The combination of disabilities, the complexity of the VA disability process, and scores of backlogged claims highlight the need to help veterans understand their representation options
Belleville, Illinois (PRWEB) November 03, 2015
Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability and veterans disability appeals services, will host an interactive free Web event, “True Help for Veterans with Disabilities” on Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST.
The event honors veterans ahead of Veterans Day and features veteran advocates and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), and a VA-accredited claims agent with Allsup. Register for this event at Webinar.Allsup.com.
Help with VA Disability Appeals
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), more than 3.9 million veterans receive VA disability benefits. About 294,000 veterans began receiving VA compensation benefits in 2014.
“Currently, the average processing time for an initial decision is 136 days,” said Brett Buchanan, VA-accredited claims agent with the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Service®.
The number of veterans with appeals pending is growing.
“Veterans have one year to appeal if they are denied or don’t agree with their rating,” Buchanan explained. “The VA publishes in 2014 it took an average of 330 days for that appeal to be decided by the Regional Office. If a veteran appealed that second decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, or BVA—it took on average 1,038 days for the BVA to make a decision. Appeals volume has grown 26 percent since 2013.”
The most prevalent service-connected disabilities include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tinnitus, hearing loss, knee and back pain and scarring. Veterans filing for VA compensation have an average of five different service-connected disabilities.
“The combination of disabilities, the complexity of the VA disability process, and scores of backlogged claims highlight the need to help veterans understand their representation options,” Buchanan said.
Help with Mental Health and Wellness
According to NAMI, military and veteran families experience high rates of stress and mental health symptoms. These may be related to multiple deployments, the challenges of life in the armed forces, and changes occurring among service members, veterans and their families.
Ingrid Yee, NAMI manager of Military and Veteran’s Policy and Support, will share information about NAMI Homefront—a free educational program for families, caregivers and friends of military service members and vets with mental health conditions.
Additional mental health resources and perspectives from veterans living with mental illness will be shared during the Web event, which includes an interactive chat room.
Help Understanding ‘Presumptive’ Conditions
The VA presumes that specific disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by their military service, a basic requirement for VA disability. One example of a presumptive condition is Parkinson’s disease among Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Linda Gulas, APDA veteran information and referral coordinator, will share resources available through the Dedicated Veteran Information and Referral Center for Parkinson’s disease.
Information on all VA presumptive conditions will be available during the Web event.
Help with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has initiatives designed to speed up the disability claims process for veterans meeting certain qualifications, but these efforts do not guarantee benefits for veterans seeking SSDI.
Among veterans receiving VA compensation, it’s estimated from 3.6 percent to 15.9 percent also receive SSDI benefits, based on data from the Center for Retirement Research and a 2007 Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission report. The commission found indications that veterans with the most severe disabilities did not know they were eligible to seek SSDI benefits, or they were denied benefits by Social Security.
“Veterans must meet very specific criteria to qualify for the SSA’s expedited programs,” said Tai Venuti, Allsup manager of Strategic Alliances. “During the Web event, I will explain the criteria for each program and how an SSDI representative can advocate for them to receive the benefits they deserve.”
Access To Experts On Nov. 10 and On Demand
All presenters will answer questions during the free live event, which will be available on demand after Nov. 10. On-demand participants may submit questions and receive email responses.
Additional True Help Web events:
For information on SSDI eligibility, visit Expert.Allsup.com or call (888) 841-2126.
Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, re-employment, exchange plan and Medicare services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Go to Webinar.Allsup.com for more information.