Glioblastoma Multiforme is a type of malignant brain tumor often found in Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during service in the Vietnam War, in Thailand, or the Korean peninsula demilitarized zone (DMZ).
When a Veteran learns about a Glioblastoma diagnosis, thoughts turn to obtaining prompt and quality medical care. During that difficult time, ill Veterans and their loved ones soon begin asking questions about how to apply for and receive disability and survivor benefits from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Due to a recent high-profile Glioblastoma patient in the news, there is a tremendous amount of new interest regarding Glioblastoma. According to VA, more than 500 Vietnam-era Veterans have been diagnosed with Glioblastoma at a VA facility.
However, the true scope of the number of ill Veterans remains unknown because VA’s count excludes Veterans who obtained care outside of VA.
Veterans face a tough fight with VA because VA has not yet acknowledged that these serious brain tumors are due to Agent Orange or dioxin exposure. That’s because Glioblastoma is not on VA’s presumptive list of conditions where VA automatically grants service connection.
Sadly, when a Veteran has passed away from a non-presumptive condition such as Glioblastoma, their surviving spouse is often unable to obtain VA benefits on their own, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The Veteran’s death makes the filing and winning a DIC claim challenge more difficult.
However, in August 2017, there was renewed support in Congress to add Glioblastoma as a presumptive condition. VA plans to announce a decision about adding one or more conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive list in November 2017.
Understanding VA’s complex rules for Glioblastoma and then submitting all of the paperwork can be a challenge for surviving family members, especially when it comes to finding medical evidence of for a Veteran who has died.
Bergmann & Moore understands what it takes to win Glioblastoma claims and has had great success helping Veterans or surviving spouses get VA benefits for this condition. We testified with our client before Congress on this meaningful topic.
Please read about how Bergmann & Moore was successful in winning a DIC case for a widow where a Veteran died due to Glioblastoma.
Bergmann & Moore remains dedicated to helping Veterans and surviving spouses obtain benefits from VA. If you filed a Glioblastoma claim that was denied by VA, then Bergmann & Moore may be able to assist you with this type of complex claim appeal. Please contact Bergmann & Moore for a FREE consultation.
Please contact us for a FREE consultation on Glioblastoma claims.
Agent Orange Exposure
One specific disease, Glioblastoma Multiforme, is a type of malignant brain tumor, often found in veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during service. However, VA has not yet acknowledged that these tumors are due to Agent Orange exposure and therefore they are not on VA’s presumptive list. Sadly, when a veteran passes away from a non-presumptive condition such as Glioblastoma, their surviving spouse is often unable to obtain benefits on their own.
Burn Pit Exposure
Bergmann & Moore recognizes that many veterans from the Gulf War era, Operating Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation New Dawn (OND), and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) may have been exposed to hazardous materials that were burned as a form of waste management.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) provides Veterans with five options on what to do when you receive a Board denial. In our experience there is only ONE reasonable option—appeal the BVA decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals to Veterans Claims (CAVC).
Dependency and Indemnity Claims
In the event a veteran passes away, their surviving family members may be entitled to benefits from the VA. Most commonly, this would be the Veteran’s surviving spouse. In order to qualify for DIC benefits, the surviving spouse must show that the Veteran died from a condition or illness related to the veteran’s military service. In some cases, veterans may have already been service connected for the condition that caused their death. In other cases, the surviving spouse is required to prove that the cause of death, if not already service-connected, was due to the veteran’s service.
Even veterans who aren’t rated 100-percent disabled may be eligible to be paid at the 100-percent monetary rate. VA awards individual unemployability, often referred to as total disability for individual unemployability (TDIU), when a veteran’s service connected conditions prohibit him or her from maintaining gainful employment. This benefit is separate from Social Security Disability Income.
Military Sexual Trauma
Military sexual assaults occur with both men and women and often go unreported. Many Veterans believe they do not qualify for Veterans’ benefits for military sexual trauma if they did not report the assault when it happened, but that is not true. There is no time limit for a Veteran to file a claim for a military sexual trauma, even if it is decades later.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), also referred to as posttraumatic stress or posttraumatic stress syndrome, is caused by experiencing a traumatic event. Even though the event has passed, many people continue to experience symptoms for months or even years afterward.
Once VA grants service connection for a disability, they then assign a rating based on the severity of the condition. The rating assigned correlates with a monetary amount to be paid monthly. In most cases, the veteran is compensated retroactively back to the effective date of the claim. This means that VA must pay the monthly amount for the disability for each month the claim was open, usually awarded in a lump sum, in addition to the monthly benefits going forward.
Veterans who were injured while in the military, or who aggravated those injuries while in the military, may be eligible for disability compensation. In some cases, compensation claims injuries are immediately obvious, such as when a service member is physically injured while on active duty. Other times, veterans don’t experience symptoms until many years after service, such as in the form of a mental health condition or cancer due to exposure of hazardous materials like Agent Orange, Burn Pits, or Asbestos.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
If a veteran sustains a head injury or full body injury during their military service, there may be longstanding effects known as residuals of a traumatic brain injury. Many veterans are unaware that they’ve even sustained a TBI because they didn’t lose consciousness during the event. Anything from a mild concussion to being thrown in an explosion may constitute a TBI.