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Report raises concerns about care provided to veterans

Readers may have heard about the resignation of Eric Shinseki, former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The move is believed to be in response to serious concerns about the treatment provided to service members at Veterans Affairs hospitals. 

Specifically, long waits may be causing harm to service members who may be injured, ill or disabled. In some cases, the wait was simply for an initial evaluation by a primary care physician. It’s unclear whether the delayed care resulted in serious injuries. However, an attorney that focuses on disability benefits knows that the prognosis for some disabling conditions may be time-sensitive.

In cases of severe impairment, a veteran may also qualify for other programs. Social Security disability insurance eligibility requires a 100 percent level of impairment, and Medicaid guidelines in many states often mirror those of the Supplemental Security Income program. A veteran could conceivable qualify for both VA and SSDI benefits

Yet functional impairment does not have to be the result of a single condition. In some cases, a combination of disabilities may have the aggregate effect of total disability.

In addition to knowing the law, a disability benefits attorney can also guide individuals through the Social Security disability claims and appeals process, as well as the application procedures for any other programs to which an individual might qualify. That guidance may require follow-up work to the initial filing, and possibly appeals. In the latter case, an attorney can also prepare an applicant for what to expect at his or her administrative appeals hearing.

Source: The New York Times, “Senators Reach Accord Easing Worries Over Veterans’ Health Measure,” Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer, June 5, 2014

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