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Compton: Veterans with TBI ratings to get change notices

By George Compton
Saturday, August 29, 2009

The VA has made major changes in the rating schedule for Traumatic Brain Injury. The new rating criteria were effective Oct. 23, 2008, and eliminated the previous prohibition on assigning more than a 10 percent evaluation for subjective symptoms due to TBI.

Veterans currently rated for TBI should be receiving information about having their claims re-evaluated.

Q. In a previous column you mentioned that the income limit for Priority Group 8 would increase, did that happen?

A. The change took effect June 15. It basically increased the limit by 10 percent. To check on your eligibility go to the VA Web site http://va.gov and enter your income, family status, and specific assets; the means calculator will let you know if you are eligible.

Q. I have a home loan certificate from 1995, is that still valid?

A. Most lenders want a certificate that is not over 6 months old. We are sending you the form you need to get a new one. I recently applied for one and it took about two weeks.

Q. I understand that Navy veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam are being denied a presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. My ship docked in Vietnam in 1969; would that make a difference?

A. Yes, the VA recently provided guidance to Veterans Service Center employees clarifying Vietnam service for military personnel aboard ships that docked in Vietnam.

Q. My husband was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is that a condition caused by Agent Orange?

A. That condition is covered under the presumptive conditions based on exposure to Agent Orange and the only condition that covers in-country service as well as service in the offshore waters during the Vietnam Era. We need to file a claim.

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

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