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VA adds to list of ships exposed to Agent Orange
Posted September 07, 2011

The Veterans Affairs Department has expanded the list of ships exposed to Agent Orange, thereby broadening the amount of veterans with disability qualifying conditions who could apply for veterans benefits.

Ships added to the list were in Vietnam between between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. Veterans who served aboard these ships during that time may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation for 14 medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. A list of new ships exposed to Agent Orange are available at publichealth.va.gov.

According to VA’s website, Agent Orange is a mix of herbicides used during Vietnam. Millions of gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed across trees and vegetation to deny cover to enemy forces. Diseases associated with Agent Orange include multiple forms of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease and Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy, among others.

The “presumption” rule comes into effect for soldiers with disability qualifying conditions exposed to Agent Orange. This means veterans don’t have to prove a medical link between their illness and service, the VA said, adding that the department presumes exposure for any veteran who served within Vietnam or on its inland waterways.

It is our opinion that any Vietnam veteran who served aboard a watercraft in or near Vietnam may have been exposed to Agent Orange and or other herbicides employed by the U.S. armed forces. If the veteran is ill from one of the deceases associated with the use of herbicides, they should consider filing a claim with the VA immediately. The law offices of Harold W. Conick, & Associates is available to assist the veteran with such claim.

Study: Children with OCD more likely to be bullied
Posted August 09, 2011

Children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a potentially social security disability qualifying condition, are more likely to be bullied than children in good health, according to a new study.

The Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology showed that 25 percent of children with OCD who researchers studied described bullying as a problem, as opposed to only 9 percent of healthy children. The study shows that bullying can make symptoms of OCD worse, as the International Business Times said it creates “a seemingly endless cycle of worry and anxiety” in children who suffer from the disease.

According to the International Business Times, 1 percent of children suffer from OCD, a severe anxiety disorder which characterized by illogical thinking, intrusive and disruptive thoughts and rituals, such as frequent hand-washing or counting.

The Social Security Administration says after applying for disability, parents who have children that suffer from OCD will be asked to submit detailed information on the child’s medical conditions and how it affects his or her ability to function on a daily basis. The SSA will also ask parents to give permission to teachers, doctors, therapists and other professions who can give information on the child’s disability qualifying condition.

The law offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates is of the opinion that many children who suffer with OCD are eligible for disability benefits. We are skilled advocates in securing such benefits for OCD afflicted children.

Veterans win class action lawsuit, will receive disability benefits
Posted August 09, 2011

Results of a class action lawsuit may be good news for many veterans with disability qualifying conditions.

A class-action lawsuit filed by the National Veterans Legal Services Program has been settled, according to Medical News Today. The suit claimed that thousands of ex-servicemen and women discharged due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) between 2003 and 2008 did not get benefits they were entitled to.

Medical News said as a result of the settlement, the United States military will pay disability benefits for life to 1,029 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD who were discharged and denied benefits. The military will also increase the PTSD for an additional 1,066 benefits, who could be in line for thousands of dollars of back pay.

It was a big week for veterans suffering from PTSD, as a study by Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven shows the drug Risperdal, administered for PTSD treatment, caused side effects such as weight gain and sleeplessness, according to Reuters Health. About 20 percent of VA, or 87,000 veterans diagnosed with PTSD, took the drug in 2009, according to WebMD.

Social Security Administration receives exemption in deficit deal
Posted August 09, 2011

With a backlog of about 1.4 million people waiting for a review of their benefits, things could start moving quicker for the Social Security Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In this month’s deficit-reduction deal, the SSA was given an exemption that could ramp up the amount of continuing eligibility for disability reviews performed. Social Security officials say that a lack of funding has prevented the agency from removing beneficiaries who are no longer eligible and crawling to a snails-pace on reviewing new claims of those with disability qualifying conditions.

As an example, the Wall Street Journal reports that there were 850,000 continuing disability reviews in 2002 and only 200,000 in 2007. This slide may be due to the increase in the amount of disability beneficiaries, which has gone from 6.9 million in 2001 to 10.4 million as of this month.

According to an Allsup study of the SSA’s backlog state-by-state, social security disability applicants in Illinois will wait an average of approximately 500 days for their claim to be processed. There are nearly 25,000 cases pending in the state. The hope for the new review system is that these numbers can be reduced in the coming days.

It is our opinion that our clients cases are expedited by the timely submission of their current medical treatment records so that the Social Security Administration will recognize that their file is ready for a decision.

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