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Latest News

Exposures and Military Bases in the United States

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started the “Superfund” program in 1980 when Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This program is an effort to clean up land that the EPA has deemed contaminated by hazardous waste and poses a risk to human health and/or the environment. Superfund sites are found all over the world due to the United States’ presence in multiple countries through private business, government, and military programs. There is a complex assessment in place to determine if a site should be deemed a Superfund site. The assessments include looking at the types of toxins; whether the toxins are found in the soil, water, air, or sediments; and at what phase of cleanup the site is in already. The main toxins the EPA assesses are asbestos, dioxin, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and radiation.

The New RAMP Program

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As some of you may have heard, the VA is implementing a new program of new procedures with the goal of speeding up the handling and resolution of appeals. The program has been dubbed the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) and has begun to be offered to veterans in select areas as of October 2017 to opt into the process.   It will be a voluntary option and totally up to the veteran as to whether he/she chooses to opt into the new program or remain with the existing appeals process.   To opt-in, the veteran must file a “RAMP Opt-In Election” Form that will be attached to a letter sent by the VA informing the veteran of this new process.

Understanding the Criteria and Rating of PTSD

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PTSD is caused by so many different events; personal trauma, sexual trauma, combat, reactions to training. It is the 6th highest rated disability among veterans, with over 63,000 new claims in 2015 and a total of over 800,000 veterans receiving compensation for symptoms of PTSD at some level. Many veterans are told they have PTSD and submit all the evidence required, but then when they apply for benefits they see this on their rating decision, “Does not meet the criteria for PTSD.” In this blog, we will explore various reasons why veterans get denied for this reason and what they can do about it.

VA Updates and Improves Assistance Program for Transitioning Service Members

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As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ongoing efforts to help transitioning service members navigate and understand VA’s various benefits, the agency recently updated VA’s briefing portion of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) – an interagency initiative authorized as a voluntary program in 1991 under the National Defense Authorization Act and made mandatory under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act in 2011 to help service members adjust to civilian life.

Four-hour drive for a colonoscopy? What VA privatization warnings ignore

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WASHINGTON — When 55-year-old Coast Guard veteran David McCray needed a colonoscopy, the Department of Veterans Affairs told him he would have to drive two hours each way from his home to a VA hospital in Denver — even though multiple private-sector options are closer, as is an Air Force hospital.

School Owner Pleads Guilty to $2 Million Bribery Scheme Involving VA Program for Disabled Military Veterans

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The owner of Atius Technology Institute (“Atius”), a privately owned, non-accredited school specializing in information technology courses, pleaded guilty today to bribing a public official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in exchange for the public official’s facilitation of over $2 million in payments that were supposed to be dedicated to providing vocational training for military veterans with service-connected disabilities. Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia made the announcement.

“Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial raises awareness of prescription drug crisis

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I’m Robert Wilkie. I’m visiting the National Safety Council’s “Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial. The memorial is currently located here at the White House. It’s part of President Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand.

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