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VA Check this one out!

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:57 pm
by Ernie Milito
:lol: In August 2011, Senator Udall asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work together to notify veterans who were discharged with less than 20% rating to apply for a review of their medical discharge.

The VA and DOD have agreed and are now working together to make this happen. The Army Times has recently published the article below on this issue:

VA-DOD Disability Review
Army Times: Tens of thousands eligible for medical disability review
By, Patricia Kime,

Tens of thousands eligible for medical disability review

The Pentagon plans to notify more than 77,000 former service members that they are eligible for a review of their medical disability ratings.

Starting in January, the Veterans Benefit Administration and Defense Department's Physical Disability Board of Review, or PDBR, will send letters to veterans discharged between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2009, urging them to apply for a review.

Eligible are veterans who received disability ratings of 20 percent or lower from their military medical boards.

The PDBR, created in 2008 by Congress to address what were seen as inconsistencies in disability ratings granted by the various services, can determine whether veterans initially received fair ratings or are eligible for an increase.

At the 30 percent threshold, veterans qualify for medical retirement, which carries lifetime retired pay, medical care and other benefits.

In August, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., wrote Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki urging him to open VA's database to the PDBR to help board members contact eligible vets. Many are unaware of the opportunity; since January 2009, the PDBR has received applications from about 3,000 veterans, less than 4 percent of those eligible.

VBA and the PDBR will send out the letters in batches, starting with 16,000 of the earliest eligible service members - those discharged between 2001 and 2003, PDBR spokeswoman Ann Shippy said.

"This is so we can see what the application rate will be and get them boarded in a timely manner," she said.

All qualified veterans should receive a letter by Oct. 1, she said.

The PDBR process is slow - applications take an average of 430 days to process - but it has resulted in ratings upgrades for nearly 50 percent of those who have applied, Shippy said.

Udall praised the teamwork between VA and DoD on the notifications.

"The program is being underutilized ... I hope to see many more veterans apply to the PDBR and get the benefits they should have earned to begin with," Udall said.