Register NOW

Compton: Reopening denied claim requires new information

By George Compton
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Q. I was denied disability compensation in 1999. I tried to reopen my claim this year and my letter from the VA stated that my claim was still denied and my claim was not reopened. Can you explain why my claim was not reopened?

A. To reopen a previously denied claim you must have new and material evidence to support your claim. Without that evidence your claim will not be reopened.

You provided evidence that your medical condition has become more severe. Your original claim was denied because your disability was considered not service-connected. You need new evidence to establish service connection to get your claim reopened.

Q. I know that exposure to Agent Orange would not apply to those of us who served off the coast of Vietnam. How about Agent Orange stored aboard the vessel?

A. The Joint Services Records Research Center recently provided a statement that no evidence was found that indicated any Coast Guard or Navy vessel transported tactical herbicides from the United States to the Republic of Vietnam or that ships operating off the coast of Vietnam used, stored, tested, or transported tactical herbicides.

Q. I know California has a property tax exemption for veterans rated 100 percent service-connected disabled. Do other states have a similar exemption?

A. Benefits vary from state to state. To find about a specific state benefits, I use http://www.vetsresource.com. At that site you will find a map of the U.S. and when you highlight a state, you are linked to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or a similar name, for that state.

Q. I have a government life insurance policy. My wife is now deceased and I would like to have my policy paid to my son. How can I be sure my policy now will be paid to him?

A. Government insurance policies are paid to the individual or individuals who are on record with the VA. If you want to designate a new beneficiary, you must notify the VA in writing. Contact this office and we will help you make the change. If you are not sure about whom you have designated, you can call the Insurance Center at 800-669-8477.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the county Human Services Agency.

Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail george.compton@ventura.org.

------

MilitaryConnection.com is a portal of all things military. We have thousands of pages and hundreds of databases of valuable information and resources. There is something for everyone. All of this is provided free to users. Additionally, we feature all types of Columns like this one to keep you informed. We will post your press releases, special events, newsletters, professional conferences and seminars, reunions, job fairs, and videos to help organizations get out the word. One of the areas of our focus is connecting candidates from the military community with outstanding government and civilian employers. We are well aware that candidates from the military community across the board have a work ethic second to none. They make highly valued employees. MilitaryConnection.com has a multitude of employment resources including a Directory of over 30,000 employers, Job Tips, Columns, our Job Board, Virtual Job Fair and much more. We understand the importance of education. Please check out our new Scholarship Directory featuring thousands of scholarships. When the next tour is back home, it's on MilitaryConnection.com.