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Tuesday, December 12, 2017
VA Decision Ready Claims Program Expands to Include More Types of Claims
WASHINGTON — As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ongoing efforts to modernize and improve Veterans’ experience with the disability claims process, VA unveiled its latest enhancements to the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) program, which will expand the pool of Veterans, surviving spouses and service members eligible to participate in the program.
“These enhancements are another key step in modernizing VA’s benefits delivery to Veterans to a fully digital operating environment,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With electronic claims processing as a foundation, VA’s innovation will improve service to Veterans, their families and survivors.”
In addition to claims for increased disability compensation (commonly known as claims for increase), Veterans will now be able to file certain claims for direct service connection, presumptive service connection and secondary service connection. Additionally, surviving spouses will be able to file certain claims for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, and transitioning service members will be able to file pre-discharge claims less than 90 days from leaving the military. Veterans who choose to submit their claim under DRC can expect to receive a decision within 30 days from the time VA receives the claim.
To file under DRC, Veterans must work with an accredited Veteran Service Organization (VSO) representative, who will ensure all supporting evidence — such as medical exams, military service records, etc. — is included with the claim submission. This advance preparation by the VSOs allows claims to be assigned immediately to claims processors for a quick decision.
In the future, VA aims to expand the DRC program, where possible, to ensure more Veterans can get faster decisions on their claims. For more information about DRC or to find an accredited VSO representative,visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/DRC.asp
Posted by AgentOrangeZone at 9:09 AM No comments:
EPA targets two North Jersey Superfund sites for expedited cleanup
Much of the pollution comes from the former Diamond Alkali facility in Newark during the production of the notorious defoliant known as Agent Orange.
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The federal Environmental Protection Agency identified a portion of the Passaic River and Berry’s Creek in the Meadowlands on Friday as two Superfund sites that will receive more "intense attention" from the agency as it decides the best route for cleanups.
The two North Jersey sites are among 21 Superfund sites across the country that have been added to a special list requested by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to receive more immediate focus.
However, the new designation does not provide any additional funding to help with cleanups. And agreements with polluters, which often take years, will have to be secured.
The agency wants to target a nine-mile stretch of the Passaic River – from Belleville north to Clifton and Garfield – contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin.
Within the next month or two, companies and other entities responsible for the pollution are expected to submit to EPA an investigation they have been conducting that includes the nine miles, the agency said Friday evening.
The EPA already ordered polluters last year to conduct a $1.4 billion cleanup of the lower 8.3 miles of the river from Belleville south to Newark Bay.
Posted by AgentOrangeZone at 9:06 AM No comments:
Military toxins are becoming more harmful to our veterans
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Imagine surviving two deployments in Iraq, constantly dodging bombs and enemy gunfire, only to realize that the air you were once thankful to be able to breathe was making you sick. This is what happened to Sergeant Major Rob Bowman, who passed away from cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer, at the age of 44.
Unfortunately, as many military families know all too well, Sergeant Major Bowman’s situation is not unique. “Of the 30 men in Rob’s platoon who returned home, nearly one-third of them developed uncommon cancers and medical conditions,” said Coleen Bowman, Rob’s surviving spouse, “and the first doctor we saw confirmed immediately that the cause of Rob’s cancer was environmental, not genetic.”
The environmental exposure Bowman referenced — known as toxic exposures in the military — is of increased interest to lawmakers, advocates, and medical professionals as a result of the frequency with which it is occurring in post-9/11 veterans. However, given the notoriously slow pace of legislative oversight and government-funded medical studies, advocacy groups are now playing an important role in finding answers for military families.
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