Veterans Benefits Administration Image: Brick wall background, letters VASRD, some with images. Text: VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities Update Sleep Apnea, Mental Health, Tinnitus Dear Veteran, The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing changes to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities specifically pertaining to the respiratory, auditory and mental disorders body systems. The proposed updates to the rating schedule for these conditions will enable VA to incorporate modern medical data and terminology to provide Veterans with more accurate and consistent decisions. Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition in these body systems will not have their disability rating impacted when the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is updated. Updating the rating schedule allows Veterans to receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge relating to their condition. By incorporating modern medical data in the assessment of disabilities and how they impact earning capacity, Veterans will receive evaluations which more accurately compensate them for their service-connected disabilities. Proposed updates include: Modernizing the evaluative rating criteria for sleep apnea, using developments in medical knowledge to evaluate it based on its responsiveness to treatment, bringing the rating criteria for sleep apnea more closely in line with the stated purpose of the rating schedule. Evaluating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a symptom of the underlying disease which causes it, rather than as a stand-alone disability. Evaluating mental health conditions based on a more robust and holistic approach that assesses how impactful the disability is to cognition, interpersonal relationships, task completion, life activities and self-care. Additionally, the proposed evaluation criteria include a 10% minimum evaluation for having one or more service-connected mental health conditions and will no longer require “total occupational and social impairment” to attain a 100% evaluation. No change to a Veteran’s current rating would occur due to these proposed changes. If the proposed changes are finalized, Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition can apply for increased compensation, but no reductions shall be made unless an improvement in the Veteran’s disability is shown to have occurred. The public has 60 days to provide comments to VA regarding the two proposed updates via the Federal Register notices located here and here. Thomas J. Murphy Director, Northeast District Performing the Delegable Duties of the Under Secretary for Benefits .
If you are interested!! As part of the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, each of the 58,281 names on The Wall will be read between November 7 – 10, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Learn more about "The Reading of the Names" go to the following link https://www.vvmf.org/ROTN) If you are interesting in volunteering to read names during that time in Washington, D.C., you can now register for specific names or times to read this November. Before signing up, you will need to do the following: Confirm that you will be in-person in Washington, D.C. during that time A valid email address to sign-up with Go to the link below to search by a specific name or time to register. While you may register for a single specific name, each reading slot will include 30 names to read. go to this link: https://www.vvmf.org/reading-of-the-names-2022/ Please note that the registration period will close on August 1st. After the registration is closed, we will work to confirm reading slots as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience as we work through any conflicting requests. This event relies heavily on volunteers like you to make sure that each of the 58,281 names are read and properly honored. We thank you in advance for your support of this special 40th anniversary commemoration.
The South Carolina State Council has approved and made an official challenge coin to represent all VVA Veterans within the State of South Carolina. State Council sent out notices to Chapter Members to contact their Chapter Presidents if they wish to purchase one or more coins at a cost of $10, If the coins are mailed there will be a shipping and handling charge. The Chapter Presidents will contact one of us State Council members as to the number of coins needed. Charles Davies, email@example.com, will be the contact person for Chapters 780 Charleston, 925 Myrtle Beach; Jay Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org, will be the contact person for Chapters 303 Columbia, 1145 Aiken, 960 Manning, 828 Salkehatchie; Larry Miller email@example.com, will be the contact person for Chapters 523 Greenville, 644 Piedmont (Union), 1017 Walhalla, 1049 Spartanburg. Should there be any questions contact one of the members listed in your area
Back in July 1973 a Fire broke out in the National Personnel Records, St Louis which created disaster for many Service Personnel. For years many of the Vietnam Veterans records were missing which contained important information pertaining to their service enlistment. I do not how many Vietnam Veterans received metals but was not listed on their service records. A Fellow Vietnam Veterans sent the two articles listed below, Interesting reading!
conditions.VA has screened 5 million Veterans for toxic exposures, paving the way for early detection and treatment of health conditions .
A key component of the PACT Act and President Biden’s Unity Agenda for the nation, these toxic exposure screenings begin an important conversation about exposure health risks between Veterans and their medical providers
WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has screened 5 million Veterans for toxic exposures — a critical step to detecting, understanding, and treating potentially life-threatening health conditions. Of the 5 million Veterans who have received the screening, 2.1 million (43%) reported at least one potential exposure.
The screening takes five to 10 minutes and begins with VA health providers asking Veterans if they believe they experienced any toxic exposures while serving in the armed forces. Veterans who answer yes are then asked follow-up questions and offered connections to information on benefits, registry-related medical exams, and other clinical resources, as indicated. Their responses to the screenings are then added to their VA medical record to be included as part of their future care.
This milestone comes just 13 months after the screening launched at VA medical centers and clinics nationwide as a part of the PACT Act. The PACT Act expanded VA health care and benefits to millions of Veterans, paving the way for VA to deliver more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before in 2023.
“By screening Veterans for toxic exposures, we can improve their health care and detect potential health challenges as early as possible,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This leads to better health outcomes — and better quality of life — for these heroes who were exposed to toxins while serving our country.”
“We have made significant progress toward our goal to screen all Veterans enrolled in VA health care for toxic exposures at least once every five years,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal, M.D. “But most importantly, this milestone means we’ve had 5 million opportunities to provide Veterans with the exposure-informed care they deserve.”
The screening covers a variety of different types of toxic exposures, but the two most reported exposures are burn pits and Agent Orange, which together make up more than 60% of Veteran responses. More than half of the Veterans screened (2.6 million) are 65 years old or older, with Veterans under 45 making up just over 900,000 of those screened. Of the nearly 650,000 Women Veterans who regularly use VA care, more than 535,000 have been screened for toxic exposures.
While the toxic exposure screening does not play a role in determining disability compensation, it does provide an opportunity to connect Veterans with the resources they need to file a claim. Each Veteran who reports a potential exposure receives a letter with information about how to apply for benefits.
To fulfill the goal of screening every Veteran enrolled in VA health care at least once every five years, VA is exploring new and innovative ways to reach out to Veterans, including those who are vulnerable or don’t routinely access VA care. The Department is also in the pilot stages of developing a self-screening tool that will make the initial question of the screening even more easily accessible to Veterans with access to web-based electronic communications.
The PACT Act has expanded and extended access to VA health care for Veterans. Thanks to the PACT Act and other new laws, many groups of Veterans are now able to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits – including World War II Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Veterans who deployed to a combat zone and transitioned out of the service less than 10 years ago, and more. As President Biden directed, all remaining toxic-exposed Veterans will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care next year under the PACT Act – including any Veteran who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other combat zones during the Persian Gulf War or after 9/11. Veterans who aren’t currently enrolled can submit an application and receive their toxic exposure screening after enrollment.
The PACT Act also expanded VA benefits for millions of Veterans, making more than 300 health conditions “presumptive” for service connection. This means that if an eligible Veteran has one of these health conditions, VA automatically assumes that the condition was caused by the Veteran’s service and provides compensation and care accordingly. VA encourages Veterans and their survivors to apply for these benefits now at VA.gov/PACT.