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VET's HELPING VET'S Information every VETERAN should have!


Explanation On How Ratings Are Achieved

Once the combinatorial arithmetic is completed they round to the nearest 10% so that 95% become 100%. It is a procedural thing that they start with the largest rating first but the end result is the same regardless of the sequence in which the several ratings are included.

For the arithmetically challenged Section 4.25 of the above URL provides a table of how to combine multiple ratings. But just for a quicky example, let's say you have two ratings of 60% and 50% ... obviously the sum is 110% but that is not the procedural solution.

The first rating of 60% disability leaves 40% non-disability.

The second rating of 50% is applied to the 40% non-disability to provide an added disability of 20% (50% X 40%). This increment is added to the initial 60% to provide a total disability of 80% which leaves 20% non-disability.

If there were a third rating, that percentage would be applied to the remaining 20% non-disability and the result added to the summed disability (in this case 80%) and the remaining non-disability determined for the next rating as necessary. The final disability result is rounded to then nearest 10%

http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html


Vet Consortium Pro Bono Program
The Veterans Consortium is an organization established to provide free attorneys for unrepresented veterans who have an appeal pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and who are not otherwise able to obtain counsel to assist them. This is a co-operative effort by four veterans' service organizations - the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The Consortium recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to help needy appellants with their appeals at the Court. If a veteran has filed an appeal with the Court and has not been able to obtain his or her own attorney within 30 days, he or she can then request assistance from the Pro Bono Program. Contact Veteran Issues vetsprobono@rcn.com mailto:vetsprobono@rcn.com directly or check out www.probono.org http://www.probono.org if you need assistance at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. You can also write: Ronald B. Abrams, Esq., Director,
Outreach & Education Components,
601 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Suite 1010,
Washington D.C. 20004-2935
Tel: [202] 628-8164/8169 Fax or [888]] 838-7727

[Source: ColonelDan@worldnet.att.net mailto:ColonelDan@worldnet.att.net msg dtd 4/21/02]

SPECIAL TOLL-FREE VA NUMBERS

BENEFITS INFORMATION & ASSISTANCE: 1-800-827-1000
HEALTH BENEFITS: 1-877-222-8387
AGENT ORANGE HELPLINE: 1-800-749-8387 or EMAIL GW/AOHelpline@vba.va.gov mailto:GW/AOHelpline@vba.va.gov
EDUCATION BENEFITS: 1-888-442-4551
VA LIFE INSURANCE: 1-800-669-8477
OFFICE OF SGLI: 1-800-419-1473
CHAMPVA: 1-800-733-8387
GULF WAR: 1-800-749-8387
HEADSTONES (status of claims only): 1-800-697-6947
TEELECOMMUNICATION DEVICE FOR DEAF (TDD): 1-800-829-4833
DIRECT DEPOSIT: 1-877-838-2778

Rule gives veterans
more help with benefits claims
By Kellie Lunney
Veterans will get more help from the Veterans Affairs Department when submitting benefits claims under a final rule published in the Federal Register Wednesday. The rule, which took effect Wednesday, implements the provisions of the 2000 Veterans Claims Assistance Act, signed into law by President Clinton last year. The law strengthens VA's current "duty to assist" program, which requires the agency to help veterans gather service records, medical records and other documents necessary to file a complete benefits claim. The rule directs VA to inform veterans of the information necessary to complete their claims, inform claimants when important medical or military service information is missing, provide medical examinations for disabled veterans who cannot afford medical care and provide any other appropriate and necessary assistance to veterans. The agency must tell veterans if it cannot find pertinent claims information, and give them the opportunity to submit personal evidence for information the VA cannot obtain. When submitting claims, veterans have a year to submit any additional evidence the VA requests. The rule also allows veterans to reopen a denied claim by submitting "new and material evidence," documentation that has not previously been submitted to the agency and that serves to substantiate the claim. Full story: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0801/083001m1.htm

RAO Bulletin Update
Appropriations vs. Authorization:
Veterans should not get confused between the National Defense Appropriations Act FY 2002 and the National Defense Authorizations Act FY 2002. They move through different committees in Congress. Approval of items by a committee does not mean that Congress has approved the items contained in the Acts. Only after the committee reports have been forwarded to the full House or Senate for a vote and is voted on favorably has the Act been passed and is on it's way to the President for signature or veto. The Authorizations Act "authorizes" the programs, whereas the Appropriations Act "appropriates" the money to pay for the authorized programs. From time to time you may have programs authorized but not appropriated, meaning the program doesn't go into effect [a likely scenario for the "Concurrent Pay" issue for disabled military retirees] or DOD has to come up with the money from within their budget. Not always an easy task and DOD cannot simply move money from their equipment account into the personnel account or vice versa. It should also be remembered, that the provisions in the Budget Resolutions places limitations which impacts on the Appropriations Act. While the Budget Resolution must pass both the House and the Senate, it does not go to the President for signature and thus is not a law, but guidelines that each committee must follow when they work on their appropriations acts. [Source: Max's Fact 46-01 SEP 4, 2001] VA Debt Billing Policy:
The Department of Veterans Affairs initiated a billing policy May 1, 1998 for those veterans with outstanding bills payable to the VA. When veterans receive overpayments of their VA benefits or they are responsible for co-payments for medical care and they do not make the required payments, VA is legally obligated to turn the debts over to the Treasury Department, which then withholds the money from other federal payments. This applies when they owe more than $25 and the debts become more than 180 days overdue. Among the sources from which money can be withheld are VA payments such as disability compensation and pension, income tax refunds, federal retired pay and social security. On Social Security veterans will always receive the first $750 of each month's Social Security payment. Only 15 percent of the amount greater than $750 can be withheld. Veterans will be notified several times before any withholdings are made and can avoid the withholding by voluntarily settling their debts. [Source: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs APR 01] Between 1 JAN and 22 June 2001 the VA referred more than 314,000 health care debts and more than 71,000 benefit debts (education, home loans, etc.) to the Treasury of a combined amount of approximately $184 million. The Treasury Department sent letters to about 380,000 veterans on these debts and provided them with a point of contact that would answer questions about their debt. This in effect was their second notice as the VA had already mailed letters to all concerned. Those vets who have not responded can expect their 2000 special tax rebate to be lowered accordingly. [Source: TREA "The Voice" SEP 2001] Max Belike:
Recent events have touched us all. Those of you who regularly read the Bulletin Updates have seen that the source of many were the articles gleaned from the MAX FACTS Newsletter put out by Max Belike. Max, a retired Master Sgt., worked at the Army's ODCSPER in the pentagon. Unfortunately, his name is on the list of missing and unaccounted for personnel in the Pentagon. Veterans have lost a good friend, a valuable source of information, and a great retiree advocate. All who knew him or of him appreciate the fine work he did for the active and retired military community. This is to wish him fair winds and following seas at his next command. Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret) Director, Retiree Activities Office


