Common Concerns

 

 

 

 

VA

 

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

HOME PAGE

http://www.va.gov

THERE ARE LINKS ON THIS PAGE TO THE FOLLOWING:

Quick List
Veterans ON–line Application (VONAPP)
Enroll/Update Medical Benefits (10–10EZ)
My HealtheVet
eBenefits
Life Insurance Online Applications
VA Forms
Careers
Notices


Highlights
State and Local Resources
Post 9/11 GI Bill
Prescriptions
VA Strategic Plan FY 2011 – 2015
VA 2013 Budget Submission
Veterans Crisis Line 1–800–273–8255, Press 1


Special Programs
Returning Service Members (OEF/OIF)
Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment
Homeless Veterans
Military Service Benefits
Minority Veterans
Surviving Spouses and Dependents
Women Veterans
Adaptive Sports Program

 

BENEFITS

 

1. Where to find VA benefits

https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal

This is the best place I've found for VA benefits. This major heading has every sub-heading listing all of the benefits that a person could want. The nice thing about this is that the veteran can enroll him/herself right there to see if they qualify.

Randy Lemster

 

2. Refill Prescriptions From Records on VA Site

http://www.myhealth.va.gov/

For all of you who are veterans, have VA benefits, and use the VA medical facilities, here is a web site you might want to take a look at.  It allows you to look at your medical records and to refill prescriptions. It is easy for me to order my meds and I now get all of them from the VA.

Logan Grayson

3. Some additional info to our Vets.

The toll free number 1-800-827-1000 is in Milwaukee and I have found those folks to be magnificent in handling this Lary whose voice is a real bear on the phone. I have not had to call them often, but when I do, I can tell that they are making every effort to take care of me and they always have.

Here is the number I use to re-order meds: 1-800-379-8387. Remember I am in Lakewood, OH (just west of Cleveland) so I don't know if it works everywhere. But that is how I re-order the meds and you do not have to speak, just enter your SSAN and the prescription number, and then the 'voice' will tell you that it is re-ordered and when it will be shipped or whatever else is appropriate. So simple. It is a great system. And just so you know, I not only get my treatment from the VA and all the meds I need, but also any equipment. The VA has provided me with a humidifier and a suction machine. In fact, they just replaced the suction device. I use it often every day and the original just plain wore out.

I am getting absolutely magnificent care from the VA, not only with the throat but eyes and teeth and everything else. This is one satisfied dude, let me tell you.

John Shepley
Lary Since Oct 2005

4. There are two very important benefits for veterans that are not included in your library. For your consideration.......

(1) Veterans' Aid and Attendance.

This allows for veterans and surviving spouses who require regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing, medication dosing, and taking care of the needs of nature to receive monetary benefits up to nearly $2000 per month. Any local VA can provide complete information on this valuable benefit.

http://www.veteranaid.org

(2) While the number of WWII veterans is rapidly diminishing,there are probably some (like myself) who still carry their National Service Life Insurance (NSLI). VA Pamphlet 29-14 describes a valuable provision known as "Waiver of Premiums". In a sentence, if the veteran had a laryngectomy before their 65th birthday they can apply for this benefit. Disability in this case is defined simply as organic loss of speech by removal of vocal chords. Not only are the premiums paid, but annual dividends on the face value of policy are paid in by treasury check.
29-14 provides full details.

http://www.insurance.va.gov/gli/general/premiums1.htm

Harry Wintemberg, Ormond Beach, Fla. Class of 1982.

5. In reading some of the emails on Military Claim, This is what I have to offer to WebW. Not all ships are covered under AO below is the newest list out on Naval Ships that are covered under AO These Ships are know as Brown Water Ships,If you served on any of these Ships you are eligible for AO disabilities.

