Posts Tagged ‘veterans’

VA Launches Hotline for Women Veterans

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline —1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636) — to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans.

The hotline is staffed by knowledgeable VA employees who can provide information about benefits including health care services for women. Callers can be linked to information on claims, education or health care appointments as well as information about VA cemeteries and memorial benefits. Staff can answer urgent questions and provide referrals to homeless and mental health services as well as provide Vet Center information.

Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. The population of women Veterans using VA benefits including health care is growing rapidly. Since 2000, the number of women using VA health care more than doubled, from nearly 160,000 in 2000 to more than 354,000 in 2012. Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women Veterans—and female VA users—will keep climbing.

Women Veterans are entitled to apply for the same benefits as their male counterparts, which include health care and pharmacy benefits as well as education benefits, disability compensation, home loans, employment assistance and more.

The hotline (1-855-VA-WOMEN) joins numerous other VA hotlines that provide critical information and assistance to Veterans, such as those for Veterans in crisis and in danger of becoming homeless. Veterans can also receive information and apply for benefits online at VA’s and manage their health care at

Veterans’ Disability Claims Initiative Reduces Processing Time, Adds Convenience

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new initiative that could eliminate the requirement for an in-person medical examination for some Veterans and shorten the time it takes to process Veterans’ disability compensation claims.

The initiative is called Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE). This initiative was developed by both the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in a joint effort to provide a Veteran-centric approach for disability examinations. Use of the ACE process opens the possibility of doing assessments without an in-person examination when there is sufficient information in the record.

Under ACE practices, a VA medical provider completes a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) by reviewing existing medical evidence. This evidence can be supplemented with information obtained during a telephone interview with the Veteran – alleviating the need for some Veterans to report for an in-person examination.

When a VA medical provider determines VA records already contain sufficient medical information to provide the needed documentation for disability rating purposes, the requirement for Veterans to travel to a medical facility for an examination may be eliminated.

If VA can complete a DBQ by reviewing medical records already on file, it will use the ACE process. This would then expedite the determination of disability ratings – in turn eliminating the wait time to schedule and conduct an exam from the claims process.

During a 15-month pilot test at one VA regional claims processing office, 38 percent of claims submitted were eligible for ACE.

The ACE initiative is a part of the VBA’s agency-wide Transformation Plan – a five-year, multifaceted organizational change that is based on more than 40 personnel, process and technology initiatives designed to improve claims processing. The goal of the Transformation Plan is to eliminate the claims backlog and process all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy in 2015.

To learn more about VBA Transformation Initiatives, visit:

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) App Helps Thousands

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The PTSD Coach smartphone application (app), launched in April by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), has already helped more than 5,000 users connect with important mental health information and resources.

Since its launch, the PTSD Coach app has been downloaded by thousands of individuals. While 96 percent of the users so far are located in the United States, the app has also been downloaded in 25 other countries. The app lets users track their PTSD symptoms, links them with public and personalized sources of support, provides accurate information about PTSD, and teaches helpful strategies for managing PTSD symptoms on the go.

Currently, the PTSD Coach app has received perfect customer review scores on the iTunes App Store. Comments from Veterans and family members are overwhelmingly positive and one user describes the app as “a must for every spouse who has a family member with PTSD.” Professionals have sent positive reviews, suggestions and offers to collaborate on research evaluating the PTSD Coach app.

The app has also already proven to be a useful tool for the staff at the Veterans Crisis Line. Within the first two hours of the app’s official launch, the Crisis Line staff were contacted by a distressed Veteran who reported being instructed by the app to call the crisis line and was subsequently given an appointment at the local VA medical center. Crisis Line staff have begun to regularly recommend this resource to callers.

The app is one of the first in a series of jointly-designed resources by the VA National Center for PTSD and DoD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology to help Servicemembers and Veterans manage their readjustment challenges and get anonymous assistance. Given the popularity of mobile devices, VA and DoD hope to reach tens of thousands of Veterans, Servicemembers, and their family members with the new suite of apps.

Information on the PTSD Coach app is on the VA’s National Center for PTSD Website, which can be reached by clicking here

More apps from DoD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology can be found here

Free Segways For Disabled Veterans

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

If you are a veteran who is disabled, and served on active duty before or after September 11, 2001 you may be able to receive a free Segway that is custom designed for your needs.

In order to qualify for a free Segway, you must have incurred an illness or injury resulting in permanent disability and difficulty walking as a result of one of the following:

Armed Conflict
Hazardous Service
Conditions Simulating War
Instrumentality of War
Combat Operation
Combat Zone

This program is sponsored by the Disability Rights Advocates for Technology, (DRAFT), which is made up of people with disabilities that refuse to be defined by their disability and have a passion for participating in life’s activities. They provide advocacy as well as education services as an advocate for the adoption of Universally Designed Technology Solutions. As part of their mission, they provide Segways for disabled veterans at no charge.

To date Segs4Vets has awarded more than 250 Segways to Veterans who were severely injured while serving our nation in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Please visit for more information and to apply.

Attorney Sheri Abrams Becomes Certified As A Veterans Benefits Counselor

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Attorney Sheri Abrams is honored to have received accreditation by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) to prepare, present and prosecute claims for veterans before the VA.

Accreditation refers to the authority granted by the VA to those attorneys who meet the standards established by the VA. VA’s stated purpose in requiring attorney accreditation is to ensure that claimants for VA benefits receive “qualified assistance in preparing and presenting their claims.”

To receive accreditation, federal law requires an attorney to complete continuing legal education covering, at a minimum, the following topics: VA representation, disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation and pension benefits, claim procedures, eligibility requirements, and appeal rights. An attorney must also establish that he or she is of good character and reputation.

The privilege of accreditation carries with it the responsibility to maintain specified standards of conduct and comply with the laws that govern VA representations, as set forth in the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations.

According to federal law, attorneys who do not receive VA accreditation are prohibited from assisting claimants in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of VA claims, regardless of whether or not the attorney charges legal fees for those services. Unaccredited attorneys may only provide limited services to veterans, such as providing general information about VA benefits, and may not assist veterans in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of their claims.

The VA accreditation system is designed to ensure that lawyers who represent VA claimants have a thorough understanding of the VA health and benefit systems, so that they may provide quality assistance in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of those claims.

This accreditation allows Ms. Abrams to provide veterans and their families with advice on complex areas of law concerning long-term care planning, including VA pension benefits and the related issue of Medicaid benefits.

Ms. Abrams is proud to join fellow Needham Mitnick & Pollack Attorney Edward Zetlin in being one of the few attorneys in Virginia accredited by the Department of Veteran Affairs to assist veterans who have served our country obtain the benefits they deserve.

2010 Census: What Does it Mean for People with Disabilities?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Data from the U.S. Census is used to assign congressional seats to states, and it directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is distributed to state, local and tribal governments. Accurate counts impact several important programs and services that are critical to the disabled community.

Here is what the census means for people with a disability:

* Helps state and county agencies plan for eligible recipients under the Medicare, Medicaid,and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

* Distributes funds and develops programs for people with disabilities and the elderly under the Rehabilitation Act.

* Distributes funds for housing for people with disabilities under the Housing and Urban Development Act.

* Allocates funds for mass transit systems to provide facilities for people with disabilities under the Federal Transit Act.

* Awards federal grants, under the Older Americans Act, based on the number of elderly people with physical and mental disabilities.

* Allocates funds to states and local areas for employment and job training programs for veterans and disabled veterans under the Job Training Partnership Act, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program.

* Ensures that comparable public transportation services are available for all segments of the population under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sheri has concentrated her law practice to the areas of Social Security Disability Law MORE...

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