Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Benefits’

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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(Sources: and

2017 Thanksgiving Reflections

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

An Appreciation…

This is the season Americans traditionally reflect on what matters to them. The same is true of my staff and me. We’re deeply grateful for the clients who have placed their trust in us and offer our sincere ‘thanks’ to each of you. We’ve worked tirelessly to provide legal expertise and emotional support to the injured—military veterans and workers alike. That’s our mission. If you or a loved-one have had your military service-related injury rejected or under valued, or suffered a job-related injury, tell us about your case. (Se habla español.) There’s never a cost for case evaluations.

Maurice L. Abarr, Esq.


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.

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.

Female Veterans Will Face Unique Health Issues; Part II ~ The Implications

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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The U.S. military is now integrating female soldiers into combat units. These women are destined to confront issues that their male comrades-in-arms simply don’t face. In addition to sexual harassment and assault—criminal acts—female soldiers must contend with anatomic realities that can have real consequences to their post-service health and well-being. Moreover, military recruiters have no incentive to mention them.

As noted by retired military experts on the subject, Julie Pulley and Hugh P. Scott in their Op/Ed piece, “Women recruits risk more” in the “Los Angeles Times” (25th July 2017):

“Military recruiters are aggressively targeting high school female athletes. Ads featuring women glamorize close-combat skills.” … “In this push for more female recruits, it’s not at all clear that young women—or the civilian population in general—understand the unique, disproportionate health risks women face in combat roles. The dangers, which have been known for decades, will undoubtedly be exacerbated as women serve in the most physically demanding units. Although the Pentagon has published studies detailing these gender differences, no such information is readily found on the Army or Marine recruiting websites. And the neighborhood recruiter isn’t likely to fill you in, either. But avoiding hard truths isn’t a legitimate way to attract new volunteers to the military.” …

“These differences will put women at a distinct disadvantage in newly opened infantry jobs, where they will be expected to carry 100-pound packs routinely, or in armor jobs, where they will have to load 35-pound rounds again and again. Women in these roles will have to constantly work at a higher percentage of their maximal capacity to achieve the same performance as men. No training system can close the gap.

Extreme physical activity, irregular meals, inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, sleep deprivation and stress are common in close-combat units. These factors can trigger “conservation mode” in women, which results in a decrease in female hormones, cessation of menstruation, and osteoporosis with a heightened risk of stress fractures.

We also know that if stress and exertion don’t suppress menstruation, many women in combat roles will choose to do so with hormonal contraceptive use. The side effects may include depression, weight gain and breakthrough bleeding. Depo-Provera, the contraceptive of choice for many military women, now carries a warning for loss of bone mineral density.

Pelvic floor injuries are another gender-specific danger for female troops. Studies have found heavy load bearing and paratrooper training can contribute significantly to urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse among women.” …

“[W]omen are approximately 67% more likely than men to receive a physical disability discharge from the army for a musculoskeletal disorder.”

The Bottom Line: If you’re female, your post-service health and well-being will be impacted. If you are still in the military, it is imperative that you “make a record” of symptoms as they develop. This means making trips to “sick call”—something that the military culture can discourage. But, you must protect your future. When you eventually separate from the service, be absolutely certain to: 1) report ALL symptoms and complaints you have at that time; and, 2) request a copy of all your Service Treatment Records from any and all locations at which you have ever been examined and/or treated. If your service-related disability case is denied, you will need the services of a law firm that specializes in this aspect of the law. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

(Also see Part I ~ The Facts)

Anxiety, Expectations, & You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Workers Compensation

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The prospect of seeking legal advice engenders anxiety in most of us—even other lawyers. The need to do so is problem enough. How to proceed adds yet another layer. Then, there’s: “How will I find the right attorney for my case? Will he/she be within my means? Must I pay up front?”

Valid concerns, all.

If you’re in need of a law firm that specializes in Veterans Disability Benefit cases and Workers Compensation law, you’re already hurting. You’re probably frustrated, too. You worry about where to turn. You worry about skill and competency. You worry about cost. It’s all quite human.

While we don’t presume to slay dragons, we are specialists in these areas of the law. Our first responsibility is to evaluate your case as carefully and compassionately as possible. We’ll give you our honest assessment—not a batch of over-promises. If we proceed together, we’ll work tirelessly with you to achieve a fair and equitable outcome.

In the end, perhaps the dragon that gets slain is the one called Anxiety.


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.

Supreme Court Denies Veterans Disability Offset Compensation To Ex-Spouses

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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On 15th May 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Howell v. Howell that a state court cannot force veterans to offset the loss of a divorced spouse’s portion of a veteran’s retirement benefits when that veteran waives retirement pay in favor of disability pay. The issues have been hotly debated for years. The ruling overturned an Arizona Supreme Court decision and is now settled law. The case details are probably more relevant to those who specialize in divorce or dissolution law. So, you need not immerse yourself in the minutiae—rest assured we understand the decision and its implications for our Veterans Disability clients. If you are contending with similar circumstances with an ex-spouse, contact a domestic-law specialist. If that attorney happens to be unfamiliar with this Supreme Court decision, tell them to call us.

The Bottom Line: If you have waived your veterans retirement pay (or a portion of it) in order to receive service-related disability benefits, courts can’t order you to indemnify a former spouse for the lost amount in her/his portion of your now reduced veteran’s retirement pay.

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