There are two current Bills in Washington Senate Bill S. 1629 and House Bill H.R. 3612 which if passed will help the many other Naval Ships that were in Vietnam these Ships are know as Blue Water Ships hence the name of the Bill - Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2011. Also there are TWO ways your spouse can keep your benefits - if you pass away from the illness or you live longer than 10 years with the illness. There are currently a group of us helping our Congressman and Senators get these Bills passed by sending emails asking for cosponsors. I will pass on the attch: of the Bills............ Bob Hug WW

This is the entire list as of January 2012 including the new ships.
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp

They added 47 new ships and extended some dates. This is the NEW ships that were added.
http://www.bluewaternavy.org/ShipListJan2012.htm

 

VA DISABILITY issues

 

INFO ON ALL DISABILITIES

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/index.asp

Military Exposures,Diseases, Health, with the latest in studies and data. If you are a veteran, you should make this site one of your favorites and check there often for the latest information.



 

DISABILITY - LARYNGECTOMY

10/2/12

Just a heads up to those that may not be aware. The VA now includes pretty much automatic disability approval for laryngectomy if you served in Korea from 1968 - 1971, and were stationed in certain DMZ camps/stations. It is presumed (as in you don't have to prove anything except that you were there) that you were exposed to Agent Orange just by being stationed there. Previously only Vietnam vets were presumed to be exposed. Other areas may
also qualify but the burden is on you to prove exposure...a hard thing to do.

Jack Henslee

 


 

DISABLITY COMPENSATION

Any veteran, with service from WWII to the Afghanistan fiasco,who believes they have a service -related disability that is endorsed by their personal physician, should obtain VA Form 21-526, "Veterans Application For Disability Compensation", and file it with the VA.

Disability payments can be quite substantial, so anyone eligible should apply.

Harry Wintemberg '82

 


 

AGENT ORANGE HERBICIDE

The U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. Several decades later, concerns about the health effects from these chemicals continue. Find out more about Agent Orange.

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/basics.asp

 

NEW ONLINE CENTER  AGENT ORANGE - 4/18/12

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/



 

ASBESTOS RELATED CANCERS

http://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/education/factsheets/asbestos-exposure.pdf

Explains exposure to asbestes

Tells the main cancers and then adds: Other Cancers.

Research studies have looked at the risk of getting cancer in parts of the body other than lungs. An Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee determined that asbestos exposure might be related to cancers of the pharynx, larynx, stomach, and colon and rectum.

 

 

 

VA INSURANCE APPLICATIONS - ONLINE

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded its online benefits applications

http://www.insurance.va.gov/miscellaneous/index.htm


eBenefits is a joint VA/DOD website that provides Veterans and Service Members with safe, secure access to many self-service features, including applying online for VA benefits such as VA Compensation and Pension and Veterans Group Life Insurance.

To obtain a Premium Account and be able to use all of the features available on eBenefits, choose the option that applies to you and register at www.ebenefits.va.gov:

Service Members, Veteran DoD Employees or Contractors – use your CAC to register
Retirees – use your myPay account to register
Veterans – visit your regional office to register in person

 

 

USING THE VA MEDICAL FACILITIES  - MEMBERS REPORTS

Recently a WW member (a retired military Vet) asked the membership about the wisdom of using VA Medical Facilities, even though currently covered by other medical insurance, such as TRICARE or USFHP programs.  Below are relevant parts from some of the responses from the WW membership:

 

(1) I'm also retired Air Force and under TRICARE, except I elected to take TRICARE Standard since it gives me more options about where I choose to get my medical care.  I've also tried the VA. I went to the VA Medical Center in Denver to see about getting them to pay for my TEP. I'm rated 100% disabled by the VA, and supposedly at the top of their priority for medical care. That was a couple of months ago, and I'm still waiting for an appointment. I don't know about VA in your area, but here they are pretty much overwhelmed by vets and simply don't have the resources to adequately take care of all of them.  You can really see where they need more funding to expand services. I'm still going to pursue getting the VA to pay for my TEP though. I haven't had any luck getting reimbursed by TRICARE for the money I put out for my last two prosthesis, and am still out about $300.  If I can order any future prosthesis through the VA I figure it will save me a bundle and avoid the hassle of submitting TRICARE claims.  There are no restrictions for using both TRICARE and VA, which is nice since it provides more flexibility in which one you want to use. [Dennis Bonar]

