Health & Safety

Topics covered include health insurance, medical care & leave, and filing claims based on MST , PTSD , or TBI. 

Eligible for S-DVI?


I was awarded TDIU P&T earlier this year, with an effective date of August 2011. My question pertains to the S-DVI insurance policy that is available to 100% disabled veterans where the premium is waived. I understand that eligibility ends at 65. I am currently 72, however based on the effective date of my award, I am 63-64. Under these circumstances, am I eligible? I did call the appropriate department and was told no, which makes no sense. Looking for your opinion. Thank you.


Jim's Reply:

You must have an award of a new service-connected disability to be eligible for S-DVI. 

Ratings of Individual Unemployability are not considered grants of “new” service-connected conditions under S-DVI. You must receive a rating for a new condition not previously rated by VA.

In my opinion you're not only not eligible for a waiver, you aren't eligible for S-DVI.


IHD Plus


Hi Jim, First I like to thank you for all you do. I am a Vietnam vet with prostate cancer. I have been awarded 100% for over 10 years under watchful waiting. I was also awarded 60% for IHD at the same time. Since the award for IHD I have undergone a quintuple by-pass, defibrillator, and pace maker. I am now about to get a cow valve as they have indicated further by-passes may not go well, I would like to attempt to have the 60% increased to 100% P&T. I guess I would like to get your opinion.


Jim's Reply:

Your rating should be 100% P & T now because of the defibrillator device...the AICD. If the IHD caused the electrical malfunctions in your heart that led to the AICD, that's a 100% rating.

You need to file the claim.


Camp Lejeune and Parkinson's


Greetings. I am 90% but 100% with TDIU. I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I was at Camp Lejeune in 68’ for more than 30 days. Is it worth my while to file for my Parkinson’s with the VA? Will I damage my current status if I do?


Jim's Reply:

Yes, you should go ahead and file the claim for Parkinson's Disease as associated with contaminated water at Lejeune. 

Since I don't know the specific ratings that brought you to your 100% TDIU I'm not sure of how this might affect current ratings other than to say they won't be reduced. Your ratings could remain as they are or you could experience a change from the TDIU status to a 100% schedular rating. 

Filing the claim now may also help protect you in the future should your physical conditions deteriorate over time with age. The time you'll spend filing this claim will be well spent. Good luck.


Blue Water Navy


Please direct me to a link for Blue Water Navy. I was on two Westpac tour in the Gulf of Tonkin '70 - '74. I never stepped foot on Vietnam Shores. I remained just off the coast for two 6-month tours. I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was told that I may qualify for Agent Orange. If this is true how do I find out?  Thank you.


Jim's Reply:

It's likely that you are eligible for a VA disability benefit...probably 100%, Start here:

Now...don't ask more questions, don't talk with others, file the claim. 

The longer you delay, the more you lose. Too many vets try to go into way too much detail when their claim is most likely to be won on the face of it. You really don't need help or representation, follow the instructions and file the claim. Good luck.


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Agent Orange


I have been at 100% P & T for 10 years now due to an Agent Orange presumption CLL diagnosis. A few months back I had a cancerous bladder removed along with my prostate. After biopsies, they found that my prostate was also cancerous. Curious if I should bother with filing this with the VA, or should I leave well enough alone? Thank You.


Jim's Reply:

Yes, you should file a claim for all of that...first the prostate and then as a secondary condition to prostate cancer, file for bladder cancer. Your rating should increase into the Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) range although I won't try to predict how much. 

In the end you'll have what amounts to two 100% ratings and that will increase your monthly payment by about 1/4 to 1/2 over what you're netting today. Good luck sir.


TDIU and Prostate Cancer


I have been 90% disabled with IU P/T for 19 years and 2 months. I’ve just been diagnosed with Prostate cancer. Should I go for straight up total 100% or leave well enough alone?


Jim's Reply:

You're already "straight up total 100%"...that's what the TDIU benefit is, a 100% total rating. However, you can add another 100% rating (prostate cancer) to that and that will likely take you to an SMC rating (housebound) that will increase your benefits. You don't have to be housebound to get the housebound benefit.

If you have the prostate cancer rated today and it gets worse in the future, you're ahead of the game. Good luck.