Task Force To Improve Health Care Delivery For Veterans
President Bush To Appoint 13 Individuals To Serve As Members Of The Task Force To Improve Health Care Delivery For Veterans WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the White House: Office of the Press Secretary President George W. Bush today announced his appointment of thirteen individuals to serve as Members of the Presidential Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans. President Bush issued an Executive Order on Memorial Day creating the fifteen member Presidential Task Force to improve health care for veterans and military retirees. When the Executive Order was signed, the President
announced that former Congressman Gerry Solomon and Dr. Gail Wilenski would serve as Co-Chairs of the Task Force. Members of the Presidential Task force are appointed for two-year terms. The Task Force will recommend specific actions to improve the way that the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense work together to provide quality health care for those who have served in uniform. Task Force Members: -- Mr. Everett Alvarez of Maryland -- Mr. Ross Anthony of Maryland -- Dr. Terry Clark of Utah -- Mr. Mack Fleming of South Carolina -- Ms. Susan Hosek of Pennsylvania -- Dr. Robert Krasner of New York -- Mr. Anthony McCann of Maryland -- Dr. Arthur Porter of Michigan -- Ms. Susan Schwartz of Virginia -- Mr. Robert Spanogle of Indiana -- Mr. Robert Wallace of Washington, D.C. -- Mr. Harry Walters of Virginia -- Mr. Josh Weston of New Jersey



VETERANS BENEFITS UPDATE

STATE VETERAN BENEFITSAll States, Commonwealth, and Territories provide unique active duty, Guard, Reserve, and veteran benefits for citizens of their legislatures. Check out the home page of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs and select the location where you reside or are thinking of relocating to at: www.NASDVA.com\ http://www.NASDVA.com/

Federal Benefits Handbook for Veterans and Their Dependents - 2002 http://www.va.gov/opa/feature/index.htm

January 2004 News Releases

VA's Largest "Fisher House" Scheduled for Houston http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=718- WASHINGTON – Expensive hotels and cramped couches will soon be a faded memory for families of veterans being treated for long-term illnesses at the Houston Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center when the largest "Fisher House" opens next fall. (1/5/04)

VA Secretary Visits Ft. Hood http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=717 - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi began the New Year by visiting with families of deployed Fort Hood soldiers today. During the visit, the secretary was linked by video teleconference with deployed soldiers. (1/2/04)

Disabled Veterans Get Health Care Priority from VA http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=715  All veterans with service-connected medical problems will receive priority access to health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under a new directive. (1/2/04)

VA Q's & A's - January 2004 http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=716 - January's offering of typical questions answered daily by VA. (1/1/04)

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TARGETS MILITARY PAY AND CONCURRENT RECEIPT INCREASES IN 2004 Military personnel will see their basic pay more in line with that of civilian counterparts in the private sector in 2004 thanks to an increased pay and benefits compensation package included in the 2004 Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress this year. [FULL STORY] http://www.vrna.org/MilitaryNewsDetail.lasso?id=2463

VETERANS RECEIVE COST-OF-LIVING INCREASE IN BENEFITS The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is including a 2.1 percent increase in the disability benefit payments that millions of veterans and dependents will receive at the end of December. [FULL STORY] http://www.vrna.org/MilitaryNewsDetail.lasso?id=2458

DISABLED VETERANS GET HEALTH CARE PRIORITY FROM VA All veterans with service-connected medical problems will receive priority access to health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under a new directive. [FULL STORY] http://www.vrna.org/MilitaryNewsDetail.lasso?id=2460

http://www.vrna.org/


VA Hearing Aid Entitlement

Veterans may be entitled to free hearing aids from the VA if they meet any of these categories: Service connected for hearing loss; ear disease or tinnitus
Service connected, any medical problem at a rating of 10% or more.
Former prisoner of war
All WWI veterans Guidelines have been revised to include any veterans with a 10% or more rating for any problem [including veterans without service-connected hearing loss]. While federal directives allow for this category of veterans to receive hearing aids, individual VA hospitals/clinics have the right to further determine local policies regarding access to hearing aids for veterans without service-connected hearing loss. Depending upon the availability of services at your local VA facility, you may be required
to have a confirmed service-connected hearing loss to receive hearing aids. To obtain clarification of policies in your area, telephone your nearest VA regional office.

[Source: Los Angeles AFB Retiree Newsletter Fall 99]



"PROSTATE CANCER" AND SERVICE IN VIETNAM
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has recently made an important decision and anouncement concerning prostate cancer. If a military member served anywhere in Vietnam, all prostate cancer is now considered service connected. If the service member dies from prostate cancer, the spouse is entitled to dependency and indemnity compensaton from the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have or had prostate cancer and served in Vietnam, you are entitled to a service-connected disability. All claims and inquiries should be made at your nearest VA office."

This is from the current Westover ARB Retiree Activities Newsletter


VA SURVIVOR BENEFITS

VA Survivor Benefits: The surviving spouses, children, or dependent parents of veterans who have died, whether receiving benefits or not, can apply for certain benefits for themselves. As soon as possible the VA should be notified of the death and provided a certified copy of the death certificate. Any benefit checks received after the death should be returned to the VA. In the case of Direct Deposit the VA will notify the financial institution to return any amounts forwarded via Direct Deposit. There is no "arrears of pay" as with retirement pay so there is no entitlement to the beneficiaries of any incremental amounts earned up to the date of death within the month the vet died. Dependents or their guardians should complete VA Form 21-534 "Application For Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child" and submit it to their closest VA Regional Center. Refer to separate Bulletin articles on DIC and Death Pension for details on these benefits. Certified or original documents providing proof of the spouse and children's relationship plus proof of age of the children must accompany the application. If the veteran never filed a claim with the VA documentation verifying periods of military service indicated on the form should be included. Application for educational assistance benefits can also be made. Complete VA Form-5490 "Application For Survivor's and Dependents Educational Assistance" and VA Form 22-1999 "Enrollment Certification", if appropriate, and submit them to your nearest VA Regional Office. Refer to separate Bulletin article on VA Dependent's Educational Assistance for details on this benefit. If requirements are met it is also possible to apply for educational loans, home loan guarantees, and GI Bill. Aliens are
entitled to benefits at one-half the rate of that for U.S. citizens. Additional death benefits that should be pursued if applicant's meet their requirements are U.S. citizenship through INS and the SSA burial benefit of $255 plus eligible spouse or child support. Forms listed above can be found at: http://www.va.gov/forms/default.asp

