The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a plan that would implement a White House executive order focusing on improved mental health resources for United States military veterans. Under the plan, service personnel would become eligible for mental health veterans' benefits upon their discharge from the military. David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, said the plan would be sent to the White House for executive approval before it is implemented.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers benefits and services to military personnel who have served the United States in uniform. Benefits range from health care to education, depending on the branch and terms of your enlistment. Personnel who have served on active duty are entitled to more comprehensive benefits, while service-injured veterans comprise the group to whom the most VA benefits are available.
Since 2011, those who care for certain combat-injured veterans have been eligible to receive a caregiver training, a monthly stipend, stress counseling and access for health insurance. The program currently limits these veterans benefits to those who have been injured since 9/11/2001 who are unable to perform at least one daily living activities, such as getting dressed or preparing meals.
When veterans who were injured in combat leave the military, they are given a lump-sum disability payment upon their separation. Between 1991 and 2016 - nearly a quarter of a century - the Department of Defense (DOD) has withheld federal taxes from payments to as many as 133,000 combat-injured veterans. Such withholding, however, is contrary to federal law: Lump sum veterans' disability payments were supposed to be tax-free.
Although the process for initiating a claim for veteran's disability benefits has become quicker and more streamlined over the past decade, recent changes to the program now prevent veterans from applying for benefits before leaving their branch of service. Under the former "quick start" process, veterans could start the claim process if they had 59 days or fewer left to serve. The Department of Veterans Affairs phased out the "quick start" program in 2017.
In 2007, before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense rolled out their Integrated Disability Evaluation System, the average amount of time it took for a veteran's benefit application to be processed was well over a year -- 540 days. Thanks to the IDES and improved cooperation between VA and DoD, the average processing time for a claim has dropped to 250 days. This means veterans with a service-connected disability claim receive the financial and medical benefits they need much more quickly.
Just recently this Georgia disability benefits and veterans' issues blog discussed the prevalence of American veterans who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Disability benefits are available to those men and women who suffer from long-term illnesses and injuries that prevent them from earning sufficient incomes to meet their needs. Individuals who have served in the armed forces are often part of this population but may not be aware of their rights to pursue benefits.
Social Security disability benefits are a financial lifeline for millions of Americans who cannot work due to long-term debilitating illnesses and injuries. What Georgia residents may not know, though, is that there is a large subset of the disability benefits-receiving population who are former members of our nation's military. Disabled veterans do receive and can apply for Social Security disability benefits to help maintain their needs after their periods of service have ended.
It is important for those that honorably served our country to be familiar with disability benefits options available to them. Disability benefits is a monetary benefit paid to disabled veterans that are disabled because of a disease or injury that they suffered or was aggravated during their active duty military service. Compensation for other disabilities may also be available depending on the circumstances.
Veterans may suffer from physical and psychological disability related to their service. It is important that disabled veterans are familiar with the disability options that may be available to them. Veterans' benefits may be available for a service-related disability. When veterans applying for disability benefits are denied benefits, it is also important for them not to give up and exhaust the appeals process to obtain the badly-needed benefits.