Veterans Hotline: VA seeks to expand TBI benefits

Attn Military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is publishing a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that would change its rules to add five diagnosable illnesses, which are secondary to service-connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

“We must always decide Veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available, and we will,” Secretary of veterans Affairs Erik K. Shinseki said. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence that ensure they receive benefits earned through their service to the country.

VA proposes to add a new subsection to its adjudication regulation by revising 38 CFR 3.310 to state that if a Veteran who has a service-connected TBI also has one of the five illnesses, then the illness will be considered service connected as secondary to the TBI.

Service connection under the proposed rule depends in part upon the severity of the TBI (mild, moderate or severe) and the period of time between the injury and onset of the secondary illness. However, the proposed rule also clarifies that it does not preclude a Veteran from establishing direct service connection even if those time and severity standards are not met.

It also defines the terms mild, moderate, and severe, consistent with Department of Defense (DOD) guidelines.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received.

The National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, published the report “Gulf War and Health, Volume 7: Long term consequences of TBI.” In the report, the IOM’s Committee on Gulf War and Health concluded that “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship”- the IOM’s highest evidentiary standard-existed between moderate and severe levels of TBI and diagnosed unprovoked seizures.

The IOM found ‘sufficient evidence of an association ‘between moderate or severe levels of TBI and Parkinsonism, dementias (which VA understands to include presenile dementia of the Alzheimer type and post-tramatic dementia); depression (which is also associated with mild TBI,) and diseases of hormone deficiency that may result from hypothalamo-pituitary changes.

For more info, go to http://www.dvbic.org/. or http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/index.asp

Craig Telehealth Clinic reminder

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers U.S. veterans state-of-the-art technology as well as onsite nursing support and remote practitioner availability. Our goal is to provide an extensive array of healthcare services to our veterans in a setting that is both accessible and professional.

In order to appropriately plan and coordinate your visit, access to the clinic is by appointment only. The clinic will [can] NOT handle emergency needs. Flu shot walk-ins are still on-going for Vets currently enrolled in the VAMC Healthcare system.

Questions? Call 824-6721.

For more

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot).

Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net.

The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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