Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Administration’

Preventing PTSD Tragedy & You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Uncategorized, Veterans Disability

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We’re left with a mix of sadness and frustration in the wake of the shooting incident at the Yountville (California) Veterans Home. The combat veteran, Albert Wong, and three of the employees working there to help veterans at The Pathway Home are dead. Wong was believed to be suffering from PTSD—a consequence of his service in Afghanistan. The factors that drove him to this act may never be fully known. Delusion and paranoia, combined with misdiagnosis and bureaucratic ineptitude, come to mind. Clearly, the potential for tragedy haunts segments of our veteran population.

It is not yet known what happened to Wong during his service or why he was removed from The Pathway Home. Should he have been receiving inpatient care at a federal VA medical center? Was his case referred to VA for follow-up once he was ejected from the program? We don’t know.

We do know that families and caregivers of PTSD veterans usually have the proximity and familiarity to notice when a veteran’s perceptions and behaviors become troubling. This makes intervention possible.

Unfortunately, veterans with a PTSD rating may fear that lawmakers will push for new legislation denying gun ownership to those in PTSD treatment. Soldiers have been trained to place their trust in their weapons. It’s possible that some veterans will refuse to seek treatment out of a misguided fear they will lose their 2nd Amendment rights.

The Bottom Line: If a veteran in your midst begins to veer into dangerous waters, seek help for them. Our staff is uniquely qualified to address cases where veterans disabilities—such as PTSD—have been mis-diagnosed and/or under-valued by the VA. We have the resources to help prevent tragedy. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Your Valentine To…You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability, Workers Compensation

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Loving one’s self is hardly aberrant. This is particularly true when you’ve been injured in body or spirit as a consequence of your military service or due to your employment. You’re probably hurting and, as a consequence, you may feel marginalized or unworthy in some way. Not so. You matter. You deserve help and that starts with loving yourself enough to reach out for it.

The Bottom Line: We have the specialized skills to get justice for military veterans and injured workers. We understand the needs of victims like you (or your loved one). Contact us for a free case evaluation.


NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

New Legal Decision Benefits Veterans PTSD Ratings

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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An important legal decision has been handed down that will impact veterans suffering from the debilitating effects of PTSD. The criteria the VA must use has been broadened. The decision requires the Board of Veterans Appeals to “engage in a holistic analysis” of a veteran’s mental health symptoms to determine the proper disability percentage when establishing a PTSD rating. The arcane case details that led to this important decision are probably less relevant to you than they are to us. What matters is that we now have new legal tools and evaluation standards to help ensure veterans like you are correctly evaluated for service-related PTSD.

The Bottom Line: We pride ourselves in being at the leading edge of Veterans Disability issues. If you feel your (or a loved one’s) PTSD case has been mishandled or undervalued by the VA, we have the expertise to help you get a fair shake. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Veterans Brain Injuries

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Uncategorized, Veterans Disability

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CBS’ “60 Minutes” program broadcast 7 January 2018 included a segment that focused on the traumatic brain injuries resulting from the shock waves from exploding shells, bombs, and improvised explosive devices striking the heads of soldiers. The long-term implications for veterans’ health and well-being are dramatic…possibly dire. Clinically known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the condition is being explored with a growing sense of urgency.

You can learn more by watching both the original segment and 60 Minutes Overtime segment.

60 Minutes Graphic

60 Minutes Overtime Graphic

The Bottom Line: If you have exhibited symptoms similar to those who are now being diagnosed with CTE, you may need a more definitive medical evaluation. Your condition may have been misdiagnosed and/or your claim may have been undervalued by the VA. We may be able to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Scams Targeting Veterans Like You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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According to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network lead researcher, Doug Shadel, veterans are twice as likely to lose money to scams. Shadel noted that the con artists he’s interviewed have confided that the best way to scam a vet is to pretend to be one. “It’s sort of using their sense of patriotism and brotherhood against them,” Shadel said.

In an effort to combat this, the AARP has written the booklet shown below to help veterans protect themselves from such exploitation. It’s available here as a pdf file.

AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook Graphic

The Bottom Line: Be aware, stay informed, and cultivate healthy skepticism to avoid being manipulated by con artists posing as comrades-in-arms. If anyone’s earned a fair shake, it’s you. Similarly, if you don’t feel you’re getting fairly treated by the VA about a service-related disability, we have the specialized skills to help. If you believe your claim has been undervalued or denied outright, contact us for a free case evaluation.

