Those who have honorably served our country as members of the active duty military may be eligible for health benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In general, to qualify, veterans must have served 24 continuous months, or the full period for which they were called to active duty. They may also be eligible if they served for a shorter period of time but were disabled in the line of duty. Most would agree that former members of our military deserve outstanding health care, especially if their military service caused lasting health problems. However, VA health care has been plagued by problems in recent years, making it difficult for our veterans to obtain timely, high-quality treatment.
One problem is the denial of services to veterans who should qualify due to errors. Some veterans have problems simply getting in the door. In 2015, over 35,000 combat veterans were denied enrollment due to a glitch in the VA’s computer system, a glitch that remained uncorrected months after it was first discovered. Other veterans are denied the full benefits to which they are entitled because the VA incorrectly assesses the severity of their service-related disability, or improperly denies that a disability is service-related. VA findings on disability can be important because even if a service-related disability is not judged to impact your ability to work, it may still qualify you for health care. A permanent 100% disability rating, on the other hand, may qualify your family for coverage as well as yourself.
The rules to qualify for VA health care are complicated. Your eligibility may vary depending on your length and type of service, and your financial obligation (co-pays and travel expenses to reach a VA facility, for example) may depend on your income and whether or not you are seeking treatment for a service-connected injury. If the VA has made a decision about your eligibility that you do not agree with, your case can be in appeal for years. In 2015, 300,000 veterans were waiting for appeals on disability claims, with an average wait time of over 3 years.
Vets also encounter problems in obtaining medical treatment. In recent years, high-profile efforts have been made to reduce the wait times veterans experienced. Sadly, these initiatives produced little success. As of the first half of this year, over half a million veterans still had to wait more than 30 days just to see a VA doctor. The health of veterans needing medical care can suffer further as a result of these delays.
If you or a loved one has been denied VA benefits, is having trouble obtaining the proper treatment through the VA, or has been injured as a result of delayed or improper care through the VA, the experienced attorneys at Hodes, Milman & Liebeck can help. We believe that veterans deserve the same high quality of health care as anyone else, and we will fight for your right. Contact us today at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.