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View Full Version : Nows a good time to find out....



leftyf
01-27-2009, 04:16 AM
All Vets need to go to the VA.GOV site and register for VA Health Care. You will get a priority number that will tell you how much you can count on the VA for help. You may have private insurance and never plan on going to the VA evah.
You earned it. Use it. Showing up at the clinic needing help is the wrong time to find out that you are a Category 8 when you need Category 1 care.

The cost is nothing but your time. And, it's time is well spent.

Priority Groups for VA Medical Care (http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/HealthCareOverview/#PriorityGroups)

ptillett
01-27-2009, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the info.

vangoes
01-27-2009, 10:56 AM
Forget the VA on Healthcare unless you have a military disability or unless you are low income. We all missed the boat as VA closed the enrollment in 2003. I recently tried to enroll as I fear loosing my retirement coverage due to a takeover of my old company and I was denied. I had 10 1/2 years in the military, two tours in Vietnam and served on the Presidential Staff and I get denied? Thats what I get for being concientous and not applying in my earlier years because I did not need it due to company coverage!

leftyf
01-27-2009, 02:22 PM
Forget the VA on Healthcare unless you have a military disability or unless you are indigent. We all missed the boat as VA closed the enrollment in 2003. I recently tried to enroll as I fear loosing my retirement coverage due to a takeover of my old company and I was denied. I had 10 1/2 years in the military, two tours in Vietnam and served on the Presidential Staff and I get denied? Thats what I get for being concientous and not applying in my earlier years because I did not need it due to company coverage!

They have just recently reopened enrollment. Check out the VA site.

vangoes
01-27-2009, 04:44 PM
They have just recently reopened enrollment. Check out the VA site.

Its still the same. If you have income or savings above the threshold (which is very low), you will be placed in Priority group 8e or g and new enrollment was suspended in these categories on January 16, 2003. I wish it would be reopened but currently it isnt.

VA Site:
Effective January 17, 2003, VA suspended NEW enrollment of veterans assigned to Priority Group 8e or 8g (VA’s lowest priority group consisting of higher income veterans). Veterans assigned to these groups are NOT eligible for enrollment at this time.

leftyf
01-27-2009, 06:53 PM
Classification 8 to Reopen June 2009 (http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/) <==== Click me!

http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/_library/images/PG8Relax.gif

That should be re-open. Ok, sew I kaint spheul.

vangoes
01-27-2009, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the update Leftyf. If I read this correctly, it is only going to open the enrollment to include veterans with a slight higher net worth/income than what it currently is. I certainly hope I am wrong, but if I do some rough ciphering, it would mean that you can have approx. $8,000 more per year combination of income/net worth as to what it currently is. I wonder how many veterans this will really help? I guess I am just disappointed......if it helps just one veteran it is better than nothing!!! Keep us advised if you hear/find out otherwise. Thanks.

leftyf
01-28-2009, 06:36 AM
Thanks for the update Leftyf. If I read this correctly, it is only going to open the enrollment to include veterans with a slight higher net worth/income than what it currently is. I certainly hope I am wrong, but if I do some rough ciphering, it would mean that you can have approx. $8,000 more per year combination of income/net worth as to what it currently is. I wonder how many veterans this will really help? I guess I am just disappointed......if it helps just one veteran it is better than nothing!!! Keep us advised if you hear/find out otherwise. Thanks.

I understand...I'm always $1 over or $1 under. Or, wrong hair color, wrong war, wrong part of Vietnam, rank too high, rank too low, wrong branch of service, you name it, I didn't qualify.

When, I signed up I was making about $175K a year had Blue Cross Blue Shield and wouldn't have gone to the VA in Houston...if I had had a gunshot wound to my head.

Now, I'm checking the number of clinics and where they are at. And, there are a lot of clinics in Texas. Closest one to where I'm going to winter over is Fort Stockton. My only concern is prescriptions. Anything else, it's out to Beaumont AMC.

Let me know how it all works out. Hope you get it.

flamingknitter
01-28-2009, 08:50 PM
It is the same routine in California for the tuition payment for dependents of disabled or killed veterans. My husband received military disability but when it was time to send the first kid to college and we started to complete the paperwork - Surprise - She made too much at her little part-time job at See's candies to qualify. With the last kid, the poverty level had been adjusted upwards but now I had to calculate how much money I contributed to her support. If she didn't work, I still contributed too much money to her support for her to qualify for a full ride to state college. While I am thankful that I have enough to live comfortably, it was through careful planning. I couldn't live on my portion of my husbands retirement pay.