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Veterans Day 2017 Reflections

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

An Appreciation…

Today is the day Americans formally remember the debt owed to their military service members—my staff and me, amongst them. It began as “Armistice Day”—commemorating the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when WWI ended in 1918. The “Great War,” as it was then known, was supposed to be the war that ended all war.

Like soldiers from that time, you served. You put life and limb at risk. You did your best to honor the commitment you made when you became a member of the United States armed forces. Some of you paid a very high price indeed. Others you served with paid the ultimate price. Some of you cope with lingering injuries to mind and body that are the legacy of your military service. In addition to respect, you deserve a fair shake. “Thanks” is simply not enough.

The Bottom Line: We understand the frustration you and your loved-ones experience when a service-related injury claim is under-valued or denied outright by the VA. We can help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

New PBS Documentary Examines U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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The Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS), known for its excellence in documentary programming, will be broadcasting a new production “The Human Cost of War” that examines the Department of Veterans Affairs and how well it handles the needs of those who’ve served in the nation’s armed forces. In the greater Los Angeles area, it will premiere on KOCE Channel 50 at 9:00 pm this evening (6 November 2016). Additional broadcasts are scheduled for the following dates/times:

7 Nov, 3:00 AM
10 Nov, 3:00 PM
11 Nov, 5:00 AM

I have not been accorded the opportunity to preview this production, but will be tuned-in and also recording it. If you’re unable to view it tonight, you may be able to schedule it for recording during its run. In keeping with PBS norms, the program is likely to be broadcast at some point on the two minor PBS affiliates that also serve our area, KVCR Channel 24 and KLCS Channel 58.

The Bottom Line: Veterans often don’t get a fair shake from the VA. My staff and I pride ourselves in having the unique skills and insights to enable veterans who have had their claims denied or under-valued to get a square deal. Contact us for a free case evaluation, should you find yourself or a loved one to be in need.

VA “Proposal To Reduce” & You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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In the event you receive a letter from the Veterans Administration proposing to reduce the percentage of your disability award, you need to take prompt action to protect yourself.

The VA’s decision is likely based upon some review and interpretation of the medical evidence which has triggered the sending of this notice. If you do nothing, the VA will assume you agree with this finding and it will proceed in its inimitable bureaucratic way to reduce your award.

There is a window of opportunity to challenge and slow down this process. You must request (in writing) a hearing within thirty (30) days of the notice’s date. The VA’s proposal to reduce is not a final decision and you cannot immediately appeal the proposal itself.

However, if you request a hearing within the 30-day period, it will take months for the hearing to be scheduled. During that time, you can be obtaining medical evidence to prove you are still disabled to the same degree—or possibly more disabled than the percentage originally awarded to you.

The Bottom Line: Doing nothing is NOT in your interest. If the VA reduces your award percentage, you will have to go through the long process of appealing that reduction—all the while receiving a lower monetary benefit triggered by the reduced percentage. If you have had your VA benefits claim denied or reduced, contact us for a case review. There’s no cost for this. My staff and I have the specialized skills to help you get a fair deal from the VA.

A Backward Glance & Today’s Reality

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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I imagine many of you are following Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s landmark documentary, “The Vietnam War,” on PBS. The reality of combat and the medical challenges that spring from it leave deep wounds—often in mind, as much as in body. Compounding this, a sense of societal alienation and civilian hostility to the mission may further exacerbate it for many veterans.

The Bottom Line: Rest assured, my staff and I understand your reality. More importantly, we have the specialized skills and unique insights necessary to help those who have had their veterans disability claims denied or undervalued. Tell us about your situation. There’s no cost for a case evaluation. Ever.

Veterans Need Your Help

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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The “band of brothers/sisters” loyalty that binds military veterans is one of the strongest and most enduring. Veterans like you are also voters. Moreover, you have the same right to petition our elected representatives as every other American citizen. This is one of those times. Consider this notice from the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association:

Abarr Blog 50 graphic

Agent Orange is an insidious poison with far reaching and long-term implications. Urging congressional support for Senate bill S-422 and House of Representatives bill HR-299 is your opportunity to make a difference for comrades-in-arms. We urge you to NOT delay in making your sentiments about these bills known to your Senators and your Congressional Representative. More information is available here.

The Bottom Line: If you’ve had such exposure and had your claim for disability denied or undervalued, contact us for a free case evaluation. We have the specialized skills to help you get a fair deal.

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