Kentucky Boyle Post 46
Helping others for a better Life!


6-1-19

 

Post 46 Service Officer:  Gene Klaus, gaklaus@msn.com, 989-284-5972.

 

Post Service Officers (PSO) from this area meet with Veterans on scheduled Fridays at the Sousley Campus (Leestown Campus) of the Lexington VAMC.  Time: 07:30 to 11:30 Place: Building 28, room 15.  (Building 28 is at the far right of the complex.  Enter at south end of building 28 next to loading dock.  Room 15 is last door on right.)  Other times and places are available by arrangement as needed.

 

The most common Veteran needs addressed are Disability Benefits (new and appeals), benefit changes, and Surviving Spouse and Dependent Benefits (DIC).

 

Meeting schedules for June and July 2019 are: 6-7, 6-14, 6-28, 7-12, 7-19, 8-2, and 8-9.

 

Please email or call Gene Klaus if you have any questions.

 

Service Officer Tips

 

NOTICE:  The Lexington VA will host a town hall meeting with Veterans and their families on June 7, 2019, at 17:30 to 18:30 at VFW 680, 1494 Leestown Rd, Lexington.

 

Previous Tips discussed applying for VA care, VA benefits as related to service-connected issues, the appeals process, and survivor benefits.  There is often another overlooked benefit for qualified Veterans—pension.

 

PENSION:

 

A pension differs from compensation in that it is needs-based assistance.  In general, a Veteran must have served for at least 90 days, with at least one day during a wartime period.  Pensions are paid when any total disability-whether it is service connected or not, leads to the Veteran requiring financial assistance.  The amount paid is a flat amount.  The pension benefit is offset by other income dollar-for-dollar.  Note: Any Veteran over the age of 65 is presumed to be totally disabled for the pension program.  Veterans can apply for a need-based pension, a special monthly pension, or benefits because a child is severely disabled. 

 

To qualify for a needs-based pension the Veteran’s family income cannot exceed the maximum amount for which he is applying.  (The 2019 family basic pension limit is $20,731, adjusted for medical expenses.)  Total family assets cannot exceed $127,061 for 2019.  A special pension, in addition to the basic pension, may be awarded for home-bound expense or Aid and Attendance, which is designed to assist in covering the cost of a nursing home, assisted living facility, or long-term care facility (a surviving spouse may also receive an amount for long-term care.).   A third pension category is for a child incapable of self-support.  To substantiate such a claim, the evidence must show that the child, before his/her 18th birthday, became permanently incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical disability.  Note:  A special pension may be granted to Veterans who may not be eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income.

 

It is important for Veterans to understand that any income received must be reported at least annually to the VA for continued pension benefit.  This includes the income of a spouse, should the Veteran marry during the year.  The VA will collect any over-payment directly from a Veteran’s pension or any other compensation received.

 

A Service Officer can assist with the completion of the multiple documents needed for a pension application.

 

Case study tip:  Promptly reply to all VA inquiries since most have a firm deadline for response.



5-1-19


Post 46 Service Officer: Gene Klaus, gaklaus@msn.com, 989-284-5972.

Post Service Officers (PSO) from this area meet with Veterans on scheduled Fridays at the Sousley Campus (Leestown Campus) of the Lexington VAMC.  Time: 07:30 to 11:30 Place: Building 28, room 15.  (Building 28 is at the far right of the complex.  Enter at south end of building 28 next to loading dock.  Room 15 is last door on right.)  Other times and places are available by arrangement as needed.

The most common Veteran needs addressed are Disability Benefits (new and appeals), benefit changes, and Surviving Spouse and Dependent Benefits (DIC).

 Meeting schedule for May, June, and July 2019 are:  5/3, 5/17, 5/24, 6/7, 6/14, 6/28, 7/12, and 7/19.

 Please email or call Gene Klaus if you have any questions.


SERVICE OFFICER TIPS

 The previous Tips discussed applying for compensation benefits.  Once the VA makes a compensation decision on the Veterans’ application, the Veteran is notified of the decision.  If the VA grants a benefit, the percentage and amount are presented.  If the decision is a denial, the reasons for the denial are presented.  The Veteran has the right to appeal and should do so.

 Appeals process:

Complete forms sent with the VA decision or meet with a Service Officer to discuss the most appropriate manner in which to appeal. 

 Starting February 2019 there will be two types of appeals:  (1) those appeals that existed prior to   2/14/19 (Legacy Appeals) and (2) new appeals under the Appeals Modernization Process.  Veterans who have appeals in process under the Legacy Appeals Process will continue under that process.

 The new Appeals Modernization Process is designed to make VA decisions more timely, transparent and fair.  If you receive an initial claim decision after February 2019 and you disagree, you can choose one of three new paths to have your disagreement reviewed:  (1) supplemental claim; (2) a higher-level review; or (3) appealing directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. 

 The Supplemental claim process is expected to take 125 days to complete.  This option is taken if there is new and relevant evidence to support the benefit claim. 

 The Higher Level review process is also expected to take 125 days to complete.  This option is taken if there is no new evidence to present.  The review of your claim will be by an experienced claims adjudicator. 

 The path of Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals can be a lengthy process. The Veteran can have his case directly reviewed by the Board without new evidence or a hearing, submit new evidence without a hearing, or choose to submit new evidence and have a hearing with a Veterans Law judge.

 There are further appeals after any of these processes should the Veteran not agree with the VA’s decision.

 Case study tip:  Veterans need to review their claim when there is any new information.  For example:  A diabetic who changes from oral medication to insulin shots should file for a benefit increase.  




