August 10, 2010 - Within 30 days the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will put out a new rule for disability compensation. The US Court of Appeals imposed the 30 day deadline upon the VA because the VA already missed a deadline. The rule will focus on Vietnam veterans suffering from diseases linked to exposure to Agent Orange, specifically:
Congress originally imposed a 90-day deadline in which the VA had to publish their new compensation rule. The VA missed that deadline and blamed it on having to await review of their rule by the White House's Office of Management and Budget. This didn't gel with many veterans' advocacy groups who made the argument that the congressionally imposed, mandatory deadline canceled the need for the White House review. The Court agreed with the veterans groups and issued their critical decision.
The VA is now working under another imposed deadline; 30 days to publish their rule. If the VA puts out the new disability claims compensation rule before or on the 31st of August, benefits will be available on the 1st of September. Should the VA wait to publish until the 1st of September, however, benefits won't begin rolling out until the 1st of October.
There are close to 200,000 veterans awaiting their benefits and cannot collect until the VA issues their rule. There are concerns however, with the incredible amount of disability claims, specifically for ischemic heart disease, that will be filed at once. Many in the VA system believe this new influx on top of an already backlogged system will most likely prevent timely adjudication of claims. Hopefully everything will go smoothly and the veterans will receive their needed disability benefits in a timely manner.
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