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.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Veterans Backlog Reduction Act

Over the past year, there has been a significant amount of media coverage regarding the VA’s excessive backlog of disability cases. They are months behind on processing these claims, and it is taking far too long for our disabled veterans, many of whom cannot work to support themselves or their families, to receive the benefits they need to basically survive.

Fortunately, there are two bills currently in Congress that are designed to help address this ubiquitous issue. Unfortunately, neither of these bills has been passed yet.

The first bill, the “Veterans Backlog Reduction Act” (H.R. 1739), I’ll cover today, and the second bill, “An Act to improve the processing of disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes” (could they have picked a longer name?), I’ll address next week.

The Veterans Backlog Reduction Act has been sitting in the House of Representatives since April 2013. Once this bill finally gets passed, the following will occur.

The VA will give what they call “provisional benefits” to anyone who’s claim is not processed within 125 days. This means that if your claim for benefits is not processed within 125 days of the date you submitted it, the VA will pay you a set amount of money each month until they finish processing your claim, starting on the 125th day. The exact amount of this payment is determined by one of two things.  It will either be (1) the average amount they pay to other people who have your same condition, or (2) the amount that is given to someone with a 40% rating, whichever is LESS. So if the amount given to someone with a 40% rating is less than the average amount given to people with your condition (or vice-versa), then that is what you will be given, every month, until they finish processing your claim.

Right now, as long as your VA disability claim is submitted within the first 12 months after you leave the military, the VA gives back payments for the time between your date of separation and the VA’s rating decision. Under the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act, this will still occur, but the amount you received in “provisional benefits” will be subtracted from the amount you would have received for this period.

For example, let’s say that Billy has a condition that entitles him to $200/month of provisional benefits since his claim was not processed within 125 days. He receives this amount for 6 months before his claim is finally processed, so in total he receives $1,200 of provisional benefits. Once his claim is processed, he is entitled to $300/month. He had been separated from the military for 10 months (6 months plus the 125 days) before his claim was finalized. He should receive $3,000 in back pay for those 10 months ($300/month for 10 months = $3,000), but since he was already given $1,200, he only receives $1,800 ($3,000 - $1,200 = $1,800). Got it?

On the flip side: Good news! If your Rating Decision gives you less than the amount the VA paid you over those months, you won’t receive any back pay, but you won’t have to pay them back the extra money they gave you. You get to keep it. Awesome.

That’s it for the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act. Again, it has not been passed yet, but is still sitting in the House of Representatives. Let’s hope they get on this soon so you can get this much needed financial help while you wait for them to fix their backlog with the other bill that’s sitting in Congress, which I’ll discuss next week.


4 comments:

  1. Democrats and Republicans are jumping to take on the VA Backlog. Not one of these people gave a second thought to the cruel way the VA is treating our veterans until the past few weeks. After the fiasco of the government shutdown, the spying incident, and the Obama-Care that can't be accessed, politicians from both parties are scrambling to save their jobs! Elected officials finally realize that voters are going to get rid of every Incumbent in the next few elections.
    Politicians are claiming they are going to fix the VA Backlog, and they deserve credit for it. Congress and the Senate, with the President's blessing, passed several pieces of legislation, giving the VA billions of dollars. Yet, 700,000 of our injured, sick and wounded American veteran soldiers are still suffering and dying while begging for help from the VA.
    The VA executives, lawyers and claims adjusters are sure enjoying that billions of taxpayers' dollars. They are getting huge salaries, $20,000-$50,000 in annual bonuses for not doing their job, complete family medical benefits (not Obama Care, either), and trips to exotic places for so-called conferences in 5-Star hotels, with lavish meals, spas, and etc.
    Every day, VA claims adjusters pick up veteran's claims, glances at them briefly, and immediately deny them. A letter is sent to the disabled veterans, and they must then appeal this decision. Once the appeal is sent back to the VA, it goes into a much worse backlog, the VA Claims Appeals Backlog. This backlog is better known as cardboard boxes full of claims tossed into some storage room. Once the veteran's claim reaches this appeals level, it will be 5-7 years, or maybe more before the claim is glanced at again. Appeals are never worked on, because the claims that are in appeals do not count toward the number of backlogged claims the VA has to report. So, the VA goal is deny as many claims as possible, get them into appeals, and forget they exist. "DENY, DENY, UNTIL THEY DIE!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. NOTHING WILL CHANGE! CONGRESS WILL GIVE THE VA ‘BILLIONS MORE DOLLARS,’ and they will divide it up among themselves. Our Veterans will not get their compensation and medical care. These VA thieves will get more salary, bigger bonuses, more lavish vacations, more expensive homes, cars and etc.
    All of a sudden, every politician, Democrat and Republican is jumping to take on the VA Backlog. Not one of these men or women gave a second thought to the cruel way the VA is treating our veterans until the past few weeks. After the fiasco of the government shutdown, the spying incident, and the Obama-Care, that can't be accessed, all the politicians from both parties are scrambling like rats on a sinking ship to save their jobs! These elected officials finally realize that us voters are going to get rid of every incumbent Congressman, Senator, and etc. in the next few elections. The President has already served his two terms, so we won't need to vote him out.
    So now, here we are with all these politicians claiming they are going to fix the VA Backlog, and they deserve credit for it. All the while, things aren't getting any better. Congress and the Senate, with the President's blessing, have passed several pieces of legislation, given the VA billions of dollars, and 700,000 of our injured, sick and wounded American veteran soldiers are still suffering and dying while begging for help from the VA.
    The VA executives, lawyers and claims adjusters are sure enjoying that billions of taxpayers' dollars. They are getting huge salaries, $20,000-$50,000 in annual bonuses for not doing their job, complete family medical benefits (not Obamacare, either), and trips to exotic places for so-called conferences in 5-Star hotels, with lavish meals, spas, and etc.
    Here is what happens at the VA every day. A VA claims adjuster picks up a veteran's claim, glances at it briefly, and immediately denies it. Then a letter is sent to the disabled veteran. The veteran must then appeal this decision. Once the appeal is sent back to the VA and received, it goes into a much worse backlog, the VA Claims Appeals Backlog. This backlog is better known as cardboard boxes full of claims tossed into some storage room, never to be touched. Once the veteran's claim reaches this appeals level, it will be 5-7 years, or maybe more before the claim is glanced at again. Most appeals are never worked on, because the claims that are in appeals do not count toward the number of backlogged claims the VA has to report. So, the goal is to deny as many claims as possible, get them into appeals, and forget they exist.
    While all this cruel, heartless behavior is going on at the VA, the executives, lawyers and adjusters are singing their national anthem, "DENY, DENY, UNTIL THEY DIE! What a National Disgrace!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here we go again. Just another excuse from Hickey and the VA. One more reason to not take care of our veterans. Here we are in the New Year,2014. VA employees ( Shinseki, Hickey, & all the others) will be sitting in their warm, comfortable homes enjoying their lavish lifestyles. Every one of these greedy, heartless individuals should have to live like our disabled veterans. Our injured, sick and wounded American veteran soldiers are still suffering this New Year, BEGGING the VA for compensation and medical care. But, the VA employees DON'T CARE ABOUT VETERANS! As long as they drag this process out, refusing to take care of our military veterans, these VA employees can KEEP THEIR HIGHLY- PAID JOBS, live in expensive homes and laugh at veterans ( DENY, DENY, UNTIL THEY DIE!),while enjoying another New Year. SHAME ON each and every one of them!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Despite the numerous problems within the VA, the majority of our veterans are receiving the proper benefits that they deserve. I know many whose claims have been satisfactorily processed and are receiving their fair pay. And while there may be some claim adjusters who are inappropriately handling claims, I still believe that the majority are fair and honest. When I worked as an advisor to the Physical Disability Review Board, it was vital to us that we honorably and fairly consider each veteran's disability. I often spent many hours pouring over every aspect of a veteran's case, combing through every medical file, before determining the best way to rate his disability. And I know that all of the people I worked with at the time did the same.

    That being said, there are still many veterans that are not receiving their deserved benefits and that are being harmed by the ineffectiveness of the VA's system.

    This is indeed unacceptable.

    Each and every veteran deserves to receive fair compensation for their disability.

    As the head of www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, I try to fight for fairness by given the veterans the tools they need to take control of their disability and not be just another victim.

    As a veteran myself, I support programs and groups that are trying to make changes.

    As a voter and taxpayer, I make my voice heard by supporting those who truly are trying to improve the system.

    We are only victims until we try to make things happen.

    ReplyDelete