BY TOM BURKE, CHAIR
President John Rowan announced at the October Board Meeting that Kelsey Yoon will be returning from maternity leave on November 17. However, she will not be returning as Director of the Veterans Benefits Program. Instead, she has accepted the newly created position of Senior Attorney and Adviser to the Corporation. She will be looking after legal matters that need long-term research and study. She will continue to consult with Veterans Benefits.
Felicia Mullaney, currently Deputy Director, has been named the Interim Director. She has performed a yeoman’s job, filling in while Yoon was away. Congratulations to them both.
Appeals Modernization Act Update: The VBP has recently submitted comments on the proposed regulations. During the upcoming months as changes are being implemented, we will continue advocating for veterans by pointing out AMA inadequacies and areas that could be improved. The law becomes fully functional next February. Be prepared.
Service Officer Training: Do not forget about the Service Office Training taking place in January immediately following the National Board Meeting. This training will be vital to understanding the new Appeals Modernization Act. We encourage all SCPs to contact the National office to let us know who you will send to the training. We encourage all state councils to send service officers to this training.
Finally, here’s a brief report by Heather Olson, one of VVA’s new appellate attorneys. It’s good information.
Permanent and Total Designation: 100 Percent Disability Rating
The “Permanent and Total” designation may enable you, your spouse, and your children to receive more benefits than you could with only a 100 percent disability rating. You can be considered permanently and totally disabled if you have a 100 percent rating and your rated disabilities are reasonably certain to continue for the rest of your life.
With permanent and total designation you and your family may be entitled to many additional benefits.
You could be protected from rating reductions
Your dependents could be entitled to health care
Your dependents could be entitled to educational assistance
Your dependents could more easily receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation after your death
Your federal student loans could be discharged
You could be entitled to additional state and local benefits, such as waived property tax, discounted vehicle registration, and discounted hunting and fishing licenses.
If you have already been awarded a 100 percent rating for a service-connected disability or are unable to find substantial gainful employment, you may wish to contact your local service officer about an increased rating or obtaining a finding of “Permanent and Total.”