Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Help Available for Veterans Wanting to Upgrade a Less-than-Honorable Discharge

The VA and DoD have announced the development of a new online tool to assist veterans who need to upgrade their military discharge. The DOD estimates that there are tens of thousands of other-than-honorably (OTH) discharged veterans who received their designation unjustly, such as those whose discharges were related to circumstances like TBI, PTSD, sexual orientation, or sexual harassment.

In the past, these kinds of circumstances were not satisfactorily recognized, leading to many unjust OTH discharges. The VA and DoD are now trying to help these veterans get the benefits they should be entitled to by making it easier to correct an unjust OTH discharge.

According to the new online tool, veterans have a strong chance for an upgrade if they can connect their discharge to any of the following:

   - PTSD or other mental health disorders
   - TBI
   - sexual assault or harassment while in the military
   - sexual orientation, even under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

Veterans who are successful in upgrading their discharge are then eligible to apply for disability and other benefits available to veterans through the VA.

With just a few short questions to answer, this new tool provides veterans with information and guidance geared specifically to their individual case, such as what forms to fill out, which armed services’ board to contact, how and where to submit the appeals application, and other tips designed to help them navigate the process.


By launching this tool, the VA and the DoD hope to enable veterans wanting to change or upgrade their discharge by giving them the information and resources they need all in one place, which could result in some of these veterans finally receiving the much needed benefits that they are currently denied.

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Sporting Events for Disabled Veterans

There are several notable sporting events for disabled veterans coming up in 2018 that are geared to a wide range of experience and ability levels. These events are held in several locations across the country, with one international event, the Invictus Games, held this year in Sydney, Australia. Links to further information about each event is provided below.

The Valor Games, designed to be an introduction to the experience of competing with a disability, are open to both disabled veterans and active duty personnel.  Events range from cycling to archery, volleyball, and more. Lodging, meals, and ground transportation during the 3-day event will be provided for all participants.

The Valor Games are regional, with the Valor Games Southeast being held this year in the Raleigh, North Carolina from May 21-24. The ValorGames Far West will be held in Alameda, CA from May 31- June 3. Click the links above for more information. Registration for both Valor Games is now open.

The National VeteransWheelchair Games will be held this year in Orlando, Florida from July 30 - August 4. Events include archery, basketball, slalom, swimming, weightlifting, and much more. Registration for the Wheelchair Games is now open and will close April 15. Follow the link for more information and to apply.

The National VeteransGolden Age Games are open to all veterans 55 and older, including those with disabilities and/or limited abilities, who receive their health care from the VA. They will be held from August 3-8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Online registration opens April 2 and closes May 2. For more information, please visit VA.gov.

The Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament is now a National event. This year, the TEE Tournament will be held in Iowa City, IA, from September 9-14. It is designed as a rehabilitative experience for legally blind or disabled veterans, where veterans compete in golf and bowling events. Registration is now open and closes May 1st.

The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic will be held this year in San Diego, CA from September 16-21.  This week-long event is open to veterans whose conditions developed in the last 6 years including. Conditions can include TBI, amputations, PTSD, visual impairment, and many more. Veterans will participate in a wide range of water and land events, including track and field, surfing and kayaking, and more.

The Invictus Games is an international event sponsored by Prince Harry. The Games [rj1] will be held in Sydney, Australia from October 20-27. Open to wounded warriors from around the world, the games will host over 500 competitors from 17 nations who will compete in 10 adaptive sports.



Monday, January 15, 2018

Executive Order Expands Mental Health Care for Transitioning Veterans

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life.”

The major focus of this order will be to reduce veteran suicide. In their first year after discharge, veterans are at a particularly high risk for suicide—1½ to 2 times more than any other population group. According to a fact sheet on the Executive Order issued by the White House, only about 50% of those who need mental health care during this time period seek or receive it, and only about half of those who do receive it, only receive adequate care.

Over the next 2 months, the Executive Order directs the Secretaries of the Department of Defense (DoD), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Homeland Security to create and begin implementing a Joint Action Plan to provide “seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for transitioning uniformed service members in the year” following military service.
Starting on March 9, 2018, the order will provide all transitioning veterans with mental health care for at least a year after their discharge, regardless of service-connection.
While all of the details have not yet been worked out, the expansion of care is expected to include expanding peer group sessions to all of the VA’s Whole Health facilities. Whole Health centers provide support by encouraging veterans to connect with others, share their stories, and set goals.
The DoD will also expand its Military One Source program to allow veterans to use it for a full year after discharge rather than the 180 days currently allowed.
In addition, the VA announced four new technology initiatives designed to help expand health care access. The VA’s Anywhere to Anywhere, which uses telehealth technology to provide remote care to veterans anywhere in the country, will be expanded. VA Video Connect, an app that connects providers with veterans anywhere in the country via their mobile phone or computer, will also be expanded. The new Online Scheduling Tool will be introduced at over 100 VA healthcare facilities around the nation so that veterans can schedule appointments from their computers or mobile phones. Finally, the VA will launch their Access and Quality Tool, allowing veterans to have online access to both wait times at VA facilities and quality-of-care data.
Calling the order a “historic step to make sure that our incredible veterans are taken care of in a proper manner,” President Trump stated:

“We must ensure that our veterans are given the care and support they so richly deserve. That is our unwavering commitment to those who served under the flag of the United States.”


Monday, January 8, 2018

Thirty-Day Comment Period for Caregiver Support Program

On January 5, 2018, the VA announced it has opened a 30-day comment period, seeking public opinion on the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. The 30-day comment period was opened through a Federal Register Notice.

This is your opportunity to tell the VA about your experiences, point out problems that you have encountered, and offer suggestions for ways to solve those problems and improve support for caregivers.

The VA will take all comments into account as they strive to strengthen this program.

People who wish to comment may do so by following this link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/05/2018-00004/notice-of-request-for-information-on-the-department-of-veterans-affairs-program-of-comprehensive.  

For more information about the VA’s Caregiver Support Program, please visit https://www.caregiver.va.gov