Announcements

Wishing our VFW and VFW Auxiliary Members

A Happy, Healthy and Safe Spring

The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing changes to the VA Schedule for Ratings Disabilities

  • Specifically pertaining to the respiratory, auditory and mental disorders body systems. 

The proposed updates to the rating schedule for these conditions will enable VA to incorporate modern medical data and terminology to provide Veterans with more accurate and consistent decisions.     

Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition in these body systems will not have their disability rating impacted when the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is updated.

Updating the rating schedule allows Veterans to receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge relating to their condition.  By incorporating modern medical data in the assessment of disabilities and how they impact earning capacity, Veterans will receive evaluations which more accurately compensate them for their service-connected disabilities. 

Proposed updates include:    

  •  Modernizing the evaluative rating criteria for sleep apnea, using developments in medical knowledge to evaluate it based on its responsiveness to treatment, bringing the rating criteria for sleep apnea more closely in line with the stated purpose of the rating schedule.    
  • Evaluating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a symptom of the underlying disease which causes it, rather than as a stand-alone disability.  
  • Evaluating mental health conditions based on a more robust and holistic approach that assesses how impactful the disability is to cognition, interpersonal relationships, task completion, life activities and self-care. Additionally, the proposed evaluation criteria include a 10% minimum evaluation for having one or more service-connected mental health conditions and will no longer require “total occupational and social impairment” to attain a 100% evaluation.    No change to a Veteran’s current rating would occur due to these proposed changes. If the proposed changes are finalized, Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition can apply for increased compensation, but no reductions shall be made unless an improvement in the Veteran’s disability is shown to have occurred.     The public has 60 days to provide comments to VA regarding the two proposed updates via the Federal Register notices located here and here.     

Thomas J. Murphy  Director, Northeast District  Performing the Delegable Duties of the Under Secretary for Benefits

From Project 9 Line

 

Dear supporters,  

Feds to balance budget directly from disabled Veterans pockets  The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing changes to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities specifically pertaining to the respiratory & auditory body systems as well as mental disorders. The “savings” from these proposed changes are projected at 100 Billion dollars over the next 10 years. That equals $100,000 directly from 1 Million Veterans pockets. The main conditions affected are Sleep Apnea, Tinnitus, and PTSD.  

We only have 1 week left to stop them. 

Please alert your network around the country to tell their local congressman that we do not want these changes made. Also, please tell your media contacts the same. Together we can stop them but we must Act now.  The VA claims that they will not reduce any current Ratings but it is the VA’s regular practice to periodically reassess disabled veterans who have not sought an increase. If a reassessment occurs, it may be done under the new guidelines and the risk of reduction is most definitely present. This new rating schedule may effect every veteran past, present, and future.  The reason for the proposed sleep apnea changes is because many veterans who were exposed to burn pits and/or agent orange (both are dioxin) have developed the condition sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is extremely debilitating and can be fatal. Currently, if a veteran is diagnosed with sleep apnea and is prescribed a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine they are entitled to 50% service connection.  Sleep apnea symptoms include; excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), depression, anxiety, headaches, sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure, increased accidents, cardiac issues, loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep (insomnia), of inability to concentrate, irritability, snoring, restlessness while sleeping, waking up suddenly after gasping or choking, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or crankiness, constant need to go pee at night, night sweats as well as it can lead to a stroke.  

The VA is proposing to eliminate the 50% threshold verbiage that currently states “the veteran requires the use of a breathing assistance device, such as a CPAP machine” which entitles the veteran to 50% service connection. By removing this verbiage they will effectively eliminate any future applicants from getting the 50% rating for sleep apnea. The VA states “the basis for assignment of evaluation at all of these proposed levels will be the functional impairment caused by sleep apnea, not simply the method of treatment.” Also, the VA claims the “purpose of these changes is to update medical terminology, incorporate medical advances that have occurred since the last review, and provide well- defined criteria in accordance with actual clinical practice.” This is not so, It’s all about the money as shown through the VA projected savings in the VA economic impact study released on January 27, 2022.  From said VA economic impact study – “VALUE: VA has determined that there are costs and transfer savings associated with this rule-making. The total transfers savings is $15 billion from FY 2022-2026 and $57.1 billion over a 10-year period from FY 2022-2031.” Most of that savings (40 Billion) is from the proposed sleep apnea ratings changes and Tinnitus removal (15 Billion).  The reason for the tinnitus changes is because almost everyone that has served has developed tinnitus. Tinnitus is the most commonly service connected condition. Over 90% of Veteran applicants are granted service connection for tinnitus (over 2 million veterans are service connected for tinnitus) and are paid about $150 per month at the current rate. The VA is proposing to eliminate the 10% rating for tinnitus and combine the symptoms of tinnitus with hearing loss and rate it under hearing loss. The issue is that the threshold for service connection for hearing loss is much more difficulty to achieve. The result of this change will make it extremely difficult for veterans to be compensated for tinnitus and the constant ringing in the ears.  Also, in a separate simultaneous proposal, the VA is proposing to change the Rating Schedule for mental health conditions. After review it seems that these changes may be beneficial to veterans but we should all be wary of assuming any benefit from these changes just yet. The definition and interpretation of the new verbiage has yet to be played out. With an estimated savings of 45 Billion over the next 10 years, it appears that the veterans with mental health conditions could be paying the price.  Estimated savings based on the VA economic impact study of the proposed changes to the mental health verbiage within the ratings schedule. “Estimated impact: VA has determined that there are costs and transfers associated with this rule making. The total budgetary impact is $18.3 billion from FT 2022-2026 and $45 billion over a 10-year period from FY 2022-2031.”  We can not let them make these changes. Please take the time to alert your fellow Americans, fellow veterans, elected officials, and media connections that we do not want these changes made.  