JohnDar
01-28-2009, 09:16 PM
All Vets need to go to the VA.GOV site and register for VA Health Care. You will get a priority number that will tell you how much you can count on the VA for help. You may have private insurance and never plan on going to the VA evah.
You earned it. Use it. Showing up at the clinic needing help is the wrong time to find out that you are a Category 8 when you need Category 1 care.

The cost is nothing but your time. And, it's time is well spent.

Priority Groups for VA Medical Care (http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/HealthCareOverview/#PriorityGroups)

As I read it, the service is available primarily for veterans with service-related problems. If you already have health care insurance, the VA will bill them for services rendered. Which means your private carrier will probably be sending you bills. Those of us who are also veterans (got a DD214, blue ID, wall full of mementos, and a pension check to boot) with no service-related problems will not get much of anything from the VA. And I would not want to clog a system designed to aid those who have sacrificed a lot more than I did.

leftyf
01-28-2009, 10:50 PM
As I read it, the service is available primarily for veterans with service-related problems. If you already have health care insurance, the VA will bill them for services rendered. Which means your private carrier will probably be sending you bills. Those of us who are also veterans (got a DD214, blue ID, wall full of mementos, and a pension check to boot) with no service-related problems will not get much of anything from the VA. And I would not want to clog a system designed to aid those who have sacrificed a lot more than I did.

The point that I am trying to get across to Veterans. It does not matter whether you are retired, discharged, single, married, blind, crippled or crazy. You need to register for services at the VA.

Rules and laws change every time we get a new administration. People that registered when I did were categorized for service. There really was no means test. Now, people are getting turned away when their circumstances have not changed at all.

You may lose Tricare, or be forced into the VA system by Congress. I would prefer to register for a service and not ever use it...than not register for it and need it badly later.

You don't have to be disabled to apply for a veterans pension. I had a friend, Jim Bellotte, that was a 2.5 year veteran. He had a high paying job, the best insurance in the world...and a great retirement plan set up. He developed insulin dependent diabetes. He was not a war vet. He had 0% service connected disabilities. He lost his job because of the diabetes. And his condition was under control . No CDL with insulin diabetes. Before it was all over with, he was living the in the VA hospital in Houston on a military pension. He died there within 6 months. His family had run through his retirement plan paying medical bills and getting him treatment for all the wonderful things you potentially get when you have diabetes. The VA Hospital paid to bury him as there were no family capable of paying for the funeral.

He got this because I told his wife about the VA programs. I was not nearly as knowledgeable about the VA system as I am now. The information that I gave her was only 1/2 a**ed. She took the ball and ran with it and got him the help he needed.

What you do is up to you. You may have no need of the VA today. But, none of us know what our needs will be 10 or so years down the road.

JohnDar
01-29-2009, 04:40 PM
Not trying to start a p***ing contest, but I stand by my earlier comments. If you are close to the income thresholds, maybe you should apply. But they're so low that you almost need to be sharing the dinner dish with the cat. This link has the income thresholds, and after downloading the 2008 Geographic Means Threshold book, it confirms the fact that you need to be at or near poverty levels to ever expect any aid. While I commend you on bringing this information to light, and hope you get every penny you deserve, it is not for all. Clogging up an already overburdened bureaucratic system with applications that have no hope of approval is a disservice to those who truly qualify. My suggestion is to go to the VA site and read the information to see if you're even close, then do the paperwork if you are.

No slight on the VA. They were extremely helpful and courteous aiding me after my Dad died last January. He was a WWII vet on 100% disability. Guided me through every step, right up to interment with honors at a National cemetery.

http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/VAIncomeThresholds/VAIncomeThresholds.pdf

leftyf
01-29-2009, 06:53 PM
Not trying to start a p***ing contest, but I stand by my earlier comments. If you are close to the income thresholds, maybe you should apply. But they're so low that you almost need to be sharing the dinner dish with the cat. This link has the income thresholds, and after downloading the 2008 Geographic Means Threshold book, it confirms the fact that you need to be at or near poverty levels to ever expect any aid. While I commend you on bringing this information to light, and hope you get every penny you deserve, it is not for all. Clogging up an already overburdened bureaucratic system with applications that have no hope of approval is a disservice to those who truly qualify. My suggestion is to go to the VA site and read the information to see if you're even close, then do the paperwork if you are.