(2)  I am retired Navy and 100% disabled by the VA and am also at age 65 and have been put on Tricare For Life and I had been on Medicare since age 59 but went on regular Medicare this year and Tricare For Life. I have used the VA clinic for my SLP and also supplies like my HME and indwelling prosthesis and I have always had a choice of which one I want to use. My primary care doctor first started taking care of me at Vance AFB about 10 years ago and then about 4 years ago he retired and the base assigned both my wife and me to him as a civilian Dr. to be our primary care doctor. We still get most of our medications from the base and what they don't carry is covered by Tricare with a small co-pay.  I also paid Tricare premiums for my wife but found out that since I was 100% I didn't have to pay a premium for Tricare. It took quite a while and some letter writing but they returned $400.00 that I had paid in and then I was put on Tricare For Life at age 65, and there is no co-pay for doctors or premiums for Tricare. Hope this helps and if you need me to explain more of this please let me know. I was also given the option of using a VA clinic that we have but they are not equipped to take care of cancer related problems so I opted to use the VA hospital which is in Oklahoma City and 100 miles away, but it is well worth it to me. I have never had any type conflict and have always had the choice of which one I wanted to use. The disadvantage would be the time waiting for a VA appointment but that has never been a factor for me to see an SLP and the ENT's see me on annual basis.  [Logan Grayson]

(3)  I haven't really used TRICARE as I have had private insurance through my employer (which happens to be a health insurance company).  The employer provided insurance was free but is now up to $3000 a year as my share for a family plan so I am considering switching over to TRICARE in the future. I have been using the VA on occasion for the past year or so to get my foot in the door there.  I use primary care only and continue to use my private specialists under my private insurance.   I have to agree with some that the VA has been stressed and is trying to do too much with too little.  Since the doors were opened to all veterans in 1996, rather than just disabled vets, the budget hasn't keep up with the patient load.  To use the VA, you need to have a VA primary care provider who then refers you to the various specialty areas.  It is my belief that it is correct that use of the VA has no impact on his TRICARE standard. While I also doubt that it would impact PRIME, which is set up like a HMO, you should check with your local TRICARE office as the rules could be different. Since there is no cost to PRIME. I don't see why they should object.  Vets should be aware that the VA will bill any private health insurance for services that are not for service connected disabilities.  The VA does not expect the Vet to pay the private insurance cost share. (Non disabled vets may face a VA copay for certain services. ) [Nick Fuhs]

(4)   I had a visit early on with the VA SLP and clinic manager ( same guy). He showed me their catalogue while I was there. Since then, I Email him when I need an item and he orders it for me. As I do not have a TEP,  I can't speak for that process but for bibs, batteries, and a replacement SERVOX, I haven't needed a visit .  They seem quite happy to fill my needs without clogging up their calendar.  My primary handles both of my prescriptions in a similar manner on my visits by rewriting them into the VA system after reviewing what my private docs have ordered.  As mentioned earlier, I continue to use my private specialists.  I recently had my ENT recommend a room humidifier due to winter dryness.  I had him write a script which I faxed to my VA primary. A few weeks later, a humidifier arrived at my door from the VA vendor via surface mail.  If you don't have an initial primary visit within 30 days of registering (assuming that you are Category One), you could contact the patient advocate office.  Some VA centers, I am told, will extend that to specialty care as well, but there does seem to be a considerable difference of opinion on the matter. [Nick Fuhs]

(5)  I have been following the responses to your question re: VA healthcare.  I have found them to be interesting and informative.  My experience may shed a second opinion on the issue for you to look into.  In Delaware we have a VA clinic just 20 miles from where I live.  When they opened, I went to see what the requirements were for getting care from them.  It boiled down to this.

1.  I would forfeit my freedom to choose where I would get health care.  It would be only available through them.

2.  They would receive my Medicare part A & B payments as a result of their billing procedure.  Thus any attempt to seek healthcare from any other source would be at my expense.