[Source: Federal Benefits for Veterans & Dependents 2003 Edition]


Agent Orange Study Undermined by Blunders

Agent Orange Study Undermined by Blunders, Says Representative Evans of GAO Report Calls on Defense, HHS to Take Corrective Actions "Blunders have undermined the credibility of the Ranch Hand Agent Orange study," said Congressman Lane Evans (D-IL) today as he released a report prepared for him by the General Accounting Office (GAO). In response to the GAO fact-finding report, Evans, the Ranking Democratic Member of the
House Veterans Affairs Committee, has called on the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to quickly take needed corrective actions. Ranch Hand, a long-term study to examine possible consequences of human exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides containing the contaminant dioxin, was begun in 1982. Conducted by the Air Force, Ranch Hand will
not be completed until 2006. According to GAO: * The Air Force has not provided other scientists, veterans and other interested parties sufficient access to Ranch Hand study data. An eight (8) year delay in releasing a 1984 study on birth defects among children of veterans is one example of data not being accessible by other scientists and interested veterans. Replication is considered
to be the "hallmark" of scientific inquiry. Without access to Ranch Hand study data by other scientists, study findings cannot be replicated. Likewise, new associations between Agent Orange exposure and disease cannot be
established. * The Air Force has not produced reports and publications on Ranch Hand study findings in a timely manner. Most results were not shared with veterans until seven years after the study began. Only recently has the Air Force begun to routinely publish reports and information as required by its scientific protocol. * Despite a requirement for inclusion of scientists nominated by veterans organizations, the Advisory Committee overseeing the Ranch Hand study did not include them before 1990. Such openings are still not widely publicized. * Veterans have not been adequately informed about the conduct of the Ranch Hand study, its findings, or public meetings on the conduct of the study. * There was a failure to comply with measures intended to guarantee the Ranch Hand study was conducted independently and without bias. According to GAO, documents from 1984 and 1985 show that "Air Force
management and the [Reagan] White House at the time tried to direct certain aspects of the Air Force scientists' research." * The Air Force characterization of study results as "reassuring," as was done with the birth defects study, has been misleading and inaccurate. While important, the Ranch Hand study was unable to detect any associations with rare diseases because of the relatively small number of study participants. In addition, the study population's
illnesses may also be different from other Vietnam veterans because their exposure to dioxin occurred differently. The Air Force has failed to report this information in its publications. * Some of the inherent limitations of epidemiological studies, like Ranch Hand, have not been communicated by Air Force scientists. The Ranch Hand study cannot be used to "rule out" connections between Agent Orange exposure and veterans' health problems. * The Ranch Hand study has provided useful information, such as providing a basis for compensating veterans' children with spina bifida born after the war. The study may also provide the foundation for compensating veterans with diabetes mellitus. Animal studies and other scientific literature, however, have been the basis of
compensating all veterans' conditions currently linked to Agent Orange exposure. The usefulness of the study for establishing a basis for compensating veterans for health problems - one of its original stated goals - remains
unknown. "Ranch Hand has required a massive commitment of resources, " Evans said. "First and foremost are the invaluable contributions made by scores of Vietnam theatre and era veterans who have participated in Ranch Hand. They have donated countless hours to participate in clinical evaluations and medical follow up. In addition, America's taxpayers have literally invested millions of dollars in the Ranch Hand study. "Yet there are still many questions today about whether Ranch Hand is addressing the key issues about herbicide exposure that it was
intended to evaluate. I called on GAO to report on Ranch Hand now to determine if we are getting our money's worth," Evans said. "Persistent problems continue to plague the Ranch Hand study. These problems need prompt corrective action and I am now calling on Secretaries Cohen and Shalala to make certain needed action is taken,"
Evans continued, "so the Ranch Hand study will be as useful as possible."


AUTOIMMUNE DYSFUNCTION IN VIETNAM VETS;
THERE MAY BE A DIAGNOSIS
THE OKLAHOMA AGENT ORANGE FOUNDATION
P.O. Box 849
Lexington, OK 73051
Copyright, 1988

In 1980, after years of suffering from an undiagnosed illness I saw a "Barney Miller" episode wherein, Wojohowitz (Max Gail) had a Vietnam Veteran in jail and was looking for answers as to why this veteran thought his exposure to "Agent Orange" was responsible for his actions. Deitrich (Steve Landsburg) mentioned a study that showed immunological dysfunction in Vietnam Vets. The next morning I spent hours on the phone tracing the study mentioned by "Deitrich". Eventually, I actually contacted the researcher who had done the study. This study, although small, showed that 65% of those Vietnam Veterans who were ill had antibodies to their own DNA. With a possible explanation of my own previously undiagnosed illness at hand I became an activist in the "Agent Orange" issue. As I gathered information on the possible health effects of exposure to "Agent Orange"; I found a 1979 General Accounting Office report wherein they instructed the Veterans Administration to pay particular attention for damage to the immune system of those exposed to "Agent Orange". Next, I found a 1981 American Medical Association report that showed damage to the thymus (part of the immune system) in animals exposed to Dioxin (a contaminant in Agent Orange). Shortly thereafter, during the EPA scandal of 1982, Congress turned up a study done in England, of people exposed to 2,4,5-T (half of Agent Orange), that again showed immune system damage. Our own EPA not only had knowledge of the previous study, but did a similar study and found much the same results. The EPA chose to suppress this information. This all occurring while Congress was unraveling, and proving, corporate (DOW) interference with EPA documentation. My wife and I encouraged four Vietnam Veterans to have blood drawn in an effort to duplicate the results of the study mentioned on "Barney Miller". This blood was not sent to the university that did the "Barney Miller study" but; coinciden- tally, sent to a university where a researcher had discovered a rare disease in the early 1970's. Not only did the blood work return as expected (having similar results to the "Barney Miller study" -- 3 out of 4 veterans had antibodies to their own DNA), but a diagnosis was sent back with the test results! MIXED CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE (MCTD), an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE. I feel it is imperative that Vietnam Veterans, who become ill, avail themselves of an ANA profile, looking for antibodies to their own DNA to the FLORESENT SPECKLED PATTERN. These tests should be done periodically: 1) to ensure early detection of a serious disease, 2) if you are ill with an Autoimmune Disease the test will only show positive at specific times of flareup. These tests should be done outside the VA system. Veterans who are ill or become ill with an undiagnosed illness should consult with their family doctor about the possibility of having an ANA profile done particularly if they have the some of the following symptoms: arthritis/arthralgias inflammation and pain in the joints), swollen hands, Raynaud's phenomenon (abnormal redness, heat, and tingling in the fingers after exposure to cold weather), abnormal esophageal motility (difficulty in swallowing), myositis (inflammation of muscle tissue), lymphadenopathy (disease of the lymph nodes), fever, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), serositis (inflamed condition of the serous membrane), splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), renal disease, anemia, leukopenia (abnormally low white blood cell count), and/or hypergammaglobulinemia (abnormally high immunoglobin levels). I recently spoke to a Vietnam Veteran with symptoms of MCTD who was suicidal because of attempting to function with an undiagnosed illness. As we went over his VA medical records we found lab work that clearly indicated MCTD. The VA had refused to inform him of the problem; thus, creating undue stress, and leaving him with a chronic, debilitating, life-threatening disease and no medical care. Thus, I feel obligated to share the good news that we have uncovered about toxic poisoning. Previously, the U.S. Government's constant denial of the damage from diseases that may be caused by exposure to the various chemical warfare agents (herbicides and insecticides) used in Vietnam has forced many veterans to try to function with undiagnosed illnesses and no medical care. Vietnam Veterans and other victim groups can take heart in the fact that many of the illnesses caused by exposure to chemical warfare agents can be diagnosed. Once a "civilian diagnosis" is made, the veteran can then remove himself/herself from the Agent Orange controversy, the denial of truth, the lack of due process, which has held him/her a political prisoner, and then one can take a positive course of action. First move through the Social Security system with "timely" appeals, approach the Administrative Law Judge with the disease, not the Agent Orange controversy, and find the Administrative Law Judge more reasonable than the Veterans Administration.When retirement through Social Security is achieved and the veteran once again has medical insurance (Medicare), he/she can start the second course of action -- treatment. The treatment I will mention is the hardest to find because it is out of the mainstream of the American medical establishment, whose schools have been biased by the VA and corporate research and development funding. If the veteran has an Autoimmune Disease or an undiagnosed illness; it is my personal opinion that he/she must seek a "clinical ecologist" in order to receive lifesaving treatment. This type of physician, who believes in environmentally caused diseases, can explain how to function with a compromised immune system. BEWARE OF THE DANGERS OF REEXPOSURE TO SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS. The physician that saved my life and made me feel more physically comfortable after years of suffering from an undiagnosed illness is Dr. William J. Rea, from the Environmental Health Center, 8345 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite 205, Dallas, Texas, 75231-4262. Thank you Dr. Rea. -- David Carter The Oklahoma Agent Orange Foundation and the Oklahoma State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America would like to tabulate immune system damage/dysfunction in Vietnam Veterans. This data will be kept confidential. If you would like to participate have your family doctor run an ANA profile and then send a copy to:

Oklahoma Agent Orange Foundation http://www.okagentorangefound.org/
ANA Profiles
P.O. Box 849
Lexington, Oklahoma 73051 Participate or not, use this information for better health.

ATTORNEY'S FOR VETERANS

You may have need for an Attorney or Veterans Service Representative of a Veterans Organization. If so, you will find a list of many at our "Attorney's and Veterans Representative Page".
http://www.members.tripod.com/VeteransResources/help.html http://www.members.tripod.com/ 7EVeteransResources/help.html> One of the finest and best designed Attorney's website belongs to Hugh Cox, Attorney-at-Law. His site includes many helpful links, audio, and personal accounts from his own military service. <http://www.hughcox.com/> If you have not visited this Page do so at your convenience.


Official VA Patients Rights and Responsibilities
~~YOUR PATIENTS RIGHTS~~

The Department of Veterans Affairs respects the rights of the patient, assists the patient in the exercise of his/her rights, and informs the patients of any responsibilities incumbent upon him/her in the exercise of those rights. The following Patient Rights are assured for each patient, unless medically contraindicated; You have the right to present grievances if you feel these rights have not been provided. You have the right to be treated with dignity as an individual, with compassion and respect, with reasonable protection from harm, and with appropriate privacy. You will receive, to the extent you are eligible, prompt and appropriate treatment for physical or emotional disorders or disabilities, in the least restrictive environment necessary for that treatment, free from unnecessary or excessive medication. You will not be denied your legal rights while hospitalized (except where State law provides otherwise). You have the right to communicate freely and privately with persons outside the facility, and to have or refuse visitors. There shall be reasonable access to public telephones for making and receiving calls. You have the right to receive unopened mail. If there is any reason to believe the mail may contain contraband, then you will have to open the mail in the presence of an appropriate person. You will be afforded the opportunity to write letters and be assisted in doing so when necessary. You will be allowed to wear your own clothes and to keep personal possessions. You have the right to keep and spend your own money. You have the right to social interaction as well as to regular exercise. Also you will have the opportunity for religious worship. Your medical record and all other information about you will be kept confidential unless disclosure is required or permitted by law, or you consent to its release. ~~YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES~~

Your compliance with the following Patient Responsibilities is necessary to assure you of the highest quality care. It also shows the importance of your contribution to your care. You have the responsibility to follow all of the Medical Center's safety rules and posted signs. You have the responsibility to be considerate and respectful of all medical center personnel and other patients. You have the responsibility to cooperate with your treatment staff. If you have questions or disagree with your treatment plan, you are responsible for discussing it with your treatment staff. You have the responsibility to try to prevent any injury to yourself, other patients, visitors, and staff members by your own actions, and to be responsible for the safekeeping of clothing, money, and personal possessions you choose to keep with you while you are in this facility. You have the responsibility to keep all of your scheduled diagnostic or therapeutic appointments on time. You have the responsibility to avoid interfering with the treatment of other patients, particularly in emergency situations. You have the responsibility to assist by alerting the staff when another patient is having difficulty. You have the responsibility to tell your visitors to be considerate of other patients and medical center personnel, and to observe the visiting hours. You have the responsibility to be understanding and patient if you encounter delays. You have the responsibility to make sure you understand what medications you must take following discharge from the medical center, and whether you are scheduled for outpatient follow-up visit(s). Patient Representatives are available at each facility in order to ensure that patient's needs are met, and to assist patients in exercising their rights.


How Can I Upgrade My Military Discharge?

I have received some requests on how to upgrade a military discharge. Here is some information that I received.

Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with authority to change, correct, or modify discharges or dismissals that are not issued by a sentence of a general court martial. The discharge review board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran or - if deceased or incompetent - the surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using Department of Defense Form 293 (DD-293). For the convenience of veterans, local VA regional offices can normally supply these forms. You can contact your nearest VA regional office by telephone at 1-800-827-1000. If more than 15 years have passed since discharge, DD Form 149 should be used for applications to the Board for the Correction of Military Records or, for Navy and Marine Corps, to the Board for the Correction of Naval Records. Service discharge review boards conduct hearings in Washington, D.C. Traveling review boards also visit selected cities to hear cases. In addition, the Army sends teams to locations to videotape the testimony of applicants for later review by a board in Washington, D.C. Discharges awarded as a result of unauthorized absence in excess of 180 days make persons ineligible for VA benefits regardless of action taken by discharge review boards, unless VA determines there were compelling circumstances for the absences. In addition, boards for the correction of military (or naval) records may consider such cases. Applications to these boards are made with DD Form 149. You should also be able to obtain this form from your local VA regional office. Veterans with disabilities incurred or aggravated during active military service may qualify for medical or related benefits regardless of separation and characterization of service. Veterans separated administratively under other than honorable conditions may require that their discharge be reviewed for possible recharacterization, provided they file their appeal within 15 years of the date of separation. Questions regarding the review of a discharge may be addressed to the appropriate discharge review board at the following addresses: Army:
Army Discharge Review Board
Attention: SFMR-RBB, Room 200A
1941 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202-4504 Navy and USMC:
Navy Discharge Review Board
801 N. Randolph St., Suite 905
Arlington, VA 22203 Air Force:
Air Force Military Personnel Center
Attention: DPMDOA1
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-6001 Coast Guard:
Coast Guard
Attention: GPE1
Washington, DC 20593

Forms needed, can be downloaded from the internet by using this web site: http://www.va.gov/forms/default.asp

WHAT IS DIC AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Dependency And Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension (DIC) is a monthly check paid to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans. Who is Eligible?
To get DIC, you must be an eligible survivor of a veteran who died because of a service-related illness or injury. If the veteran's death was not service-related, you may still be eligible if either of the following conditions existed at the time of death: the veteran was getting VA Disability Compensation for a total disability for the last 10 years. (Note: This also includes veterans who would have received VA compensation but didn't because they were getting military retirement or disability pay.) the veteran was getting VA Disability Compensation for a total disability continuously since released from active duty and for at least 5 years.
You may be an eligible survivor if: you were married to the veteran for at least 1 year. (Note: If a child was born, there is no time requirement) AND your marriage was valid AND you lived with the veteran continuously until his/her death or, if you were separated, you weren't at fault AND you did not remarry. (Note: If you remarried but your spouse died or you were divorced, you are eligible to re-apply after October 1, 1998.)
OR you are an unmarried child of a deceased veteran AND you are under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school. Note: Certain helpless adult children and some parents of deceased veterans are entitled to DIC. Call VA toll free for the eligibility requirements for these survivors. How Much Does VA Pay?
VA pays a basic monthly rate of $861 to eligible surviving spouses. In some cases, VA can pay more. Call the
toll-free number below for information about rates paid to eligible children. How Can I Apply?
You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency And Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension And Accrued Benefits By A Surviving Spouse or Child, and mailing it to the VA regional office that serves your area. Call the toll-free number below for information about other supporting materials that VA may need to process your claim. Related Benefits:
Health Insurance (CHAMPVA)Home Loan GuarantyFederal Employment
PreferenceSurvivors' & Dependents'
Educational Assistance
For More Information Call Toll-Free
1-800-827-1000


DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION / CHANGES
This article is to clarify the changes in entitlement for Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC). These changes were included in the Veterans Benefits Act of 1998. The surviving spouse may be entitled to DIC if the marriage terminated by death, divorce, or annulment. This change is in respect to DIC only, not Widow's Pension. Therefore, the entitlement to DIC is established in any case in which the remarriage of the surviving spouse ceases living with another person holding himself or herself in public as husband and wife (Common Law). The previous bar to the granting of DIC will not apply. It has been determined benefits may be paid on the basis a surviving spouse's remarriage has been dissolved by divorce or death. This requires evidence to verify the marital status of the surviving spouse as of the date of the veteran's death. The evidence must be submitted to resolve marital status. The evidence should include, but is not limited to the following:
1. Statement of all of the claimants marriages and indication of where, when, and how
each marriage was resolved.
2. Statement of whether the claimants has ever filed an application or received benefits as spouse, surviving spouse of any other veteran. If so, the name, claim number, and VA regional office the application was filed. DIC entitlement for award purposes shall be the first month following the month, which the marriage is terminated or end of the relationship resulting in the inference of remarriage occurs. This provision is effective October 1,
1998. Resumption of benefits can only be made from October 1, 1998, even if the ending of the relationship occurred before this date.

Featured Service Officer Article: Tom Parker
Veterans Benefit Act of 1998 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Clarification of Changes (June 1999 issue) ©Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars P.O. Box 14468 Austin, TX 78753


AGENT ORANGE GETS EARLIER EFFECTIVE DATE FOR MANY VETERANS & SURVIVORS

On Feb. 11, a U.S. District Court Judge in San Francisco ruled that the VA had not been following his 1989 order that invalidated VA rules for processing claims for service connection based on exposure to Agent Orange and required the VA to redo cases under revised rules. Nehmer v. VA, No. C86-6160 (N.D. Cal.).
The VA had been refusing to readjudicate cases unless the veteran or survivor had specifically identified the claim as based on exposure to Agent Orange and unless the VA denied such a claim specifically citing its Agent Orange rule, 38 C.F.R. 3.311a.
The court has now ordered the VA to redo these cases. This should mean that an eariler effective date is in order for about a thousand veterans and survivors with an estimated payout of $70 million in retroactive awards.
For help with these cases, contact the National Veterans Legal Services Program (202-797-8364), www.nvlsp.org http://www.nvlsp.org
Taken from Vietnam Veterans of America issue April/May 1999 By Bill russo, Director, Veterans Benefit Program



HOW TO FIND ATTORNEY REPRESENTATION
The National Organization of Veterans' Advocates (NOVA), whose members are admitted to pratice before the Court of Veterans Appeals, offers a free referral service for veterans or survivors. NOVA's Advocate Referral Service directs callers to members who have declared their willingness to represent veterans on a contingency basis. To obtain a referral, call 800-810-8387. You should be prepared to fax a copy of your latest BVA denial to NOVA for review.
Taken from Vietnam Veterans of America issue April/May 1999 By Bill russo, Director, Veterans Benefit Program

THE JUDGE ADVOCATES ASSOCIATION

The JAA has a list of attorneys that it provides informally upon request. Also for veterans issues there is one referral list and that is with the Clerk's office of the U.S. Court of Veterans Claims (formerly Court of Veterans Appeals) at 625 Indiana Ave, N.E., Washington, D.C. It is my understanding they will respond with a telephone call. Additionally there is the National Veterans Legal Services Program, headed by David Addlestone in Washington DC who can be reached at (800) 688-5VET, e-mail: nvlsp@cyberrealm.net

mailto:nvlsp@cyberrealm.net with a web page at

http://www.nvlsp.org

 

