EpicGenetics, a genetic marker testing company, can test Veterans for Fibromyalgia AND the Department of Veterans Affairs supposedly recognizes the company’s test as proof of Fibro. This, of course, does not automatically mean that the VA is then going to find that your Fibro is indeed related to your military service, but it certainly could be a huge help to many Veterans.
Following the Gulf War, there have been veterans who developed fibromyalgia. An "objective" test showing that the veteran has this disease can help qualify them for veterans disability benefits.
In addition, the test will qualify veterans with fibro for a clinical trial of a vaccine that may reverse the disease.
EpicGenetics developed the FM/a test in 2013. It is the first blood test the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for diagnosing fibromyalgia. The test includes a number of biomarkers. Together, they identify anomalies in the immune system’s white blood cells that show up in people with the disease.
A key reason the FDA approved the test is that is has an accuracy rate of 93 percent.
The Veterans Administration has recognized Fibromyalgia as a Gulf War deployment "presumptive" condition that warrants disability benefits IF a Veteran has experienced the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia for six months or more. This "presumptive" illness must also have first appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2021, and be at least 10 percent disabling. This last part can often ONLY be proven with an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO).
Until EpicGenetics developed its test, it was hard for many Gulf War veterans to obtain Fibromyalgia disability status because the disease is often difficult to prove and was very "subjective". In fact, there are STILL many people (doctors included) that refuse to believe that Fibromyalgia really exists.
The Veterans Administration recognized Fibromyalgia as a Gulf War disability after research in the early 1990s showed that those deployed there were at increased risk of developing fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and "undiagnosed illnesses" (abnormal weight loss, fatigue,cardiovascular disease,muscle and joint pain,headaches, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and other items).
To help Gulf veterans receive fibromyalgia-related disability status, Medicare, the Veterans Administration’s CHAMPVA health insurance program and most preferred provider organization insurance plans for veterans cover the FM/a test.
“We are proud that the FM/a test can play a role in helping our veterans not only accurately and definitively diagnose their fibromyalgia, but also enable Gulf War veterans to seek appropriate disability reimbursement for the disorder,” Dr. Bruce Gillis, the chief executive officer of EpicGenetics, said in a press release.
An FM/a test showing that a veteran has fibromyalgia also makes them eligible to participate in a clinical trial that will evaluate whether a Bacillus Calmette-Guérin tuberculosis vaccination can reverse the disease.
Researchers are testing whether the BCG vaccine, which is almost a 100 years old, can treat several autoimmune diseases. BCG can correct protein abnormalities in white blood cells. If such abnormalities are the cause of fibromyalgia, then the vaccine could be a way to treat it.
The clinical trial will be in the United States. If it shows that BCG is effective against fibromyalgia, participants may be able to obtain a full treatment regimen.
If the vaccine turns out to be a successful treatment for fibromyalgia, it would eliminate the need for those with the disease to use medications, opioids and narcotics for their condition.
*Thanks to a report by Carolina Henriques In Fibromyalgia,News.
In a press release issued on October 13, 2017, SSA announced a 2.0% benefit increase for 2018.
The 2.0% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin in January 2018 for Social Security beneficiaries and on December 29, 2017 for SSI recipients.
This means that the average Title II disability benefit will be increased by $24 per month, from $1,173 to $1,197. For SSI recipients, the federal SSI maximum of $735 per month for individuals and $1,103 per month for couples will increase to $750 per month and $1,125 per month, respectively. Notably, the SSI resource limits will remain the same as they have been since 1984: $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.
Another important change occurring in January 2018 is the increased substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold: from $1,170 per month for the non-blind to $1,180 per month and $1,950 per month for the blind to $1,970 per month.
The Trial Work Period (TWP) threshold will also increase from $840 per month to $850 per month.
Another adjustment based on the increase in average wages will be the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, which will increase from $127,200 to $128,700. SSA believes this increase will require about 12 million out of the estimated 175 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2018 to pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.
The changes to Medicare premiums for 2018 has not yet been announced, but will be available at www.medicare.gov once declared.
This is what I hear over and over again from people trying to get their Social Security Disability or Veterans Disability benefits.
While I cannot speak for all attorneys, I can tell you that you will NEVER pay an up-front fee or "retainer" when using Hale Law Office for your Social Security Disability or Veterans Disability benefits claim.
We ONLY get paid IF we are able to win you some past-due/retroactive benefits.
For a Social Security Disability claim, our fee is set by Federal Law at 25% OR $6,000.00, whichever is LESS on the vast majority of claims. A few claims may end up allowing us a flat 25%, but those are on cases that must be appealed past the first hearing. We NEVER charge you for other "expenses" or "costs", and we gather most (usually all) of the evidence needed.
For a Veterans Disability benefits claim, our fee is limited to 20% of the past-due/retroactive benefits. There can be some costs/expenses involved with a VA claim, BUT we NEVER charge you for anything without FIRST clearing it through you.
Whether it’s a Social Security Disability or Veterans Disability benefits claim, the attorney fee MUST be approved by both you AND the Federal agency. Once approved, they will send me the fee 99% of the time so that you don’t have to mess with it.
Don't let the thought of having to pay someone up-front or giving up most of your money keep you from winning your claim!