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Episode 22: Caller Questions & Proposed Changes At The VA

This time on The Veterans Voice, host Amanda L. Mineer is joined again by Star Brewer as our cohost. 

Star is a U.S. Air Force veteran and paralegal for Veterans Law Group. She has a unique perspective compared to most, given that she has aided many of her family members in applying for and later obtaining their benefits, including her grandfather– a Vietnam veteran. 

She describes her experience as “a little bit of everything.” 

The start of this episode is spent discussing and sharing thoughts on the recent broadcast email sent out by the VA. In which the VA proposed changes to some of the regulations regarding how they rate conditions such as tinnitus, sleep apnea and some mental health conditions.

Amanda asks Star for her thoughts on the email. 

She says: I think I might be a little bit more jaded than most veterans. […] I see this on a daily basis, and I see how the VA has constantly changed. […] I have seen how they’ll offer something and then pull it back right away. So I don’t get too excited. I know a proposal is just a proposal. […] I wish that the VA would clarify a bit better when they send that out. 

After more discussion on the proposed changes from the VA, our hosts took a call from Ron. 

He said: I’m 50 percent service-connected disability rated, and I wanted to get an increase, based on three claims. One was for tinnitus, one for moderate sleep apnea and the third for severe osteoarthritis. 

I have two questions. I had heard that for any service member putting in a claim for tinnitus, it was an automatic 10 percent– is that correct?

The other question was, I have the severe osteoarthritis in my hip […], and I’m on track to get scheduled for surgery. […] Now, if I get a hip replacement, what happens to my claim?

After Amanda answers Ron’s questions, she and Star move on to various other topics, all relating to veteran benefits. 

One of those topics is mental health among our veterans. They discuss the implications of many veterans not seeking help from the VA or others in their communities before joining another caller, Leslie, who has a question of her own regarding compensation for her father. 

Wrapping up our podcast, Amanda and Star help answer many of our callers’ questions, including effective dates and more. If you want to hear the answers to those questions and the others presented here, please listen to this episode of The Veterans Voice.