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VA News/Releases

VA News/Releases

Posted: July 18, 2017

Posted: July 18, 2017

Produced by the National Center, each RQ contains a review article written by experts on specific topics related to PTSD.
RQ Online

Editorial Director
Matthew Friedman, MD, PhD

Bibliographic Editor
Misty Carrillo, MLIS

Managing Editor
Heather Smith, BA Ed

National Center for PTSD
US Department of Veterans Affairs

PTSD Research Quarterly

VOLUME 28/NO. 3, JULY 2017

The latest issue of the PTSD Research Quarterly (PDF) is now available:

Patient Engagement in PTSD Treatment

by Shannon Kehle-Forbes, PhD and Rachel Kimerling, PhD

The best treatments in the world are not useful if you can't sustain sufficient participation to ensure that patients receive an effective therapeutic dose. Indeed, this is a major challenge in PTSD treatment.

This issue of the PTSD Research Quarterly reviews the important emerging research on factors affecting patient engagement and interventions designed to improve retention of patients who begin PTSD treatment.

Tell a friend so they can subscribe to the PTSD Research Quarterly Online (RQ).

Sign up for the PTSD Monthly Update or other publications from the National Center for PTSD.


The PTSD Research Quarterly (RQ) is an electronic newsletter produced by the National Center for PTSD, Department of Veterans Affairs. Each RQ contains a review article written by guest experts on a specific topic related to PTSD. The article has a selective bibliography with abstracts and a supplementary list of annotated citations. Please send any feedback to ncptsd@va.gov.

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PTSD Research Quarterly (RQ)
VOLUME 28/NO. 3, JULY 2017

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Posted: July 4, 2017

Posted: July 4, 2017


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Crucial VA Changes
If you are a wartime veteran, or a family member of a wartime veteran, you have probably heard conflicting information regarding proposed changes to the eligibility rules for the Aid & Attendance Pension (A&A) offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This is a brief summary of the eligibility requirements for the current A&A rules, and an update on the proposed rule changes.
Eligibility for the Aid & Attendance Pension
A&A is a tax-free monthly benefit paid to wartime veterans or their spouses/dependents. The benefit ranges from $8,000-$34,000/year, depending on a number of factors, including the following eligibility requirements:
1. Service: applicants must be “wartime” veterans (or their spouse/dependent). “Wartime” means at least 90 consecutive days of active duty service, at least 1 day of which was during a recognized wartime period.
2. Health: generally, applicants must be “disabled” (i.e. they must be 65 or older and require assistance with at least 2 “activities of daily living”) – regardless of whether they are at home or in a healthcare facility;
3. Income: applicants’ income must be significantly reduced by qualified recurring monthly medical expenses; and
4. Assets: applicants may not have significant assets.
On January 23, 2015, the VA published a proposal to significantly change the rules regarding eligibility for A&A benefits. Proposed changes included:
• Establishing a “bright line” rule for net worth limitations;
• Establishing a 3-year “look back” period for asset transfers prior to application for benefits;
• Imposition of a penalty period (of ineligibility for benefits), with respect to any improper transfers of assets during the “look back” period; and
• Limitations on qualifying medical expenses.
The proposal was largely aimed at counteracting perceived abuses of the program (i.e. applicants sheltering significant assets in order to qualify for the benefit). However, the statistics do not support these concerns. 2015 U.S. Census data shows approximately 19 million military veterans alive in 2014. VA utilization data from 2012 shows only 315,000 recipients of A&A benefits.  In other words, only 2% of veterans receive the A&A benefit.
The health and service requirements are non-negotiable, and, the purpose of the A&A benefit is to assist veterans with significant health expenses. It is relatively unlikely that individuals with significant liquid assets (available to pay significant health expenses) would elect to relinquish complete control of these assets to gain additional tax-free income – especially when significant assets might generate similar amounts of income (though not tax-free).
Following the release of the VA’s proposal, there was a public comment period (in the spring of 2016), during which the proposed changes were heavily scrutinized and challenged by attorneys and veterans’ advocacy groups. As a result, the VA has gone “back to the drawing board”, and recently indicated that the final changes will not be released prior to April 2017.
So what does this mean for you? There is still time to plan for VA eligibility under the current rules – which are far less restrictive than those which are likely to be promulgated after April 2017. For example, establishing a VA-planning trust now will likely not be retroactively subject to the proposed 3-year “look back” period. Additionally, individuals in independent-living facilities are presently able to use certain planning techniques to achieve eligibility, which will not work after April 2017.
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Scam Targets Veterans Applying for Benefits
A highly sophisticated scam targeting veterans is making its way around the United States. This new scam is targeting disabled veterans and the veterans applying for disability compensation. This highly sophisticated scam makes use of new telephone technology that gives the impression the scammer is actually calling from a veterans' local VA Regional Office
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Top 10 Veteran-Friendly Cities
 
According to Militaryfriendly.com, the Top 10 Veteran-Friendly cities are:
1.  San Antonio, TX
2.  Oklahoma City, OK
3.  Houston, TX
4.  Omaha, NE
5.  Dallas, TX
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Answers to Many of Your Questions
 
Question:  VA removed 20% from my medical disability and I was not aware of this and I would like to know if there a way to get this percent back?
Question:   I have a claim in appeal process. I was stationed at Anderson AFB Guam from Oct 68 to Jan 1970. While there I went to Cameron Bay South Vietnam the last week of Oct 1969 first week of Nov 1969, went back to Guam and was processed out honorably discharged Jan 1970. I was paid while in Vietnam. I have requested my pay records but was told the VA does not have any record of my pay records. I have made my claim in April 2013. My question, How can I prove I was in Vietnam without orders?
Question:   I am a member of Veterans choice. I recently went to my assigned doctor for a wrist problem. He told me to get an x-ray, so I went to the local hospital and got one. I've been tormented by them ever since demanding $400. Nobody told me I would have to contact VA first. What am I to do?
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