4/1/19

POST 46 SERVICE OFFICER:  Gene Klaus, gaklaus@msn.com, 989-284-5972
Post Service Officers (PSO) from this area meet with Veterans on scheduled Fridays at the Sousley Campus (Leestown Campus) of the Lexington VAMC.  Time:  0730 to 1130; Place:  Building 28, Room 15 (Building 28 is at the far right of the complex.  Enter at south end of building 28 next to loading dock.  Room 15 is last door on right).  Other times and places are available by arrangement as needed.

The most common Veteran needs addressed are Disability Benefits (new and appeals),benefit changes, and Surviving Spouse and Dependent Benefits (DIC).

Meeting schedule for April and May 2019:  4/5, 4/26; 5/3, 5/17, 5/24; 6/7.  Please email or call Gene Klaus if you have any questions.

SERVICE OFFICER TIPS

VA Transportation:  The VA has a van on Wednesdays that comes from the CBOC in Somerset to Lexington - Cooper and Leestown.  Danville Veterans can ride as long as they have clinic appointments between 1000 and 1330.  (Note:  Primary Care Mental Health Clinics are at Leestown.  Specialist Clinics are at Cooper).  Riders must call 859-381-5912 to arrange transport.

The March Service Officer Tips discussed applying for benefits.  What happens once benefits have been requested?  The typical process is as follows:

1)  A qualified Service Officer (SO) sends the Benefit Application to the Regional VA Office (RO).  The RO reviews the application and sends an acknowledgement letter to the Veteran.
2)  A C&P (Compensation and Pension) examination is ordered by the RO.  This is a detailed medical examination to determin the medical condition of the Veteran.
3)  The RO reviews the C&P examination results and all supporting documentation submitted with the Benefit Application.  Additional information may be requested from the Veteran.
4)  A decision is made concerning the benefits requested.  The RO will either grant a benefit or deny a benefit.  The decision is sent to the Veteran, along with a detailed explanation of the decision and the process for a decision appeal.
5)  The Veteran has one year to appeal the RO decision, after which, the decision becomes final.  The Veteran appeals through a Service Officer or by completing the forms the RO sends with the benefit determination.

How long does the process take?  The process typically takes from 4 months to 18 months or more.  Any benefit granted is effective from the date of the original application.

What can the Veteran do to help the process?  The Veteran can:
1)  Ensure that his/her address and contact information are current.  Changes must be reported as soon as possible to the VA.
2)  Sign up for Ebenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov.  This will enable the Veteran to closely follow the benefit process and to upload information relevant to his/her claim.  
3)  The Veteran can contact the National Call Center for an in-depth explanation of questions concerning his/her benefit application by calling 1-800-827-1000.
4)  Sign up for myhealthevet at www.myhealth.va.gov.  

This is an abbreviated explanation of the C&P process.  Please contact a Service Officer for more detail.


2/28/19
POST 46 SERVICE OFFICER:  Gene Klaus, gaklaus@msn.com, 989-284-5972
Post Service Officers (PSO) from this area meet with Veterans on scheduled Fridays at the Sousley Campus (Leestown Campus) of the Lexington VAMC.  Time: 0700-1130; Place: Building 28, Room 15.  Enter at the south end of building next to loading dock.  Room 15 is the last door on right.  Other times and places are available as needed.  The most common Veteran needs addressed are Disability Benefits (new and appeals), Pension Benefits, and Surviving Spouse and Dependent Benefits (DIC).

Meeting schedule for March and April 2019:  3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/29; 4/5, 4/26, 5/3
Please email or call Mr. Klaus if you have any questions.

SERVICE OFFICER TIPS

How does a Veteran become a VA Patient?

1)  The first step is to visit www.va.gov and select VA Benefits and Health Care from the drop down menu.  You may also meet with a Service Officer or call 877-222-8387 to talk with a VA representative.  The Service Office will assist with your application and also assist you with applying for disability benefits if that is indicated.  There are several categories of patients.  For example, those who have just finished a 12-month combat tour, Vietnam Veterans (served "in country"), Purple Heart recipient, or those who receive Medicaid.

2)  Once the required application is completed, the Veteran can either mail the document or take it to a VA medical center.  VA medical centers can be found at www.va.gov.  You will need to provide the following:  (a) a copy of both sides of your current insurance card (including Medicare and Medicaid); (b) a copy of your DD214 "Armed Forces Report of Transfer or Discharge;" and (c) Purple Heart recipients only: a copy of your award letter if "Purple Heart" is not noted on the DD214.

3)  The telephone number of the Health Benefits Center (eligibility office) of the Lexington VAMC is 859-233-4511, ext. 4948 or 859-281-4948.  The eligibility office is located in Bldg. 1, Leestown Campus, 2550 Leestown Rd, Lexington KY 40511.

How does a Veteran submit a claim?

1)  A claim may be submitted by the Veteran on www.va.gov, select "VA Benefits and Health Care" from the drop down menu, and then select "Disability."  Complete the application and mail it and all supporting documents to the indicated application location. 

2)  The Veteran can also meet with a Service Officer who will complete the application with the Veteran and submit it on his/her behalf.  The Service Officer will assist with the initial application and any subsequent appeals should the claim be denied.

3)  Documentation needed is any claim application:
     a)  All medical records from non-government providers
     b)  DD214
     c)  Banking information to include account number, bank name, and routing number.

Claim progress can be monitored by completing an account on www.ebenefits.va.gov.

NOTE:  Any qualified Veteran can apply for benefits.  The VA evaluates each application on an individual basis.