VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Public Affairs Team Member
Do you have a disability, medical condition or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service? You may be eligible for tax-free disability compensation.
VA’s Decision Ready Claims (DRC) program allows you to expedite your claim and have an answer within 30 days of when VA receives it.
To submit a DRC, you should:
Work on the submission with an accredited Veteran Service Organization (VSO). Here in Southeastern Oklahoma we use the capability of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Claims and Benefits Representatives.
Gather the required supporting evidence, such as military service records and medical exams.
Attend a VA claim exam, if needed, before submitting your claim. In Oklahoma (right now) these VA Claims Exams appointments will be obtained after submitting the claim. The Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs has not yet obtained the authority to make the claims exams appointment.
In addition to claims for increases, DRC covers certain claims related to direct service, presumptive service and secondary service connections. Surviving spouses can file certain claims under DRC and transitioning service members can use it to file pre-discharge claims less than 90 days from leaving the military.
Visit Explore.VA.gov to learn more about all VA benefits and how to apply or click the button below to get started on your disability claim.
Lisa Mussett will not be at the Antlers City Hall Annex this coming Thursday July 19th, Her boss will be there from 10am to 2 pm.
As of August 20th, 2018 Lisa Mussett will be leaving and will be taking over her new role as the Women’s Veteran Director where she will be encouraging female veterans to come in and obtain their benefits. A new position within the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs with offices in Oklahoma City, OK.
Who is replacing her, good question which is unknown at this time.
Last year, the Forever GI Bill was signed into law, revamping veteran education benefits. Some of the changes that will take place this upcoming semester affect the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program, some Purple Heart recipients, students attending classes and internships that are in different zip codes, among other provisions. Please reach out to your individual schools to find out if any changes will impact your enrollment status. Early action could help mitigate effects on tuition or BAH payments.
A recent Pentagon audit revealed that more than 130,000 veterans who were medically separated as a result of injuries sustained in combat, and received a disability severance, may be entitled to a significant tax refund. Under federal law, disability severance paid as a result of combat injuries is intended to be tax-free. However, from 1991 to 2016, the automated payment system maintained by DOD failed to properly identify those payments as being tax exempt and withheld between 20-25 percent of the payment, resulting in an overpayment of federal income tax. If you feel that you may be entitled to a refund, you can find more information including how to file an amended income tax return through the Internal Revenue Service.
If you are a veteran who was medically separated from service between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2009, with a rating of 30 percent or less and feel the rating is inaccurate, you now have the ability to file an appeal through the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR). The result of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, the PDBR provides veterans a way to appeal their initial Department of Defense disability ratings, and often results in a medical discharge being upgraded to a medical retirement. See your local VFW Service Officer about the application process.
Smartphone feature provides immediate access to Veterans Crisis Line
VA is excited to announce that service members and Veterans can connect to the Veterans Crisis Line using these simple words. The Siri function on Apple’s iPhone and the Google Assistant function on Android phones now automatically dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which also serves the Veterans Crisis Line, even if the number (1-800-273-8255) is not saved in the phone’s contact list. Callers will need to Press 1 in order to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals using innovative tools to make a record number of decisions
Strengthened by innovative tools, VA recently issued a record number of decisions for Veterans appealing their disability benefits claims.
As of July 11, VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals has issued more than 64,025 decisions for fiscal year 2018, a record high tied to several efficiency innovations, including a new interactive decision template and a specialty case team, which have allowed the Board to serve more Veterans.
“Decisions made by the Board affect Veterans’ lives and it’s up to VA to keep improving this process,” said VA Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “We will continue to innovate throughout VA even while employing the new tools that are already making the process better for service to Veterans.”
Some examples of those important decisions made by the Board include:
- Collaborating with the Veterans Benefits Administration, within 24 hours of a Board hearing, to begin disbursement of nearly $50,000 in benefits to a homeless widow of a retired Veteran;
- Saving a Veteran from foreclosure due to quick action from VBA, the Board, and a local Veterans Service Organization; and
- Ensuring that a terminally ill Veteran on life support received qualifying benefits quickly after the Board was able to draft, issue and dispatch a decision-granting benefits expeditiously.
“Our goal is to provide answers to Veterans and their families,” said Chairman Cheryl L. Mason, Board of Veterans’ Appeals. “We will continue to do so as expeditiously as possible with improved customer service while employing every efficiency.”
The mission of VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals is to conduct hearings and deliver decisions on appeals in a timely manner. Final decisions on such appeals are made by the Board based on all of the evidence, including the Veteran’s medical records, and consideration of applicable provisions of law and regulation.
For more information about the Veterans appeals process, visit www.bva.va.gov/.