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Veterans Disability Benefits Blog

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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Benefits Guide

Camp Lejeune 1965-1972 scrapbook

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was one of the most toxic places to live and work in the United States. Children whose mothers were exposed to the contaminated water were born with heartbreaking birth defects. A 2003 federal study concluded that the rate of spina bifida and anencephaly (a condition in which part of the cranium is missing), was much higher than the national average. These children were also at an elevated risk of childhood cancers, such as leukemia. Adults who spent as little as a month on the base have developed...

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Healing the Wounds of Afghanistan: A Benefits Guide for Disabled Veterans

Veterans watched with anger and sadness this past August as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan may be a poignant and painful reminder of objectives unmet. But here at The Rep for Vets, we think sacrificing for one's country is never done in vain. We feel an obligation to help vets who served honorably in America's longest war in getting back on their feet again, and moving forward with their lives. For disabled veterans, part of the healing process involves securing disability benefits, a small form of redress for their injuries. Afghanistan was a dangerous...

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Exposed to Burn Pits? Get Disability Compensation for Three New Fast-Tracked Conditions

Smoke rising from burn pit in Iraq

Burn pits have been described as the post-9/11 generation’s Agent Orange. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as much as 250 tons of trash a day were burned with jet fuel in huge pits the size of football fields, spewing toxic fumes and carcinogens into the air. Many veterans who worked and lived near toxic burn pits have gone on to develop cancer and respiratory diseases. Unfortunately, getting VA disability benefits for illnesses caused by burn pits has been an uphill battle for these vets. That looks to be changing. This month the VA created a fast-track to disability compensation...

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How Does the VA Determine My PTSD Disability Rating?

A military man hugs his English Bulldog

As every solider knows, you can’t go into battle alone. You need a reliable and dependable support team behind you. The same is true of veterans battling with PTSD. Having a compassionate, understanding PTSD recovery team can help the healing process along. But the road to recovery is not always easy. We know of veterans who’ve done all the “right” things. They’ve reached out to their people for help. Received a PTSD diagnosis from a doctor. Applied for disability benefits, had a VA medical evaluation--only to have the VA deny them benefits, or give them a rating lower than their...

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Jury Awards Veteran $1.7 Million in Third Trial Over Faulty 3M Earplugs

A Pensacola, Florida, federal jury has awarded $1.7 million in the third bellwether trial over 3M’s defective Combat Arms earplugs. Jurors found that 3M failed to provide adequate warnings for the earplugs, according to the plaintiffs' lawyers. From 2005 to 2012, 3M Combat Arms earplugs were standard issue safety equipment. Over that period of time, thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of military personnel used the faulty earplugs, exposing their users to loud noise events. A design flaw rendered the earplugs mostly ineffective, but many earplug users never realized the problem, or only realized they weren’t working after permanent hearing damage...

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Can a Fully Developed Claim Really Help Me Get My Disability Benefits Faster?

When you're in the business of helping veterans secure disability benefits, you inevitably field the following question: Why is the VA is taking so long to process my claim? There are many factors that affect processing time, including the current backlog, but sometimes the delay is beyond the VA’s control. When a veteran files a standard disability claim it is the VA’s responsibility, under the Duty to Assist doctrine, to gather all the evidence that could help prove your claim, including medical records from private (non-VA) healthcare providers. Sometimes delays are the result of a private doctor taking a while to...

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How to Calculate Your VA Disability Rating

Disabled veteran shows guide to calculating your disability rating on smartphone to friends

Here at the Rep for Vets, we have veterans ask us all the time: How does the VA calculate my disability rating? You may have heard the term "VA math" before. The person using the term is usually expressing confusion or frustration with the weird way the VA rates disability. Here's an example. John, who saw combat in the first Gulf War, has a 60% rating for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a 30% rating for a back injury, a 10% rating for the left knee disability, and another 10% rating for hearing loss. If you add up all these ratings you...

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How to Get Maximum VA Compensation for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

We’ve written a lot about toxic exposure on this blog, from the burn pits that were used to dispose of waste in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Agent Orange in Vietnam. But not all veterans who got sick from toxic exposure were deployed to an overseas conflict zone. Right here at home, as many as one million military and civilian staff and their families could have been exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. What Happened at Camp Lejeune? Camp Lejeune has an illustrious history. During World War II soldiers trained for amphibious operations at the base...

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Jon Stewart Teams Up with Veterans Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits in Fight for Benefits

Jon Stewart Poses for Photo with Servicemember

Image credit: Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Public Affairs, CC license Jon Stewart is once again throwing his celebrity behind a campaign to pressure lawmakers to expand disability benefits, this time on behalf of veterans who operated near burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and later developed serious illnesses. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to recognize the comedian’s gift for getting to the heart of an issue in blunt terms. Last September, speaking at a press conference where lawmakers announced a bill that would fast-track benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits,...

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Everything Veterans Need to Know About Gulf War Syndrome

What Is Gulf War Syndrome? Gulf War Syndrome is a widely used term for a chronic multi-symptom illness that affects many veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Soldiers deployed to the Persian Gulf were exposed to a staggering variety of toxic chemicals, infectious diseases and combat stressors. Thirty years on, nearly 1 in 3 of these veterans suffer from a host of debilitating symptoms, from chronic fatigue to cognitive impairments. You can’t get a diagnosis of Gulf War syndrome, because doctors can’t say with certainty what causes it from a medical standpoint, and symptoms vary widely from one veteran to the next....

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