Veterans Benefits Manual
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2022-2023 Edition Editors:
Barton F. Stichman, Special Counsel to and co-founder of the National Veterans Legal Services Program
Ronald B. Abrams, Special Counsel to and Former Joint Executive Director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program
Richard V. Spataro, Director of Training and Publications of the National Veterans Legal Services Program
Stacy A. Tromble, Director of Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Litigation of the National Veterans Legal Services Program
Rochelle Bobroff, Director of Pro Bono at the National Veterans Legal Services Program, supervising the Lawyers Serving Warriors® program.
The 2022-2023 edition of the Veterans Benefits Manual has been thoroughly updated with the important developments in veterans' law over the past year. The most significant new information in the recent edition of the Manual has been about the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA), which took effect on February 19, 2019. There is updated information in the 2022-2023 edition of the Manual about how the modernized review system has been operating in practice. Most of that information appears in Chapters 12, 13, and 16.
PACT Act Supplement: In August 2022, President Biden signed into law one the most significant bills affecting veterans benefits in decades. The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 (“PACT Act”) expands health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans, particularly those who were exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service. To help veterans and their advocates understand the numerous ways the PACT Act may impact them, NVLSP has prepared a supplement to the 2022-2023 edition of the Veterans Benefits Manual that summarizes the key provisions of the new law. This supplement is included with your purchase of the 2022-2023 edition.
Highlights of the other updates in the 2022-2023 edition include advocacy essentials such as:
- A new chapter devoted to the types of military department payments to which active duty servicemembers and veterans are entitled, including Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) (Chapter 20);
- The important new presumptions of service connection for diseases now recognized as associated with exposure to toxic particulate matter and emissions from burn pits in Southwest Asia (Section 3.9.2);
- The new exceptions to VA deadlines resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent disruptions to VA’s mailing systems (Sections 5.8.6, 5.11.7, 12.8, and 12.9);
- The expansions ordered by the courts to a claimant’s right to file a supplemental claim (Sections 12.5, 12.8, and 14.1.2);
- Updated and expanded description of the types of claims based on clear and unmistakable error (CUE) that have been successful (Section 14.4.1);
- The right to additional months of eligibility for GI Bill educational benefits currently being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Section 11.2.4);
- Expanded discussion of the categories of surviving spouses entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and other VA survivor benefits, even though they remarried after the veteran’s death (Section 126.96.36.199.5);
- Description of the class action settlements opening the door to veterans previously denied an upgrade to a less than honorable discharge to re-apply to the Army, Navy, or Air Force Discharge Review Boards for reconsideration (Sections 21.2 and 21.3);
- Expanded advocacy advice for applying to a Board for Correction of Military Records (Section 21.2);
- Updates to the jurisdiction and workload of the VA’s Pension Management Centers (Section 188.8.131.52); and
- Updated information about appealing medical decisions through the Veterans Health Administration’s Clinical Appeals Process (Section 10.3.4).
The 2021-2022 Edition ISBN was 9781663324528.
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Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction And How to Use This Manual
PART I DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR VETERANS
Chapter 2 Veterans' Basic Eligibility For VA Benefits
Chapter 3 Compensation for Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities
Chapter 4 VA Disability Benefits or Damages for Injury or Death Caused by VA Health
Care or Other VA Activities
Chapter 5 Setting, Increasing, or Reducing a Veterans' Service-Connected Disability
Chapter 6 Pension For Veterans with Non-Service-Connected Disabilities
PART II VA BENEFITS FOR NON-VETERANS
Chapter 7 VA Benefits For Family Members
PART III RULES AFFECTING THE AMOUNT OF BENEFITS PAID
Chapter 8 Effective Dates For Awards of Benefits
Chapter 9 Special Issues For Disability And Death Benefits
PART IV VA HEALTH CARE AND OTHER BENEFITS
Chapter 10 VA Health Care
Chapter 11 Other VA Benefits
PART V THE VA CLAIMS ADJUDICATION PROCESS
Chapter 12 Adjudication of Legacy and Modernized Claims by VA Regional Offices
Chapter 13 Board Of Veterans' Appeals
Chapter 14 Avenues Available to Correct Errors in Final BVA Decisions and Common
Errors Appealable to the Court
Chapter 15 Court Review of VA Decision-Making
PART VI ADVOCACY ON BEHALF OF VA CLAIMANTS
Chapter 16 Reviewing VA Claims Files
Chapter 17 Effective Advocacy Before the VA
Chapter 18 Obtaining Military Records And Information To Help Substantiate A Claim
Chapter 19 Attorney's and Agent's Fees Paid By VA Claimants Or By The VA
PART VII CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS
Chapter 20 Military Compensation
Chapter 21 Correcting Military Records
TABLE OF CASES