Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Remember When You Simply Got An Education and a Good Home Loan After Serving Our Country?

Instead of the GI Bill and VA loans, you can now be eligible for the disease that nobody wants or deserves.

ALS is a crummy fringe benefit of military service.

We need to make this problem register with people. It should concern and outrage us all that more isn't being done to figure out the connection. In the meantime, veterans and their widows and widowers struggle.

From the Washington Times (January 29, 2009)

Sgt. Shaft: How ALS listing affects benefits
Sgt. Shaft
Sgt. Shaft: My husband was a Vietnam vet, 1st Infantry, and died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on May 22, 2004. I understand the VA has listed ALS as a presumptively compensable illness, meaning there may be an association between it and military service. Are there any benefits I can collect? I am collecting Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) right now, as he was receiving 30 percent disability because of diabetes and that was listed on his death certificate as a secondary cause of death. He should have been classified as 100 percent disabled because of the ALS. Would I be entitled to anything other than what I receive now?


Rose Y, via the Internet

Dear Rose:

Those in the know at the Department of Veterans affairs tell me that DIC will continue to be your primary benefit. You will not be eligible for any retroactive and/or increased monetary benefits based on the ALS disability. However, you may be eligible for two additional benefits because of ALS now being considered a presumptive disease.

• Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

• Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA) provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

To apply for these benefits, you should contact your nearest VA regional office or call the VA telephone number, 800/827-1000.

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