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September 2015 Archives

Military Testing and Veterans' Benefits, Part 3: Atomic Tests

A previous blog described the tests conducted on soldiers at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland during the Cold War era. This post discusses the tests conducted on members of the military during the same period to determine the consequences of exposure to radiation and other atomic substances.

Gulf War Veterans and VA Disability Benefits

Gulf War veterans who served in the Persian Gulf region from 1990 to 2001 are getting older, with most in their 40s and 50s. The health consequences of service in the Persian Gulf have been studied extensively by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies.

Military Testing and Veterans Benefits, Part 2: Edgewood Arsenal Tests

A previous blog post described the mustard gas tests conducted on WWII-era soldiers to determine how the enemy might respond to the use of such substances. This post discusses the chemical and pharmaceutical tests conducted at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland on soldiers who were threatened with dishonorable discharge or deployment to Vietnam if they talked about their experiences.

VA Spends $1.3 Billion For Only Partial Improvement

RFV soldier in uniform.jpgThe Department of Veterans Affairs received and spent $1.3 billion to replace its paper-based disability and pension benefits application system. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the VA still cannot fully support claims processing and appeals through its benefits management system.

Military Testing and Veterans Benefits, Part 1: Mustard Gas Tests

It sounds like something out of a horror or sci-fi movie. Tens of thousands of military personnel were exposed to chemical warfare and other agents, usually without their informed consent or knowledge - all in the name of science. In some instances, soldiers were tricked into participating in the experiments. Many received incentives such as light duty and extra leave. Most were told to never talk about their experiences as guinea pigs.

Continued Backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has touted the significant reductions made in the backlog of VA disability benefit claims, it still faces problems. At least 900,000 veterans have health care applications pending with the VA, according to a report published Sept. 2 by the inspector general's office.

VA Disability Benefits Backlog Reduced Below 100,000

soldier-478729_640.jpgThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has reduced the number of claims in its backlog to one-sixth the size it was in 2013, when 611,000 claims were waiting for more than 125 days. In addition, Allison Hickey, the VA undersecretary for benefits, reported that the accuracy of claims processing has improved to 91 percent from 83 percent in 2011.

COLA for Vets Receiving VA Disability

Disabled vets will probably receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in their disability benefit checks in 2016. On July 28, the House of Representatives passed the COLA for veterans receiving disability benefits. The actual amount of the COLA is unknown, however, because by law it will be the same as the increase in Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration will not announce the increased percentage until October.