Blue Water Benefits May Be Delayed

Just about a year ago, I posted that it appeared that Blue Water Navy Veterans of the Vietnam War would be eligible for Disability Compensation for conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange to the same extent as veterans whose boots had been on the ground.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which was signed into law  on June 25, 2019,  applies to Navy veterans who served offshore from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975. The veterans had to have served on a vessel that was no more than 12 nautical miles from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, and have a disease that is recognized by the VA as being associated with herbicide exposure, according to the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Now, it looks as though those veterans may need to wait until 2020 to actually receive the benefits.   Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie ordered a stay on the implementation of the law until amendments to the statute go into effect on January 1.

Even though claims that are now authorized by the Blue Water Act will not be acted on before the end of this year, I encourage veterans to submit those with claims as soon as possible, so they will be in the queue. The claims of veterans who are over age 85, and those will life-threatening diseases will be processed first.

Additional Benefits for Purple Heart Recipients

Veterans who earned Purple Hearts for injuries received in the line of duty are eligible for additional benefits and preferential treatment from both the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration, even when those benefits are unrelated to their service connected injuries.

All Purple Heart recipients are entitled to be treated on a priority basis at VA hospitals.  In addition, they are exempt from co-pays for their healthcare through the VA system.

Now, VA Secretary Wilkie has announced that the VA will provide priority processing for all claims for disability compensation or improved pension for veterans who are homebound or who require aid and attendance  filed by Purple Heart recipients on or after April 1, 2019.

Many Caregivers Ignore Their Own Health

A survey conducted by the AP - NORC Center for Public Affairs documented what many of us already know.  When we are caring for an ill spouse or an aging loved one,  we often neglect our own health. About 40% of Americans have spent time helping … [Continue reading]

Vietnam Blue Water Veterans May Soon Receive Their Benefits

Almost 90,000 veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals on their ships off the coast of Vietnam, but were previously not given presumptive  exposure  status because they did not have boots on the ground, may soon be … [Continue reading]

The Right to Appeal Your Observation Status

I have written before about the consequences of a hospital keeping a patient in "observation status" rather than admitting her.  Although the care may be the same, the partient who has been admitted is covered by the much more comprehensive Medicare … [Continue reading]

Will Medicare Cover You on Vacation?

Now that we are into the summer travel season,  it's important to remember that, for the most part, Medicare does not cover health care outside the United States. Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital care, including a doctor, ambulance services … [Continue reading]

Several Foundations Funding Research to Increase Understanding of Long Term Services and Supports

Readers of ths Blog are probably aware that Medicare does not cover most of the long term care that seniors need, and Medicaid only covers those services for individuals with low incomes and minimal assets.   Private Long Term Care Insurance may … [Continue reading]

Be on the Lookout for Your New Medicare Card

The Social Security Administration has already started sending new Medicare Cards to all recipients on a rolling basis. The first group of new cards is being sent between April and June of this year to Medicare recipients in Alaska, California, … [Continue reading]

Veterans Care Financial Protection Act Sent to the President

In a rare show of bipartisan support, the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act has been sent to President Trump. The objective of this bill is to prevent unscrupulous organizations and individuals from taking advantage of veterans with the … [Continue reading]

Who Can Support our Unsupported Seniors?

At this time of year, when families are coming together for Easter or Passover, seniors who do not have strong family connections can often be overlooked. But according to a study by Dr. Maria T. Carney, published in Current Gerontology and … [Continue reading]

Organizing a Life

Readers of this blog know that my mother was an inspiration for my elder law practice, and the source of much of the information I chose to share in this blog. Sadly, my family lost my mother in early November,  after a long and full life of … [Continue reading]

The Cost of Medicare

Those of you who particiapte in Medicare have probably heard that the monthly premium for Part B will be $134 in 2018.  Although this figure has not increased from 2017, it does not mean that Medicare will cost the same in the coming year. A large … [Continue reading]

New White House Hotline for Veterans

The Veterans Administration has announced that the White House VA Hotline is now staffed with live agents who can answer veterans' calls 24/7, 365 days a year.  In an effort to assure that the agents can relate to the callers' experience, 90% of them … [Continue reading]

Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions for 2018

Whether there will still be an estate tax in 2018, and what is will look like, is  much in the news this week, as the House of Representatives released its Tax Reform Proposal. Meanwhile, based on the laws that are still in effect today, the … [Continue reading]