No slight on the VA. They were extremely helpful and courteous aiding me after my Dad died last January. He was a WWII vet on 100% disability. Guided me through every step, right up to interment with honors at a National cemetery.
http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/VAIncomeThresholds/VAIncomeThresholds.pdf

The purpose of this forum is to try to provide as much information on the Social Security Administration and to provide more information on the Veterans Administration.

I'm not trying to make anyone do anything. I'm glad that your financial situation is such that you never have to use the VA. However, there's lots of people out there that don't have the financial resources. They have no idea what is available for them. And, there is a lot of information that most just plain don't know about.

If all this mess allows one Vet to live a little better because of some government program, I want them to know about it. Situations change on a daily basis. Todays millionaire is tomorrows bridge dweller. Yep, just me and my chair sitting under a bridge trying to get out of the rain. Not one penny to my name. If I'd had known 1/1000th of what I know now, I'd never have to have done that. Spray painted graffitti
isn't heavy reading. I didn't know that if I could have made it to a Vet Center, I'd have slept indoors that night.

Nothing says that you have to use VA services because you register. What I'm trying to accomplish is to get as many people to register while there is a program. If they need the help, they are registered, and the programs are there. If they don't need the help, they can continue to go to whereever they get their medical support.

I'm glad you don't need the help...but, some of us do. That's the point. I've already gotten two private emails that started out, "Man, I had no idea that the VA would.....and can you help me get some help?"

I went from a category 9 to a category 1 in less than 30 minutes.

SmokeyBare
01-29-2009, 07:49 PM
While I was still working... I was given a chance to learn how to help our fellow workers file their work related injury claims with the State. I soon learned of the benefits provided to injured workers... and how difficult it was to get too those benefits. I always viewed the whole System... as a wonderful insurance policy... who's rules and regulations were nearly hidden to the typical worker.

These rules were written by lawyers... so complicated that more often than not an injured worker would just toss his paperwork in the trash... feeling he was defeated even before he filed the first form with the state. Our employer was to have all the needed forms on hand... they were required to see that a worker was provided them as well as aid them with filling them out... none of that ever happened. The injured worker was off work... not collecting his pay... medical bills would pile up... our medical insurance would quickly ask... is this a work related injury?? What a Mess !!

I offered what I had learned to those who were faced with an injury at work. I went to training sessions put on by the IAFF Union... I studied the book they produced to learn how to work through the complications of the System. We went to the hearings... listened to my employer's representative try to discredit the claim... the hearing officer would hear us both out, and talk to the injured worker... we seldom lost a case. We shouldn't have anyway... those injuries were on duty injuries from working a rescue call or fire call... but no matter... they always challenged the injured workers attempt to file his claim.

I also learned in this fine State... Social Security claims for disability were ALWAYS lost. Those claims were required to be appealed... many times they needed to be appealed several times before they would ever be considered for the benefits they so rightly deserved... those benefits they had coming to them... earned by hard work... blood and broken bones and more often a broken body as well. Those loses confuse us... Having to fight these claim battles impair our bodies ability to heal and reduce a chance of a full and speedy recovery.

We shouldn't need to beg for fair treatment... no matter who it is... Our working class shouldn't be forced to go broke before they get help. The men and women of the armed forces shouldn't be at risk of losing their homes... their life savings... their dignity of life...After they have lost body parts... defending this Nation of ours... No one should...

Lefty, thanks for what you've taken on... thanks for sharing all you've learned by the hard knocks of slowly navigating this complicated system. Just saying.... Way to go Fella !! Keep Up the Good Work !!

Marv

spankyandbrandysniffer
02-05-2009, 09:36 AM
Here here Smokey! I totally agree with you and thanks Lefty for all your work. We were one of those people that have lost our house, our car and most of our furniture and appliances due to my hubby going 100% unemployable in 2007. We are still working with the VA and his work insurance and they still have not come through for us completely. At least we got smart and before our credit went crazy, we bought our RV and moved into it so at least have a good home for now. Social Security went through with no worries and we thought that would be the tough one. NOT. We were told in the beginning that once he goes 100%, VA would go through within 6 months and so would his work insurance. NOT. He's slowly making progress but it is keeping his health worse than it would be if it wasn't so stressful just as Smokey was saying above. I guess I'll have to try to file Social Security for me with my bad back just to make ends meet. Here we go again!

leftyf
02-05-2009, 08:12 PM
Here here Smokey! I totally agree with you and thanks Lefty for all your work. We were one of those people that have lost our house, our car and most of our furniture and appliances due to my hubby going 100% unemployable in 2007. We are still working with the VA and his work insurance and they still have not come through for us completely. At least we got smart and before our credit went crazy, we bought our RV and moved into it so at least have a good home for now. Social Security went through with no worries and we thought that would be the tough one. NOT. We were told in the beginning that once he goes 100%, VA would go through within 6 months and so would his work insurance. NOT. He's slowly making progress but it is keeping his health worse than it would be if it wasn't so stressful just as Smokey was saying above. I guess I'll have to try to file Social Security for me with my bad back just to make ends meet. Here we go again!

