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Compton: Tune in online for weekly 'VA News'

By George Compton
Saturday, February 2, 2008

In this column, I get a lot of questions from veterans about their problems in working with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Just to keep the record straight, in working with the VA on a daily basis I find a lot of dedicated individuals making every effort to serve the veterans of this country.

The VA has established a weekly online news program that provides information on health issues, fitness, and more importantly, about different VA programs in conjunction with volunteer organizations that assist veterans.

"VA News" is on the VA Web site at http://www.va.gov.

Q. I have a disability rating from the VA and I reopened my claim to have my disability increased. The VA denied my increase. Can I appeal that decision?

A. We reviewed your claim and denial. In your claim, you did not provide any information about any current medical treatment for your condition, and in your reply to the request for information letter from the VA you stated that you had no other information on your claim.

The VA sent you to an independent exam and that doctor did not find a change in your condition.

You can always appeal a decision by the VA. If your medical condition does not require any treatment or medication, your appeal will not be very strong.

Q. I am rated 100 percent disabled by the VA. I am divorced and my ex-wife does not live in California. My daughter wants to live with me and attend college here. Will she be eligible for education benefits?

A. Your daughter will be eligible for Chapter 35, dependent education benefits, wherever she attends an accredited college.

I would recommend she establish residency in California before she enrolls because "out-of-state" fees would burn that benefit very quickly.

When she establishes residency she would also be eligible for the California Fee Waiver to cover her tuition.

You need to discuss residency requirements with the college she wants to attend.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: George.Compton@ventura.org.