMP and is it right for you?

RAMP requires a veteran to withdraw his/her appeal and enroll in the “new” claims process. After enrolling, a veteran has to choose between filing a “new claim” or requesting an “informal hearing” to present the case without the ability to submit new evidence. The VA has not released any specific details about how the new process will be governed. The VA is asking you to trust that they will get it right.

Do you trust the VA to get it right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to distrust the VA and this new process. The VA is pushing hard for veterans to enroll into this system before they have a full grasp on how they will handle these claims. If you enroll in RAMP and you are denied, your claim will remain in limbo until the new appeals process is revealed in full.

If you are withdrawing an appeal and enrolling in RAMP, you are giving up your place in line to go before a Board of Veterans Appeals Judge. Giving up that chance is a huge gamble, so you must make sure that your case is strong.

Contact our VA Disability attorneys and request a free consultation to determine if your case is ready for RAMP.

Gulf War Syndrome/Illness related Conditions – VA Benefits

The VA recognizes certain conditions are related to a veteran’s service in the Middle East. Specifically, if you have any of the following conditions or symptoms, you may be entitled to VA Disability Benefits:
  • Fatigue

  • Signs or symptoms involving skin

  • Headaches

  • Muscle pains

  • Joint pains

  • Neurological signs or symptoms

  • Neuropsychological signs or symptoms

  • Respiratory signs or symptoms

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms

  • Cardiovascular signs or symptoms

  • Abnormal weight loss

  • Menstrual disorders

In addition to those issues, the VA also grants a presumption for an “undiagnosed illness” or a medical unexplained condition resulting in symptoms such as: chronic fatigue syndrome; fibromyalgia; and functional gastrointestinal disorders.

The VA may deny your claim by citing to medical evidence that your condition is medically diagnosed or of a known etiology. The VA often misdiagnoses conditions or uses a faulty Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination as the basis for the decision. Do not accept the VA’s decision without consulting a VA Disability Benefits Attorney to ensure the VA is giving you the benefit of the doubt.

If you served in the Gulf and are suffering from an unknown or unexplained illness that the VA denied, contact VA Disability Attorney Ryan Coskrey today for a free consultation.

Multiple Sclerosis – VA Benefits

If you suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and any of your symptoms presented within 7 years of your discharge from military service, then you meet the presumption for VA Disability Benefits.

Do not accept a VA denial on your request for benefits for Multiple Sclerosis. The VA has mistakenly denied numerous claims for Multiple Sclerosis, ignoring the regulations that extend the 7 year presumption to veterans.

The VA may rely upon flawed Compensation and Pension examinations to deny your claim to benefits, but a VA Disability Benefits Attorney can skillfully argue your case and help you obtain the benefits that you deserve.

Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating condition that VA adjudicators fail to grasp. Our VA Disability attorneys have assisted veterans with Multiple Sclerosis and understands the evidentiary requirement to prove your case.

Do not rely on non-legal experts and VA adjudicators when it comes to these important benefits. Call our VA disability attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help your claim for service connection for Multiple Sclerosis or for an increased rating for your condition.

Disabilities related to Agent Orange

The U.S. military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of various herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos from 1961 to 1971. Agent Orange, which contained the deadly chemical dioxin, was the most commonly used herbicide sprayed during the war. The chemicals were also used and handled in various other military installations across the world.

For years, the VA denied that Agent Orange and other herbicides caused long-term health effects. Medical studies and Congressional action forced the VA to recognize the harm caused by the exposure to these chemicals.

Currently, the VA recognizes the following conditions are related to exposure to Agent Orange:

  • AL amyloidosis

  • Chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne

  • Type 2 diabetes (also known as Type II diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes)

  • Hodgkin’s disease

  • Ischemic heart disease (including, but not limited to, acute, subacute, and old myocardial infarction; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease (including coronary spasm) and coronary bypass surgery; and stable, unstable and Prinzmetal’s angina)

  • All chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia)

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Early-onset peripheral neuropathy

  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

  • Prostate cancer

  • Respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea)

  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)

If you were exposed to Agent Orange during service in the Republic of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, or Laos, and suffer or suffered from one of the aforementioned conditions then you may be entitled to VA Disability Benefits.

The VA only recognizes service in the Republic of Vietnam as “boots on the ground” and does not extend the presumption to certain veterans who served in “Blue Water” areas around the coast of Vietnam. If you served in the Navy and at some point you went ashore or within the inland waterways of Vietnam, you may be eligible for VA Disability Benefits.

Other conditions are not yet considered to be “presumptively linked” with Agent Orange, such as hypertension. Medical evidence has already established a link between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure and the VA may soon recognize the link.

It is important to note that even if you do not fall into any of the “presumptive” categories, you may still be eligible for benefits. If you have medical evidence, such as a doctor’s opinion, that your condition is related to Agent Orange or other herbicide exposure then you may be eligible for VA Disability Benefits.

Call us today to discuss your Agent Orange related claim with a VA Disability attorney.

Was Your VA Disability Claim Denied?

The VA denies claims for a number of reasons. Typically, the VA takes the position that your current disability is not related to your military service. You may have had an injury during your active duty service, however, that does not guarantee that the VA will approve your claim.

The VA may also decide that your condition is not severe enough to warrant an increased rating or simply rate your disability too low. The VA rating system is carefully crafted and requires specific evidence that is not often found in your medical treatment records. If you do not have the help of an expert, the VA has an edge in this legal battle.

The VA may require you to produce specific evidence in support of your claim. A VA Disability Attorney should be contacted immediately to evaluate your case and provide you with an assessment of the evidence that is needed to prove your case.

The VA regulations are vast and complex; it takes a VA Disability Attorney to navigate them and put you in a stronger position to win your claim. Our attorneys can help develop your case to assist you at both the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals level.

Our firm provides a free consultation and does not bill you by the hour for our services. Call us today and speak with VA Disability attorney to find out how we can help you with your VA Disability case.

Hiring a VA Disability Attorney

If you have been denied VA Disability Benefits or if your rating is too low, you need a VA Disability Attorney.

A claim for disability benefits or an appeal places you in a legal battle with the VA. Attorneys are outperforming all other types of representatives according to the latest Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) Fiscal Report. Attorneys win a higher percentage of cases than DAV, VFW, American Legion, and State Service Organizations.

Veterans who do not have representation are two and a half times more likely to get denied compared to having an attorney, according to the latest BVA Report. We are experts. Let us help you fight for your benefits!

Call our office and get an expert on your side. These benefits are your livelihood and this legal battle is best fought by an experienced attorney.