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Monthly Archives: May 2019

How to Help Gold Star Spouses Receive DOD & VA Survivor Benefits

Under current federal law, Gold Star spouses are prevented from receiving survivor’s benefits concurrently from the DOD and the VA even though they would normally qualify for both.  For now,  surviving wives and husbands of fallen soldiers must choose between one of these benefits or pass one on to their children.  While two bills introduced […]

Appealing Denials of Benefits-VA Family Caregivers Program

Sadly, in the VA health care system, family caregiver program denials are treated as clinical decisions vice a denial of disability compensation or pension benefits; thus, your appeal process is through the VHA instead of the VBA.  This means that you are not entitled to the full range of higher-level review and appeal options that […]

Army PEB Cases- When Your DA-7652 Doesn’t Match Your Evals

Like all the armed services, the Army PEB system is a performance-based disability system.  This means that the DA-7652 prepared by your Commander should specifically identify each of the medical conditions that adversely affect you in the performance of your duties.  He or she should describe in a sentence or two what the specific impact […]

Vital Tip for Coasties in the PDES Process at 18+Years Service

Exciting news for Coasties- the IPEB members at PSC-psd-de have begun specifically including recommendations for members with 18+ years who have been found unfit for future service to be retained on active duty until their 20-year retirement date.  And, bonus-  unlike the other armed services- the Coast Guard process is one in which you can […]

Can a 100% P&T Rating Be Set Aside Under CUE?

Recently, I have seen posts in online forums from several veterans with 100% P&T ratings from the DVA who have asked if these ratings can be set aside under a Clear and Unmistakable Error (“CUE”) theory if they begin working. My short answer- no.  Here is why- under 38 C.F.R. § 3.105(a), the VA must […]

Interesting DOD-Funded Study Using Speech Analysis to Diagnose PTSD

In a DOD-funded study published online in the journal Depression and Anxiety,  a team of NYU and SRI (the developers of Siri)  researchers revealed the development and testing of an artificial intelligence tool can distinguish- with an 89% degree of accuracy- between the voices of those with and without PTSD.  While this sounds promising on […]

Good News for Fibromyalgia Patients

For those of you with fibromyalgia who often encounter skepticism from military providers or a tendency to attribute most of your symptoms to a conversion or somatic dysfunction disorder, here is good news. “A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers — collaborating with a team at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden — has documented […]

Combat-Related- Covers More than Actual Combat

Many of my prospective clients do not realize that some of their injuries may be considered to be combat-related or incurred while in ultrahazardous service.  Recently, I have obtained combat-related status for two Marine Corps officers whose orthopedic injuries were incurred while participating in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).  Also, several of my […]

Read Your Findings Carefully, as Mistakes Happen!

In a recent Navy disability case, I was retained to represent a service member who had lost his case at a formal hearing.  However, upon reviewing the case file, the audio recording and the decision itself, I found that the board members had incorrectly assigned the member a 20% disability rating for a shoulder injury […]

New Coast Guard Medical Manual Pending

FYI to all Coasties on a limited duty status or pending a medical board- there is a new Coast Guard Medical Manual pending final authorization that, in its current draft format, eliminates any reference to the chronic use of immunosuppressants as being service-disqualifying.  This development is good news for those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, […]


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