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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

24,000 Veterans Previously Denied TBI May Now Be Eligible

On June 1, 2016, VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced that the VA has granted equitable relief to over 24,000 disabled veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) who were previously denied VA disability benefits for their condition.

In 2007, the VA decided that all TBI exams for disability compensation had to be performed by either a psychiatrist, a physiatrist, a neurologist, or a neurosurgeon since these specialists have the most experience diagnosing and treating TBI. In so doing, however, thousands of veterans whose TBI exams were not conducted by one of these specialists had their claims denied or where not fully compensated.

After reviewing all the TBI examinations performed between 2007 and 2015, the VA has determined that the 24,000+ veterans whose exams did not meet requirements should be given the opportunity to have their cases re-evaluated and re-adjudicated in order for them to receive the fair compensation they deserve.

The VA will contact the affected veterans identified by this review directly and offer them a chance for a new exam and to have their claims reprocessed. The VA will review a veteran’s disability claim based on the new exam without the veteran having to file a new claim. If the veteran is due any additional benefits, the VA will set an effective date as early as the date of the veteran’s first TBI claim.

“Providing support for Veterans suffering from a TBI is a priority and a privilege, and we must make certain they receive a just and fair rating for their disabilities,” said Secretary McDonald. “We let these Veterans down. That is why we are taking every step necessary to grant equitable relief to those affected to ensure they receive the full benefits to which they are entitled.”