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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

VA Reducing Copays for Outpatient Medications

The VA announced last month that it is amending its current regulations governing copays for outpatient medications for veterans with conditions that are not service-connected.

Currently, veterans receiving healthcare for conditions that are not connected to service pay either $8 or $9 for a 30-day or less supply of medication.

This new regulation puts outpatient medications into 3 categories or tiers and sets the copays accordingly. The new copays, effective February 27, 2017, are as follows:

$5 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 1 (preferred generics) medications
$8 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 2 (non-preferred generics, including over the counter) medications
$11 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 3 (brand name) medications

These changes will apply only to veterans receiving treatment for conditions that are not service-connected and who are not exempt from copayments.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Full Disability Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

On January 13, 2017, the VA published the final regulations to officially add 8 diseases related to exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to the VA Presumptive List.

While veterans are currently able to receive medical care for conditions related to their exposure, this new ruling means that veterans as well as active duty and National Guard members who served for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune, NC between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 are now eligible for full disability benefits for 8 diseases related to that exposure.

The 8 conditions being added to the Presumptive List are:

            Adult leukemia
            Bladder cancer
            Kidney cancer
            Liver cancer
            Multiple myeloma
            Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
            Parkinson’s Disease
            Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

All conditions on the VA Presumptive List are presumed service-connected and thus eligible for full VA Disability Benefits, including both healthcare and disability compensation.

This new ruling will be effective on March 14, 2017, but if you feel you have a condition related to this exposure, you can go ahead and submit a VA Disability Claim and it will be held until the ruling is in effect and the claim can be approved.

Check out our Lejeune Presumptive List for further details on these conditions and how they are rated.

For more information about healthcare benefits related to Camp Lejeune exposure, please visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/index.asp.


To get more information about reimbursement for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for eligible family members, visit https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Obama Strives to Improve Veterans’ Care Before Leaving Office

President Obama will be leaving office in two weeks, but before he goes, he took the time to sign a number of bills into law that affect veterans, two of which specifically benefit disabled veterans.

The first is the “Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016”. Years ago, Congress opted to recognize the sacrifices made by veterans injured in combat by not taxing their severance pay (pay received for a 0%, 10%, or 20% DoD Disability rating). Since January 17, 1991, however, taxes have been improperly withheld from this severance pay. In order to remedy this error, this new law allows combat-injured veterans who were medically separated to recover the money that was improperly paid in taxes from their severance pay. 

By the end of 2017, each veteran whose severance pay was improperly taxed will be notified of the amounts withheld and provided with directions for filing a return to get their money back. All veterans notified will have 1 year from the date of notification to file an amended tax return. If you are a combat-injured veteran who was separated with severance pay since 1991, you should be getting a notice sometime this year.

The second law Obama signed on December 16 is the “Faster Care for Veterans Act of 2016”. This law establishes a pilot program to allow veterans to use either a website or a mobile app to schedule and confirm medical appointments at VA Health Centers. This pilot program should be up and running in at least 3 Veterans Integrated Services Networks (VISNs) by the end of April 2017.

The patient self-scheduling appointment system will provide capability for the following:

1.     Schedule, change and/or cancel primary, specialty and mental health care appointments.
2.     View real-time appointment availability.
3.     Support both in-person and telehealth appointments.
4.     Make available in real-time appointments that open up due to cancellations.
5.     Provide prompts or reminders.
6.     Be available 24/7.
7.     Integrate with VA Health Information Systems.

The pilot program will last for at least 18 months and may be extended or expanded to additional VISNs by the VA Secretary if it is determined that the pilot program is indeed decreasing wait times and filling more available appointment times.