Effective April 1st, 2019, a new policy will provide veterans, who were awarded a Purple Heart during their military service, with a prioritized disability claims process in advance of those who were not awarded a Purple Heart, according to Robert Wilkie, Veterans Affairs Secretary.
A Purple Heart is the oldest U.S. military award that is still bestowed upon U.S. military members. It was first presented as the Badge of Military Merit by then General George Washington during the American Revolution.
Estimates from the Military Order of the Purple Heart indicate that more than 22,000 Afghanistan War veterans and 35,000 Iraq War veterans have been awarded the medal, which is one of the most well known military medals.
This new policy coincides with existing department rules that also provide a priority status for Purple Heart veterans requesting medical attention at VA hospitals. In addition, these veterans are exempt from co-pays for their medical care.
Unfortunately, veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often not awarded a Purple Heart; therefore, there is concern from advocates of the new policy. The effectiveness of this rule on the processing of Veterans Affairs’ cases is uncertain.
The caseload of first-time veterans disability benefit claims at the VA, as of February 2019, includes more than 83,000 cases that have been pending for more than 125 days, which is the VA’s target to render a decision.
This new policy will not affect supplemental claims or veterans’ appeals.
The Injured Veterans legal team at Gordon & Partners is here for military veterans and their families. Please contact us immediately, if you are having difficulty with your claim or you are not receiving the disability benefits to which you are entitled. Call us at 1-888-231-9144 or fill out the form on this website.
Read the full story here: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/02/26/purple-heart-vets-will-get-disability-claims-moved-quicker/