. The National Organization of Veterans' Advocates Advocate Referral Service at P.O. Box 2099 Topeka, KS 66601 or 1-800-810-VETS; The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program Case Evaluation and Placement, headed by Brian Robertson and located at 601 Indiana Ave., NW, Suite 1010, Washington, D.C. 20004 at (202) 628-8164 or 1-888-838-7727 (Toll-free). In New York there is The Voluntary Committee of Lawyers headed by Richard M. Evans located at 14 West 68th St., New York, NY 10023 at (212) 362-1964 and fax at (212) 362-3137. Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Ours is a membership organization whose members are military lawyers and civilian lawyers practicing military and veterans law who seek to protect their clients, improve the legal system and their country. See our web site at www.jaa.org

http://www.jaa.org  Eileen Albertson
Executive Director

SERVICE REQUEST ADDRESSES AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS

To obtain Unit Diaries, OP's sheets or other hard to find items write: Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 10 National Archives and Records Service (202) 501-5430 Washington, DC 20408 11 Commander (314) 538-3877 U. S. Army Reserve Personnel Center (ARPERCEN) ATTN: DARP-PAS
9700 Page Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63132-5200
*TELETYPE: RUWTRCA 13 National Personnel Records Center Army Branch
(Military Personnel Records) (314) 538-4122
9700 Page Boulevard Navy, Marines, St. Louis, MO 63132 Coast Guard
*TELETYPE: RUWTRCA (314) 538-4200 Air Force
(314) 538-4282 *Messages are sorted at communications center based on plain language address. 14 Commander (317) 542-3719 U. S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center
(PCRE-FT) Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249 16 DFAS -- Indianapolis Center (317) 542-2825 ATTN: DFAS-IN-FJFC-I Mail Stop 93
8899 E. 56th St. Indianapolis, IN 46249-0875 17 Defense Finance and Accounting Service SSN Denver Center Terminal Digit DFAS--DE/FRB 00-16 (303) 676-4530
6760 E. Irvington Pl. 17-33 4555 Denver, CO 80279-6000 34-49 4525
50-66 4559
67-83 4560
84-99 4561 If above numbers not available, call (303) 676-4515. 18 Commander (703) 325-4547 U. S. Total Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM) ATTN: TAPC-MSR-S
200 Stovall St. Alexandria, VA 22331-4000 21 Air Reserve Personnel Center (DSMR) (303) 676-6506, 6507 Denver, CO 80280-4600 6508, 6509 Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 22 HQ AFMPC/DPMDO (210) 652-5516 Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78150 6155 25 Department of Defense (Air Force) (303) 676-7112 DFAS-DE/FJ 676-7115 ATTN: Military Pay Operations
6760 E. Irvington Place Denver, CO 80279-5000 31 Bureau of Naval Personnel (703) 614-3296 PERS-324
(enlisted/officer)
2 Navy Annex Washington, DC 20370-5324 35--Retired Pay Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps Defense Finance & Accounting Service 1-800-321-1080 Cleveland Center (216) 522-6009/6010
(DFAS--CLE-R) PO Box 99191 Cleveland, OH 44199-1126 Other: Navy Reserve, active duty, separation, severance pay-- Defense Finance & Accounting Service
(216) 522-6572*** Cleveland Center 522-5637 ATTN: Code (**)
1240 East Ninth St. Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building Cleveland, OH 44199 **Use Code (FMB) for Reserve pay matters and (FMA) for active duty/separation/severance pay matters. ***Use telephone number 522-6572 for Reserve pay matters and 522-5637 for active duty/separation/severance pay matters. 36 Naval Reserve Personnel Center Veterans with Reserve obligations
4400 Dauphine St. not assigned to units. New Orleans, LA 70149-7800 SSN Terminal Digit
00-49 (504) 678-5891
50-99 678-5896 Veterans separated by discharge, resignation, retirement (No Reserve obligation) or TDRL. SSN Terminal Digit
00-49 (504) 678-5400
50-99 678-5430 NOTE: The Center retains all service records of those veterans with Reserve obligations
(not assigned to units). The Center also holds all service records of those veterans on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) until a final determination is made, sometimes years later. Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 41 Commandant (703) 784-3920/3921 Headquarters United States Marine Corps ATTN: MMSB-10 (medical only) 784-3926 Quantico, VA 22134-5030 NOTE 1: Requests for records other than medical and TDRL records: Use telephone number
784-3920 for records ending with Social Security Numbers 00 through 49. Use 784-3921 for records with Social Security Numbers ending with 50 through 99. NOTE 2: Requests for medical and TDRL records: Use Office Symbol MMRB-16 in the address element and telephone number 784-3926. 42 Marine Corps Reserve Support Command SSN
15303 Andrews Road Terminal Digit Kansas City, MO 64147-1207 00-19 (816) 843-3300/01
20-39 843-3320/21
40-59 843-3340/41
60-79 843-3360/61
80-99 843-3380/81 45 Defense Finance & Accounting Service (Marines) (816) 926-7145 Kansas City Center (JX) Kansas City, MO 64197-0001 47 Defense Finance & Accounting Service (816) 926-7652 Kansas City Center (FBL) Kansas City, MO 64197-0001 51 Commander (202) 267-1663 U. S. Coast Guard Personnel Command CGHQ (adm-3) Washington, DC 20593-0001 52 Commandant (202) 267-0234
(GMVP--1/12 MMVS) United States Coast Guard Washington, DC 20593-0001 75 National Personnel Records Center (314) 425-5766 Civilian Personnel Records
111 Winnebago St. St. Louis, MO 63118 85 Medical facility where X-rays were created; complete address must be used. 90 Commander, Army National Guard (703) 756-4632 Personnel Center ATTN: NGB-ARP-C
4501 Ford Avenue Alexandria, VA 22302 Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 232 Director (376/232) (314) 263-3067 VA Records Management Center P. O. Box 5020 St. Louis, MO 63115 375* VA Records Management Center (376) (314) 263-5070/71 Service Medical Records Division P. O. Box 150950 St. Louis, MO 63115-8950 *Address code 375 should not be used for an address code on a VA Form 21-3101when requesting SMRs since that is done automatically via the BIRLS/SMRTS link. No hard copy 3101s should go to the Service Medical Records Division of the Records Management Center (RMC); fax or telephone should be used; see paragraph 4.15. SERVICE REQUEST ADDRESSES AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 10 National Archives and Records Service (202) 501-5430 Washington, DC 20408 11 Commander (314) 538-3877 U. S. Army Reserve Personnel Center (ARPERCEN) ATTN: DARP-PAS
9700 Page Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63132-5200
*TELETYPE: RUWTRCA 13 National Personnel Records Center Army Branch
(Military Personnel Records) (314) 538-4122
9700 Page Boulevard Navy, Marines, St. Louis, MO 63132 Coast Guard
*TELETYPE: RUWTRCA (314) 538-4200 Air Force
(314) 538-4282 *Messages are sorted at communications center based on plain language address. 14 Commander (317) 542-3719 U. S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center
(PCRE-FT) Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249 16 DFAS -- Indianapolis Center (317) 542-2825 ATTN: DFAS-IN-FJFC-I Mail Stop 93
8899 E. 56th St. Indianapolis, IN 46249-0875 17 Defense Finance and Accounting Service SSN Denver Center Terminal Digit DFAS--DE/FRB 00-16 (303) 676-4530
6760 E. Irvington Pl. 17-33 4555 Denver, CO 80279-6000 34-49 4525
50-66 4559
67-83 4560
84-99 4561 If above numbers not available, call (303) 676-4515. 18 Commander (703) 325-4547 U. S. Total Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM) ATTN: TAPC-MSR-S
200 Stovall St. Alexandria, VA 22331-4000 21 Air Reserve Personnel Center (DSMR) (303) 676-6506, 6507 Denver, CO 80280-4600 6508, 6509 Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 22 HQ AFMPC/DPMDO (210) 652-5516 Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78150 6155 25 Department of Defense (Air Force) (303) 676-7112 DFAS-DE/FJ 676-7115 ATTN: Military Pay Operations
6760 E. Irvington Place Denver, CO 80279-5000 31 Bureau of Naval Personnel (703) 614-3296 PERS-324
(enlisted/officer)
2 Navy Annex Washington, DC 20370-5324 35--Retired Pay Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps Defense Finance & Accounting Service 1-800-321-1080 Cleveland Center (216) 522-6009/6010
(DFAS--CLE-R) PO Box 99191 Cleveland, OH 44199-1126 Other: Navy Reserve, active duty, separation, severance pay-- Defense Finance & Accounting Service (216) 522-6572*** Cleveland Center 522-5637 ATTN: Code (**)
1240 East Ninth St. Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building Cleveland, OH 44199 **Use Code (FMB) for Reserve pay matters and (FMA) for active duty/separation/severance pay matters. ***Use telephone number 522-6572 for Reserve pay matters and 522-5637 for active duty/separation/severance pay matters. 36 Naval Reserve Personnel Center Veterans with Reserve obligations
4400 Dauphine St. not assigned to units. New Orleans, LA 70149-7800 SSN Terminal Digit
00-49 (504) 678-5891
50-99 678-5896 Veterans separated by discharge, resignation, retirement (No Reserve obligation) or TDRL. SSN Terminal Digit
00-49 (504) 678-5400
50-99 678-5430 NOTE: The Center retains all service records of those veterans with Reserve obligations
(not assigned to units). The Center also holds all service records of those veterans on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) until a final determination is made, sometimes years later. Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 41 Commandant (703) 784-3920/3921 Headquarters United States Marine Corps ATTN: MMSB-10 (medical only) 784-3926 Quantico, VA 22134-5030 NOTE 1: Requests for records other than medical and TDRL records: Use telephone number
784-3920 for records ending with Social Security Numbers 00 through 49. Use 784-3921 for records with Social Security Numbers ending with 50 through 99. NOTE 2: Requests for medical and TDRL records: Use Office Symbol MMRB-16 in the address element and telephone number 784-3926. 42 Marine Corps Reserve Support Command SSN
15303 Andrews Road Terminal Digit Kansas City, MO 64147-1207 00-19 (816) 843-3300/01
20-39 843-3320/21
40-59 843-3340/41
60-79 843-3360/61
80-99 843-3380/81 45 Defense Finance & Accounting Service (Marines) (816) 926-7145 Kansas City Center (JX) Kansas City, MO 64197-0001 47 Defense Finance & Accounting Service (816) 926-7652 Kansas City Center (FBL) Kansas City, MO 64197-0001 51 Commander (202) 267-1663 U. S. Coast Guard Personnel Command CGHQ (adm-3) Washington, DC 20593-0001 52 Commandant (202) 267-0234
(GMVP--1/12 MMVS) United States Coast Guard Washington, DC 20593-0001 75 National Personnel Records Center (314) 425-5766 Civilian Personnel Records
111 Winnebago St. St. Louis, MO 63118 85 Medical facility where X-rays were created; complete address must be used. 90 Commander, Army National Guard (703) 756-4632 Personnel Center ATTN: NGB-ARP-C
4501 Ford Avenue Alexandria, VA 22302 Address Code Mailing Address Telephone Number 232 Director (376/232) (314) 263-3067 VA Records Management Center P. O. Box 5020 St. Louis, MO 63115 375* VA Records Management Center (376) (314) 263-5070/71 Service Medical Records Division P. O. Box 150950 St. Louis, MO 63115-8950 *Address code 375 should not be used for an address code on a VA Form 21-3101 when requesting SMRs since that is done automatically via the BIRLS/SMRTS link. No hard copy 3101s should go to the Service Medical Records Division of the Records Management Center (RMC); fax or telephone should be used; see paragraph 4.15. NOTE: Although RPC and SMRC were combined as the RMC effective October 1, 1995, continue to use current procedures and existing codes in computer systems such as BIRLS, BDN, and SMRTS until further notice.