I initially filed with the Va in 2001...and was turned down in less than 90 days. Their response was that there was no record of my being in Vietnam. With a hearty, we got no record of you being in the US Army. The next 18 pages listed 0% disabilities that I had never filed for. Period.
I threw the paper in the trash.

When my problem started with my legs, I re-opened my claim. The first thing they asked for was MY copy of THEIR letter. They stated they had lost their copy and because I could not send them a copy of THEIR docs...my start date on my disability was in 2005. I have been in the appeal process for over 18 months. I provided them with a copy of my initial claim teim/date stamped in 2001. In their denial, they never mentioned nor did they list that document as part of the documents they used to make their decision.

My claim will now take between 2-3 years to reach the next level...and there is no guarantee that the results will not be the same. I have the right to a face to face meeting with the appeals board prior to the process proceding to the court of appeals. I'm hoping to provide their time/date stamped form as proof of the date of the initial filing. The law says that should the situation arise where it is a VA says...I say situation..that the decision MUST go to the veteran.

What should have been decided nearly 2 years ago or that could be settled with a 10 minute meeting or a fax'd copy of the original claim may take up to 10 years and may have to be decided by the highest court in the Va...and possibly the Supreme court. Don't count on your congressman or senator for any help. They may "look " in to it...but, they have no weight when it comes to the decision by the VA.

Some instances have gone nearly 20 years from initial claim to final disposition...often with the Veteran dying before the process is completed.
What lot of vets don't know is that the longer the VA takes to make a decision...that any decision resulting in back pay of $75K or $80K have to be approved by two high ranking VA officials...and that is not covered by law...it's in the VA directives...there is also a time limitation, if the process has taken more than X years and is finally approved, that forces the same review by the same two officials. So, the VA process says "yes" and awards you X$, if the X$ is above a certain upper limit, or if the VA takes more than X number of years and finally approves the claim no matter the $$$ amount if either of these two clowns disapproves...the vet loses. I have not been able to find out the process should they say NO...only that this FINAL review process is in place and ****** few Vets know about it.

Two Vets were awarded compensation that with back pay were in excess of $1.5 million dollars each. One lived long enough to claim his $$$. The other died before Bush signed the papers. The rumor is that the papers were on his desk...and just did not get signed before the Vet died. So, his family got NOTHING! For both of these guys, it did take Congressional Action to get their awards...two special bills had to be passed by Congress to allow them to get money the government admitted to oweing...but, because of the law the VA could not pay.

So the VA drags its feet for years, in the hopes that we will either get tired and give up...or die before final action is taken on the claim. Depending on the region of the VA, each Region decides the claims of the Veterans living within it's jurisdiction.

Often, during the appeals process...it will be determined that the VA or the VA Regional Office acted improperly processing the claim or that the claim was denied inappropriately...the claim will be REMANDED to the Regional office for redetermination of the claim. So, the guys that initially say NO...get a second shot to say NO X2. If they admit they did an incorrect determination, do you think they are honestly going to admit it? Not likely.

SO remand=denial of original claim again=screwed because the case has to be appealed again back up to the same people that sent it back down for reconsideration.

Finally, ain't ya glad, if you have multiple claims for multiple diseases pending, the denial of any part of that claim causes ALL the diseases on that claim to be denied. I don't care what the VA tells you...it's how it's done. So if you file for problem that is a 100%'er...and a frostbite claim that is normally paid at the 10% rate...if the frostbite claim is denied...the 100%'er will be too if it is part of a multiple claim.

I received compensation for 15 different problems. The problems if taken individually total over 350+%! When taken as a whole, as the VA decides them, were only 90%...it took nearly 2.5 years for them to settle the final claim for me to receive my 100% rating and my certificate of unemployability. The settlement of the final claim netted me $85,000 with the start date of June 2005. We are fighting over the start date. The say 2005...I have VA stamped proof that the start date should be 2001. You do the math...I should be able to get another $60-85,000...depending on when they say that each disease reached compensable levels.

Sorry, this is so long...but, there is no short way to try to explain some of this stuff, when the determining regulation is over 5 pages in the USA38 and the VA Handbook.