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by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)
Q – What does the word presumption mean by the VA?
Vinny, Bay City Michigan
A – In layman’s terms, the VA by law will process and approve a claim if the veteran means the criteria for the presumption condition. Upon approval, the Veteran illnesses will be considered service connected, and could result in a service-connected disability valued at thousands of dollars a month, which could include medical coverage for his family. Additionally, if the Veteran dies from an approved service connected illness claim, his spouse and dependents could be eligible for DIC and education benefits.
VETTIP – If the Veteran dies while the claim is being processed, his or her spouse or dependent child or dependent parent has the right to continue the claim or an appeal before the BVA on behalf of the claimant. A REQUEST to substitute for the deceased claimant. Emphasis, the word REQUEST, as the VA, more than likely, will not contact the deceased veteran spouse or next of kin; last year, Italian American War Veteran service officer assisted a widow who was previous told by the VA she was not eligible. After meeting with a veteran service officer, her application was resubmitted. Not only was she eligible for a monthly dependent compensation, but she netted over $20,000 in retroactive payment.
Here is the 2008 legislation , the law for the right to process the claim: §3.1010 Substitution under 38 U.S.C. 5121A following death of a claimant. Eligibility. If a claimant dies on or after October 10, 2008, a person eligible for accrued benefits under §3.1000(a) listed in 38 CFR 3.1000(a)(1) through (5) may, in priority order, request to substitute for the deceased claimant in a claim for periodic monetary benefits (other than insurance and service members’ indemnity) under laws administered by the Secretary, or an appeal of a decision with respect to such a claim, that was pending before the agency of original jurisdiction or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals when the claimant died. Upon VA’s grant of a request to substitute, the substitute may continue the claim or appeal on behalf of the deceased claimant for purposes of processing the claim or appeal to completion. Any benefits ultimately awarded are payable to the substitute and other members of a joint class, if any, in equal shares.
Presumptive Disability Benefits
What are “Presumptive” Conditions?
VA presumes that certain disabilities were caused by military service. This is because of the unique circumstances of a specific Veteran’s military service. If a presumed condition is diagnosed in a Veteran within a certain group, they can be awarded disability compensation.
Filing a claim and being approved service-connected disability benefits will ensure VA provides health care and monthly compensation( payments) which could be as high an estimated $3500 a month.
Moreover, if your death was a result of a VA approved service-connected disability, your surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC), which includes FREE college tuition and a stipend for eligible dependents.
If you’re the surviving spouse or child of a Veteran, fill out an Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ).
If you’re a surviving parent, fill out an Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s) (VA Form 21P-535).
More information on DIC go to the VA website, https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/
Did you know all veterans with 90 days or more of continuously active service in the military diagnosed with ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, has presumption by the VA?
Simply put, if you are diagnosed it’s assumed it was a result of your service; the veteran does not have to prove the illness is service connected. Filing a claim will result in a decision of service-connected disability, and could result in over $3,000 a month disability pension.
More information on ALS go to VA website, https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/index.cfm
Did you know the VA has a list of presumption conditions for veterans who serve at Camp Lejeune from August 1953 through December 1987, due to water contamination on the base that was also used for drinking water?
The presumption diagnosed illnesses for Camp Lejeune veterans include adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Parkinson?
More information https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/.
Did you know the VA has a list of presumption for veterans exposed to Agent Orange who served in Vietnam and the boats off the shores of Vietnam?
The presumption condition for Agent Orange was expanded this year to include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism. Previous illnesses include:
Chronic-b-cell leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (including lung cancer), and soft tissue sarcomas.
Simply put, after the veteran files a claim for any of the Agent Orange presumption conditions, the VA will verify the Vietnam veteran served in Vietnam and the location he was deployed to location while deployed Agent Orange was used. For more information on Agent Orange presumptions go to https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/.
Did you know Gulf war veterans who served in Southwest Asia since 1991 presumption conditions include? Functional gastrointestinal disorders Chronic fatigue syndrome Fibromyalgia Other undiagnosed illnesses, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, and headaches
If your illness or condition was diagnosed within one year of your date of separation
You can get disability benefits for one of these presumptive diseases: Brucellosis Campylobacter jejuni Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) Nontyphoid salmonella Shigella West Nile virus Malaria (or sooner in some cases)
If your illness or condition was diagnosed at any time after your date of separation
You can get disability benefits for your illness or condition if you have a disability rating for one of these presumptive diseases: Mycobacterium tuberculosis Visceral leishmaniasis Chronic asthma *Rhinitis *Sinusitis*
In closing, just because an illness you have been diagnosed with is not a presumption condition, and you believe the illness is linked to your service, gather the evidence to prove the link to your service and file a claim for benefits. The Italian American War Veteran, Inc veteran service organization is available to assist any veteran in understanding the veteran claim process and assist in navigating the process to file a claim for health or compensation benefits. All ITAM services are FREE. Contact information, firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone, (401) 677-9VETS.
Questions & Answers
You can file your disability compensation claim online, https://www.va.gov/disability/file-disability-claim-form-21-526ez/start
File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ).Download VA Form 21-526EZ (PDF)
Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:
Department of Veterans AffairsClaims Intake CenterPO Box 4444Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Bring your application to a VA regional office near you.:
Providence Regional Office
380 Westminster St.
Providence RI 02903
Benefits Office at providence VA Medical center
830 Chalkstone Ave Room 146 (main building)
Providence RI 02908
VETTIP – Recommend you get help with your claim by contacting FREE Veteran Service Officers at one of the veteran organization assisting Veteran with benefits and claims; Veterans Service Officer (VSO). We trust these professionals because they’re trained and certified in the VA claims and appeals processes and can help you with VA-related needs. The Veterans Foreign War, Vietnam Veterans of America, Italian American war veterans, and DAV, are some of the local veteran’s organization assisting veterans filing claims and appeal.
Saturday, August 28th, 12NOON – 4PM, “14th Annual Macaroni & Meatball Dinner Fundraiser”, hosted by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Rhode Island Chapter 9-1, VFW Post #237, 850 Hope Street, Bristol. Point of contact is Gary Rehak at 401.829.3004 (cell), or via email at email@example.com.
September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact Name: John Wear. Point of Contact Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Ontos units in Vietnam . . . in any capacity is welcome!!!