IS YOUR VETERANS SERVICE OFFICER DOING HIS JOB?

1. Make sure that your Service medical records are ordered and reviewed. How can a service officer know what to tell the veteran to file for if he hasn't reviewed the service medical records? Usually a vet can't remember what his diagnosis really was and they often forget important things like the hepatitis they had. 2. Make sure your Service personnel records are ordered for claims such as PTSD, exposure to ionizing radiation and claims where misconduct or line of duty investigations were involved. You cannot count on the Regional Office to give you a fair shake in those cases if you don't provide dates, times, places, etc. 3. Make sure all Civilian medical records are ordered and submitted with the claim. You have to prove continuity of the disability from the time the disability was incurred until the present time. That requirement really isn't fair in the case of chronic conditions such as migraine headaches but that is what they want. You also have to have "current" medical evidence. They love to send them back disapproved for lack of current medical evidence. 4. Personal affidavits are not used nearly enough. If the affidavits are sworn and notarized then the RO (Regional Office) is required to give them consideration. They also carry a great deal of weight with the BVA. (Board of Veteran Appeals) 5. Make sure all Notices Of Disagreement are properly prepared. Far too many NOD's consist of about three sentences with the last sentence asking for a statement of the case. I believe that the NOD should be as strong as the appeal. It makes them really take a good second look at the claim. The NOD should also request review by a Decision Review Officer and a hearing officer hearing if the vet can make it to the RO. The US Printing Office sells a disc titled Board of Veterans Appeals, 1994-1996, for $15.00. These decisions can be searched by subject such as "hepatitis" and you can see recent decisions of the BVA and why they denied or remanded certain claims. You can create a tight NOD with that disk. An update to that CD from the Government Printing Office is available: 051-000-00215-6 = BVA 96-97 decisions Call GPO at 1-202-512-1800. I recommend getting both CDs. 6. In far too many cases the appeal is pathetic. The VSO should research similar cases that were remanded and base the appeal on those cases. The RO's are catching hell about their remand rate and they appear to be taking a hard look at appeals that are well founded and properly prepared. The whole idea is to keep a claim from going to the BVA where it will languish for years. 7. Well grounded claims that are denied are usually poorly prepared in the beginning. It is a lot easier on the vet and his family if the claim is well prepared in the first place. It is your right as the veteran to review all documents before they are sent to the RO. If you disagree with what is written they let your VSO know this and tell him to change it. Make sure EVERY ailment or injury you are requesting compensation for is listed. Request copies of everything sent to the RO. 8. Request a copy of your C-file from the RO. This is information on you and you have every right to a copy of it. Just write a letter to the RO and put PRIVACY ACT REQUEST across the top and bottom of the letter in large cap letters. They have ten days to respond under the act. If they don't, you can drag them into federal court for failure to comply.