Links to VA regulation proposals:  https://www.regulations.gov/document/VA-2022-VBA-0009-0001  https://www.regulations.gov/document/VA-2022-VBA-0010-0001   

Writing your specific representatives is easy and takes very little time. All you’ll have to do is these 7 steps.  

1. Copy and past or type this url into your browser: https://www.congress.gov/contact-us 

2.  Click on the box in the middle of the page that says “find address or place” and either click “use current location” or type in your address. 

3.  After you type and select your address the page directs you to all your members. Each one has their name as a hyperlink. Click on their name. 

4.  It then brings you to the members profile and a link to their website. Click the link to their website.

5.  Each representative has their individual website with a contact option. Click on contact and follow the prompts filling out all boxes with your information. 

6.  Copy and past the “Call to Action Template” and make sure you fill out your name, amount of tours, name again at the bottom and your email. If you have not served overseas or are a concerned citizen advocating for disabled veterans, then you can simply delete the second sentence of the letter.

7. Please take the time to alert your fellow veterans, concerned citizens, elected officials, and media connections that we do not want these changes made. Disabled veterans stand to lose more than they can bear.  

Sample letter that you can copy and paste:

Dear (Reps name here),  My name is ____________________. 

I am a disabled veteran with _____ tours during what has become this country’s longest fought war in the history of our nation. 

I am writing to inform you of a travesty that is about to occur to our nations finest heroes, our disabled military veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing changes to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities specifically pertaining to the respiratory & auditory systems as well as mental disorders. The “savings” from these proposed changes are projected at 100 Billion dollars over the next 10 years. That’s $100,000 from 1 Million Veterans. The main conditions affected are Sleep Apnea, Tinnitus, and PTSD. Roughly 1.5 million veterans currently receive benefits for tinnitus, the single largest disability amongst veterans that pays approximately $150 a month. Roughly 1 in 5 veterans have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that has an extensive list of debilitating symptoms that could lead to life threatening issues. And approximately 41% of veterans have a service connected mental health need according to the latest study reported in 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. The 20 year war produced approximately 3 million veterans whom have either served in direct combat deployments or support roles. The median age is just under 37 years old which tells the greater story as more and more veterans deteriorate at a significantly faster rate than those whom have not been exposed the tremendous physical and mental stressors of combat. Understandably, the budget that takes care of our veterans has ballooned an exorbitant amount since the start of this war but the attempt to remedy should not come at the expense of our military veterans health and much needed income? These men and women have sacrificed for this nation and the benefits that they receive are compensation for the disabilities and traumas that they now have to live with. Their benefits are not a reward or a bonus. Their compensation fills a gap created by the effects of war. Quite simply, these are dues that are owed. We can not allow the veterans administration to balance a budget by literally removing money from veterans pockets. We need your help! We are reaching out to as many people as possible (Congress members, Senators, media, Veteran entities) to spread this knowledge in hopes to create a large, well informed community who will come together to prevent the VA from taking benefits from future and current veterans. And we are asking you to please do what you can to represent the veterans of your district as well as this nation to stop these actions of the VA. 

For more information regarding press releases, Q&A, and how you can help, please email info@project9line.org 

Thank you for your time and we look forward to speaking with you.  

Warmest Regards, 

Name_______________ info@project9line.org 

Your Email___________________ 

Project 9 Line Headquarters

 25 Union Ave.

 Islip, NY 11751

Please help our Nassau County Veterans Service Agency ‘VetMart Food Pantry’ replenish their supply of food and personal care items for our Veterans and their Families that are in need.

Please help our Nassau County Veterans Service Agency ‘VetMart Food Pantry’ replenish their supply of food and personal care items for our Veterans and their Families that are in need.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the Covid-19, our Post facility has not been conducting business as usual. Please contact Post Quartermaster Pat Iuliucci at 516-668-7383 or email: pi4usamck@yahoo.com to schedule a time for drop off of your donated items at our Post Facility.  Thank You !

The donations needed still apply for 2022.

Thank you !

Members

Please volunteer for Poppy distribution.

We need you !

– Members –

As we get back to normal, we would like to resume visiting our hospitalized and nursing home resident Veterans. They have been alone for too long.

We need you !