Compton: VA may reevaluate traumatic brain injury claims

By George Compton
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Last month the Department of Veterans Affairs changed the way traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and burn scars would be rated for compensation.

These changes will better assess the residual effects from those injuries and provide a more appropriate level of compensation.

These changes will be used in new claims, and those veterans who have been rated for TBI or burn scars will have their claims reviewed and possibly reevaluated.

Those veterans may be scheduled for a new exam. This is a good thing so there is no need for concern.

Q. My husband is in the reserves, and he is being deployed to Iraq with a unit from outside the state of California.

I am really feeling a lot of stress and I do not know where to turn.

Can you give me some advice on where to go for help?

A. There are two possible sources for help and both are very good.

The Military and Family Life Consultant Program (888-755-9355) and the Military OneSource Counseling (800-342-9647) both provide counseling and both focus on reserve and national guard families.

Q. I was rated 50 percent disabled by the VA and I applied for Combat Related Special Compensation. My letter from the Navy had me rated at 40 percent for CRSC.

Exactly what will I be receiving now? I am married and we have one child, 12 years old.

A. Currently the 50 percent compensation rating means that you will have $850 subtracted from your retired military pay each month and you will receive that amount from the VA.

The advantage of getting VA compensation is that it is tax free.

The CRSC award of 40 percent is currently $610 a month.

The Navy will not add that back to your retired pay and that amount will be paid separately and, like VA compensation, it is also tax free.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: [email protected].

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