 3.  Any care required which they could not provide would be provided at the VA Hospital in Wilmington, DE.  No option.

4.  Lary supplies would be provided on a case by case basis, as long as funds are available.  (this caveat had a ring all too familiar after spending 26 years dealing with fund availability)

In my travels, I have inquired from many concerning VA healthcare just as you have done here on the list.  I have found raves that would exceed the best in the civilian world.  I have also received some horror stories.  My concern is what option does one have if he is caught up in the horror end of the story?  That being said, I have chosen to not seek healthcare from the VA even though it costs me.  I use Medicare supplemented with Tricare For Life.  Don't confuse any other Tricare plans with Tricare For Life.  If you are not familiar with it you might choose to check it out.  It is free and takes no effort on my part other than to show up at the healthcare provider for service. [Max Hoyt]


(6)   I use the Biloxi, MS VA for ENT/SLP appointments, Laryngectomee supplies, some prescriptions that are mailed to the house, eyeglasses, dental and some medical conditions.  I also have the VA listed as the hospital of choice on my Medic Alert Information and personal data card. (100% SC) (100% CRSC). I also receive travel pay for each visit but I put all of it in a jar on my fireplace mantle to someday, help a laryngectomee less fortunate than me.


I use the Keesler AFB Medical Center, Biloxi, MS for some primary care, prescriptions, etc.  I prefer some of their medications over those of the VA medications. (Retired CWO4, USN) (Tricare).  Both facilities are within 40 miles of the house. I use a civilian Dermatologist and a civilian Rheumatologist because they are nearly next door to where I live. (Medicare and Tricare for Life).  Your medical options are numerous.


My Biopsy was at Keesler AFB and surgery was at MD Anderson, Houston, TX 6-24-03.  I still go to MD Anderson every 4 to 6 months for a follow-up and the cost is absorbed by Medicare/Tricare.  Also, Houston has one of the most modern VA Hospitals in the Nation.  I rarely spend any out of pocket money and do not pay any insurance premiums because my supplemental insurance company told me that renewal was not necessary after "Tricare for Life".


By the way, I was disabled prior to having my laryngectomee but did not utilize the VA until joining Web Whispers which MD Anderson recommended.  I became to realize that the VA would provide all my Laryngectomee supplies and that cut down 95% of my reimbursement paperwork with Medicare and Tricare.  That was a great relief.


When I applied and you approved my membership, you contacted Roger Jordan because we both live in Diamondhead, MS.  Roger, my wife and I met one morning to attend our first weekly Nu-Voice Club of the MS Gulf Coast. That first meeting was enjoyable, informative and I miss meetings only when on vacation, sick, traveling or have a conflicting medical appointment.  I have also been awarded 100% SC for my Laryngectomy and because of Vietnam duty, Combat Related Special
Compensation.


I appreciate receiving help from everyone that offered advise, prodding and all kinds of assistance.  I was going to send this directly to you but so many others have helped that I want to share some of my good news and thoughts with them also. [Paul Moody]

(7) I am having a TEP done at Tripler Army / VA care facility in Hawaii , they are very competent and caring and said this is the way it is done and
I don't doubt that . They said they have done many like this.

[Richard]

(8) One thing you can count is the V.A. treating you right because all the Vets I know love the treatments they receive from them and the speech pathologist are very good. Our groups pathologist was trained at the V.A in Minn. and she knows her stuff.

[Lou Chi 09]

(9) I have to add the Wade Park VA in Cleveland because of the most excellent treatment I have received there. All you Vets out there should feel very confident about the medical care you will get. And if perchance you end up at a facility that is less than A-One, check with us on the WW list and we can help you out. And I shall end with a mantra I have voiced before: all you taxpayers are getting your moneys worth from the Veterans Hospitals.

[John Shepley]

(10) I would like to mention the VA in Atlanta, GA. I have
been getting my care there for 10yrs now. The services there are
great, without them there is no doubt, I would not be alive today.
Kudos to the VA Medical system.

[Robert Pitts]

(11) I have had reason to go to the VA in Dayton, OH, Boston, MA,
Charleston, SC and of course my primary SLP & ENT are in Columbia, SC. The service and care I have received has been first rate in every case. The reports I get from other Vets, larys and non larys, is the same.

[Sapp Funderburk]

 

 

 

 

 

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