Morning Muster: 2/23/2015 Informal claims changes will hurt vets; solving vet homelessness takes more than roofs

Killing informal claims could hurt older vets; Pittsburgh vets say burn pits made them sick; ‘Thank you for your service’ makes vets feel uncomfortable; Tulsa World launches World War II in-their-own-words project; new fiction captures Iraq, Afghanistan experience; solving vet homelessness program takes more than housing; VA crisis hotline wins Oscar

VA’s move to push informal claims to a formal claims process begins next month, to the detriment of older veterans, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s  Brian Bowling. The new process ends a veteran’s ability to file an informal claim by making a written request, rather than filling out a specific, complicated form. The new process could cause vets to lose months’, or even years’, worth of benefits. It’s a big deal, and we, as well as the majority of the veterans’ service organizations, are worried about it.

The Reading Eagle’s Ford Turner and Mike Urban have a report about local vets who believe they have been affected by the burn pits used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of trash. They dig in on the recent research, and Bergmann & Moore is quoted. The veterans’ service organizations plan, as do we, to make this a big push this year—as well as looking at all other environmental exposures. Morning Muster will do its best to keep everyone up-to-date.

The New York Times’ Matt Richtel writes about why it’s difficult for veterans to hear, “Thank you for your service.” The thank you, he writes, can feel like people think they understand what the veteran has been through—and they don’t—or like the veteran did something specifically for the person doing the thanking, which can seem self-serving.

The Tulsa World has just launched a series that gives World War II veterans the chance to tell their own stories, report Tim Stanley and Michael Wyke.

The Dallas Morning NewsChris Vognar offers a look at the fiction veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have written since returning home.

We’ll categorize this under “Who knew?”: The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act allows vets to salute the flag while not in uniform when the National Anthem is played, according to a letter written to the The Ledger. The author writes that it’s a good way to figure out who the vets are before a football game.

The Bangor Daily News’ Seth Koenig has a piece about what veteran homelessness looks like on the streets, and what still needs to be done.

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” a documentary about Veterans Affairs’ suicide hotline in Canadaigua, New York, won an Oscar last night, reports Military TimesPatricia Kime.

Bergmann & Moore, LLC, is a national law firm dedicated to serving the needs of veterans in compensation claims before and against the Department of Veterans Affairs. The firm’s partners are former VA attorneys who are very familiar with the VA system. Bergmann & Moore handles all kinds of cases, but has a concentration in claims involving PTSD, military sexual trauma, Gulf War illness and complex medical issues, such as brain cancer or degenerative issues, veterans exposed to Agent Orange often face. For more information, to submit news or to sign up for an email version of this blog, contact Kelly Kennedy at kkennedy@vetlawyers.com.

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