Higher Disability Ratings for Service-Connected Injuries


By Debbie Gregory.

Sharp v. Shulkin may be a game-changing decision for many disabled veterans who suffer from injuries to the back, neck, and joints.

Many veterans file claims for disabilities that, while chronic, are worse on some days than on others. So, while on a typical day a veteran with a disability may experience pain in the 3 or 4 out of 10 range, on another day when the veteran experiences a flare-up of his condition, he may experience 10/10 pain. Not observing the impact of a flare-up on the veteran’s functionality could result in a drastically lower rating for the veteran’s disability.

Bobby P. Sharp, a Korean War veteran who suffers from numerous musculoskeletal injuries, argued in his lawsuit that the VA medical examinations he received were inadequate because he was never asked about the frequency, duration, characteristics, severity, or functional loss when he was having a flare up that resulted in 10 out of 10 pain.

The court agreed that the system was inadequate, and now the VA must now ensure that Compensation and Pension (C&P) examiners do not overlook flare-ups and pain when assessing a disabled veteran.

The ruling also specified that the VA must try, whenever possible, to schedule the C&P examination when the veteran is experiencing a flare-up.

If that is not possible, the veteran can submit evidence for consideration, such as their own description of the flare-ups and pain they experience, or they can submit a “buddy statements” from a person who knows the veteran and can testify to the extent of their suffering.

Hopefully, this decision will make it easier for veterans to receive a higher disability rating for injuries sustained while in the military. This gives precedent for other veterans who want to challenge their disability ratings.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Retired Four-Star General Jailed Over Chinese Food Delivery

Retired Four-Star General Jailed Over Chinese Food Delivery

By Debbie Gregory.

The Fayetteville, Georgia police were called to the home of retired four-star US Army general, William J. Livsey , following a dispute over a delivery from a local restaurant.

The driver from the Royal Chef Restaurant accepted Livsey’s credit card, only to return it to him as declined. When Livsey asked to pay by check, the driver indicated the restaurant did not accept checks, and the driver could not leave the food.

Livsey allegedly became agitated, and was reported to have physically assaulted the driver, pinning him against the refrigerator. Guests of the retired general took the food during the altercation, and began to dine on the unpaid meal.

When the driver was finally able to leave, he filed a report with the police. The officers went to Livsey’s home and attempted to make an arrest. Livsey resisted the arrest, and while trying to handcuff him, his arm was scratched enough to require the local EMT to attend to the wound. Officers commenced with the arrest. The chief was quoted saying Livsey tried “to punch one of the officers and kick another one all while making threatening and disparaging remarks.”

During his career, Livsey was a platoon leader during the Korean War and an infantry battalion commander in Vietnam. He was decorated numerous times, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He retired in 1987. In 2008, his hometown chose to honor him by renaming part of Highway 314 the “General Bill Livsey Highway.”

Livsey was charged with robbery, misdemeanor obstruction, theft of services, simple assault and terroristic threats. He did send someone to pay the restaurant, including a tip for the driver. Bond was set at $12,000 but Livsey was released on his own recognizance.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: VA Life Insurance Dividends

VA life insurance

By Debbie Gregory.

The VA is expected to pay over $100 million in life insurance dividends this year.

Dividends are the portions of the insurance company’s profits that are paid to policy holders, as if they were stock holders or investors. Over the course of 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expected to pay $117.4 million to approximately 505,000 Veterans who served in the Armed Forces before 1956 and hold qualifying life insurance policies.

The VA will pay a combined total of $74 million to qualifying Veterans of World War II, who hold National Service Life Insurance policies, and whose policy numbers begin with the letter “V.”

The department is expected to pay a combined total of $40.6 million to Korean War era Veterans who hold Veterans’ Special Life Insurance policies, whose policy numbers begin with either “RS” or “W.”

The VA says that a combined total of $2.7 million will be paid to World War II era Veterans holding Veterans’ Reopened Insurance policies, whose policy numbers begin with either “J,” “JR,” or “JS.”

Additionally, a combined total of $120,000 is expected to be paid to Veterans who served after World War I, and up to 1940, and who hold U.S. Government Life Insurance policies, with policy numbers beginning with the letter “K.”

In order to be eligible to receive the dividends, Veterans must have had these VA life insurance policies in effect since they left the military, and would have received annual notifications about their policies.

There is no action required on the part of the Veterans who are due dividends. The VA will automatically pay the dividend on the anniversary date of the policy, and send the money to the insured Veteran. Dividend amounts will vary, based on the Veteran’s age, insurance type, and length of time that the Veteran has had the policy.

The VA administers the country’s 10th largest life insurance program, providing coverage to approximately seven million service members, as well as Veterans and their families, totaling $1.3 trillion in coverage.

Veterans who have questions about their policies should contact the VA at 1-800-669-8477 or email [email protected].

For more information on VA life insurance, see

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Military Connection: VA Life Insurance Dividends: By Debbie Gregory