Web site offers guide for disabled service members


© 2008, Springfield News-Leader



War veterans from all eras including those recently discharged from the military have a new resource for learning how to establish that a current disability or condition is related to military service or existed prior to military service and was aggravated by such service.

The Veterans�s Self-Help Guide is available at www.unitedspinal.org/publications/vetsfirst/.

To succeed in a claim for Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation for a disability or condition, vets must have a medical diagnosis of a current disability, medical (or sometimes non-medical) evidence that the disability had its onset during active military service and medical evidence of a linkage between active military service and the current disability, according to a news release from the United Spinal Association.

A Veterans� Self-Help Guide also provides information about VA pensions for veterans whose disabilities are not related to military service and the circumstances under which such pensions might be available. Other important VA programs covered in the guide include benefits for dependents and survivors of veterans, the VA health care system, appeals of claims for VA compensation and pension and getting help from VA-authorized veterans service organizations like United Spinal Association.

Of particular note is that National Guard members and reservists who have served on active duty in a theater of combat operations have special eligibility for VA health care, including inpatient, outpatient and nursing home care, for five years following their separation from active service, the news release said.

While the guide contains some information particular to VA benefits for United Spinal veteran members with spinal cord injuries and diseases like multiple sclerosis and ALS, much of its content is applicable to any veteran of U.S. military service, the news release said.

http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080303/BREAKING01/80303052


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