REQUESTING A DD 214

The following is a message I received from Personnel Records Center after requesting information on how to get a copy of a DD 214. Please feel free to copy the message. Make sure you change the e-mail address. ************************************** Subject:
DD 214 -Reply
Date:
Thu, 05 Mar 1998 08:50:49 -0500
From:
St Louis <center@stlouis.nara.gov>
To:
Your e-mail address Thank you for contacting the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC),
Military Records facility (MPR) located in St. Louis, MO. We are a regional
division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). All requests for access to or information from an Official Military
Personnel File (OMPF) must be written, signed and dated - even those
personally from the veteran. If you would kindly RETURN THIS ENTIRE MESSAGE along with your
current mailing address we will be glad to mail forms, instructions and
informational items to assist you. Additional information can be obtained from our homepage URLs at NPRC http://www.nara.gov/regional/stlouis.html MPR http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpr.html Or, if you are a completely discharged or retired veteran, you can send a
signed and dated letter to: National Archives and Records Administration
National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 Be sure to provide the following information:
1. Full name of the veteran
2. Service number or social security number
3. Branch of service
4. Approximate dates of service
5. Information needed
6. Veteran's signed and dated authorization (if you are not the veteran);
information to requestors other than the veteran are restricted under
the Privacy Act
7. Reason for the request
8. Your return address Thank you for contacting your National Archives and Records
Administration.


LIFEINSURANCE

You must be 100% service connected to receive the free premium. If you are not 100% then you can purchase the policy. Did you know that you can receive $10,000.00 worth of Life Insurance free from the VA? Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance Program has a special type of National Service Life Insurance, referred to as "RH" Insurance. It's only for veterans with service-connected disabilities. You have to apply within 1 (one) year from the date of notice from the VA of your service-connected rating. This policy does provide for a waiver of payments of premiums if you become totally disabled before your 65th birthday and remain disabled for 6 or more consecutive months. This policy is issued for $10,000.00. You can receive more detailed information by going to your local VA and requesting a copy of VA Pamphlet 29-9 or write to the address listed below. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office and Insurance Center P.O. Box 7208 Philadelphia, PA 19101 Fax Number: (215) 951-5274 Phone Number: (800) 669-8477

Do not call unless you need them to send you a form. This office has been known to tell people over the phone that they do not qualify only to have the forms mailed in and be approved. This is a benefit that you all deserve. The first $10,000.00 is free. The premium is paid by the VA. http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/central/detr/xvsc/benefits/ben08.htm

HOW TO GET SPINABIFIDA BENEFITS

Despite the problems with VA's implementation, eligible claimants certainly should apply for spina bifida benefits. To apply for compensation benefits, contact your VA Regional Office, either in person or by calling 1-800-827-1000. To apply for VA reimbursement of health care costs, call 1-800-733-8387. Do not be discouraged by someone from the VA who tells you not to apply. Insist on submitting a claim in writing. The sooner you apply, the sooner the monthly compensation and health care cost reimbursement can begin. After you apply, VA should send you a form to fill out and return. Along with this form, it may be helpful to send VA COPIES of the veteran's DD-214, the child's birth certificate, and medical records showing the child has spina bifida. As with any VA claim, it is best to get representation from a veterans service officer, either through a veterans organization or a state or county veterans agency. You can obtain more information about these benefits and other available help from the Spins Bifida Association of America at 1-800-621-3141

Taken from the Dec.97/Jan.98 VVA Veteran

REQUEST MEDICAL AND
CLINICAL RECORDS

The way to request medical records from St. Louis...Obtain a VA Form 180-105. You can get this form from your Patient Representative at any VA Hospital. Fill out form and clarify medical and clinical records, i.e., I respectfully request an unabridged copy of my medical and
CLINICAL records....give your FULL NAME and Social Security Number. It appears that MEDICAL RECORDS consists of your induction physical. Clinical records are in a building across the street? The addresses for this request are on the form. Locate your branch of service and mail the form to the address shown.
The way to obtain records from the Regional Office...give your FULL NAME and Social Security Number. I respectfully request an unabridged copy of my claims file, under Title 5, Freedom of Information Act, to aid in the....(reason for request). The addresses for this request is you local regional VA office that handles your Compensation and Pension evaluations (C&P's)

DO YOU KNOW WHATS IN YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS?

Did you know that you have a right to have a copy of your medical records? They are you records and you have every right to them. Just go to the records department at your VA hospital and tell them that you would like a complete copy of your records. You will be asked to sign a release form. You may wait while they copy them or they will mail them to you home. They have ten days to fill your request. Once you receive your records READ THEM, you really won't know what's in them until you do.

 

LET US HELP

We cannot address everything that we experienced with the VA here. If you have a specific question or problem please E-Mail mailto  tmkc@gcnetmail.net us and we will try and answer your questions. We have been fighting with the VA to receive all the benefits that we now have. Please let us help you get the benefits you were promised by sharing the knowledge we gained with you. If we can not answer your questions we will find someone who can. We as veterans must stick together and help one an other.

There are benefits out there, but you have to fight to receive them. Never take NO for an answer. Make them show you in writing why they are turning you down. If you don't ask the questions you won't get the answers. You fought before now it's time to stand up and fight again. It's the only way to get all the benefits that were promised to you when you enlisted.

PLEASE feel free to E-MAIL mailto:tmkc@gcnetmail.net  subject=Mail%20from%20Crow%27s%20Nest me if you have any questions.