Veterans can now go online and order their new identification cards, FREE to ALL Veterans.
Up until now, millions of veterans have been unable to document their service unless they carry around some of their official military records.
To request an ID card, veterans must visit www.vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom left of the page and sign in or create an account.
When ordering online, veterans will need to upload a copy of a valid government issued ID (drivers license/passport), a copy of a recent photograph to be displayed on the card and will need to provide service-related details. Once ordered, the Veteran ID Card will be printed and mailed directly to the veteran.
Before this change in the law, the VA provided Veteran ID cards only to those service members who served at least 20 years in the Armed Forces or received care from the VA for a service-connected disability. Other veterans had to carry a paper DD-214 document to prove their military status. As all veterans know, the DD214 contains sensitive personal information including social security numbers and service details. This put veterans at needless risk for identity theft if they lost or misplaced their documents.
The new identification card will also provide employers looking to hire veterans with an easier way to verify an employee’s military service. Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at www.vets.gov . A digital version of the ID card will be available online by mid-December.
Veterans can also call the Vets.Gov Help Desk at 1-855-574-7286 if they are having difficulties with the online process.
If you watch TV at all, I am sure you have seen ad's discussing the "DePuy Hip Implant".
Hip replacement surgery involves the removal of a hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint. The procedure is usually done when all other treatment has failed. Hip replacements can also become necessary in the course of slip and fall accidents, or as the result of degenerative changes that occur with age, or other injuries or accidents.
In 2013, the artificial hip regulations were changed by the USDA which ended the use of metal-on-metal hip implants. The regulations came after a 2012 Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel meeting where the panel reviewed failure rates, metal ion testing, complications, risk factors, and post-surgical care.
Doctors have found that metal hip replacements can come with a variety of side effects. These side effects can include: metal debris being found in the body, cobalt toxicity, bone erosion, tissue death, bursitis, and radicular pain. Despite these potential side effects, metal hip implants were used due to the claim that they would last longer than other materials typically used in these procedures, such as plastic or ceramic. However, having to take out metal hip replacement parts is a very painful process which can result in a long-term or even permanent change in your life. Even if you do not have to have the hip replacement removed, you may still require a cane, walker or wheelchair, periodic injections, physical therapy or pain management due to difficulties caused by the metal-on-metal devices.
DePuy is the maker of the metal-on-meal hip replacement with Johnson & Johnson as the “parent” company. DePuy has long stated that there is strong research that supports the metal-on-metal hip implants.
On November 16th, a federal jury in Dallas, TX found Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary DePuy, needed to pay six patients a total of $247 million due to hip implants were found to be defective. The six plaintiffs involved in this case experienced bone erosion and tissue death due to the metal hip replacement parts.
The verdict came as a result of finding that the metal to metal design was directly linked to patient injuries, that there were better alternatives available and the companies who designed the hip replacements failed to warn about the possible risks involved in the surgery.
Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the large verdict, however appeals on complex cases such as this one could take years to resolve.
So, the plaintiffs should not count themselves lucky yet: many of these large verdicts have been reduced by courts as being “excessive” in nature. It would not be surprising that a court would lower a jury verdict of $247 million, despite the life-altering damages suffered in these cases.
For several years, the VA has acknowledged that veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 were most likely exposed to herbicides such as "Agent Orange". The VA regulations state that any veteran who served in Vietnam (or, now, in some other areas where Agent Orange was stored or sprayed) during the relevant time period is "presumed" to have been exposed to Agent Orange. The VA has identified a list of diseases which it accepts as having been caused by Agent Orange. If a veteran who has been exposed is affected by one of these diseases, it is presumed to have been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange and will, then, be considered service connected. In 2010, the VA expanded its list of twelve Agent Orange-related diseases to include Parkinson’s disease, chronic B-cell leukemia, and ischemic heart disease.
It is a disease which causes lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. Not all heart disease qualifies for the presumption, but just because a veteran has not specifically been diagnosed with ischemic heart disease does not mean that he does not have the disease. Ischemic heart disease includes diagnoses such as coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic cardiomyopathy and myocardial ischemia. The veteran may or may not have initial symptoms such as shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, heart palpitations, a sensation of heartburn or indigestion, dizziness and/or lightheadedness. Vietnam-era veterans with heart disease should ask their doctors if their particular diagnosis is a form of ischemic heart disease.
Importantly, so long as the veteran was exposed to Agent Orange (either directly or presumptively), he need not have been diagnosed with ischemic heart disease within any certain time frame. In other words, if a veteran served in Vietnam in 1969 and develops ischemic heart disease forty years later in 2009, he is still entitled to service connection for his disease. In addition, although there are other risk factors for ischemic heart disease, such as smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, if the veteran has been exposed to Agent Orange, he is entitled to a presumption of service connection even if he has those other risk factors.
In addition to new claims for ischemic heart disease, the VA must also reopen and re-adjudicate the claims of Vietnam-era veterans who applied for compensation for heart disease prior to the change in the VA regulations. The veteran could, then, be entitled to an effective date all the way back to his earlier claim.
On that note, medical research is constantly identifying new links and relationships, and veterans should be aware that just because their particular illnesses or diseases have not yet been recognized as being related to Agent Orange does not mean that they will not be recognized at some point in the future. If the veteran feels that there is a link, it is worth filing the claim. The claim may initially be denied, but if the VA then later recognizes the veteran’s disability as connected to Agent Orange, he could be entitled to an effective date as of the date he filed his claim.