by Terry Richards

URGENT MESSAGE TO ALL THE MEN & WOMEN OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES, INCLUDING THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVES WHO ARE PENDING MEDICAL DISCHARGE OR RELEASE FROM SERVICE WITH INJURIES OR DISEASE.

Disclosing what the DOD and VA do not Disclose or Widely-Advertise

In early January of 2005, the news media reported that American Soldiers returning from combat zones such as Iraq were according to the Department of Defense (DOD) Regulations entitled to an extension of 3-or more months of combat pay even though they were no longer in the zone.

However, the benefits were not automatic and in order to receive the extension Combatants had to apply for it within 30-days of leaving the combat zone.

Unfortunately, the DOD did not widely advertise Post-Combat-Payments benefits or its rules until the news media broadcasts which resulted in all or most of the earlier Combatants not receiving the extra pay. In another misdeed, the DOD has also failed to widely-advertise that Armed Forces Personnel including whom are pending medical discharge or release for severe injuries or disease or unhealed wounds incurred or aggravated while in service or on Active-duty from the National Guard or Reserves regardless of whether they had been in a combat zone or not are entitled to a PRESTABILIZATION RATINGS of 50%-100% service-connected disability compensation which in 2010 pays $770 to 2673 per month for a single Veterans for a minimum of 12-months.

If Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is required the monthly payment could be well-over $4,100 for a single-Veteran and over $8,000 for Veterans with Dependent Spouse, Children and Parents and which there are extremely severe injuries such as amputated arms and legs, paralysis, brain damage, etc. VA DISABILITY COMPENSATION RATE TABLES – http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm

SPECIAL MONTHLY COMPENSATION RATE TABLES – http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp02.htm

e-CFR Data is current as of April 22, 2010 –

Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief § 4.28 Prestabilization rating from date of discharge from service. Click on link to view. http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.1.97.24&idno=38

38 USC requires that as long as a 100 percent total rating is not immediately assignable to the Veteran under the regular provisions of the schedule or on the basis of unemployability, that a Veteran be assigned a 100 percent Prestabilization Rating which may include Special Monthly Compensation if he or she suffers from an unstabilized condition that was incurred in Military Service resulting in “severe” disability that makes substantially gainful employment “not feasible or advisable.”

Unstabilized conditions that may warrant such a rating includes but is not limited to diagnosis of disease, injury, or residuals from gunshot wounds or head injuries incurred while in combat or any other kind of active-duty. This same Regulation also requires that as long as a rating of 50 percent or more is not immediately assignable to the Veteran under the regular provisions, that a Veteran be assigned a 50 percent or more Prestabilization Rating which may include Special Monthly Compensation if he or she suffers from unhealed or incompletely healed wounds or injuries that makes “material impairment” of employability likely. Veterans should duly not that a Department of Veterans Affairs Examination is not required prior to assignment of Prestabilization Ratings, and that Prestabilization Ratings are assigned in the immediate post-discharge period, and will continue without reduction for a 12-month period following Military Discharge. Prestabilization Ratings may be changed to a “schedular” total rating or one authorizing a greater benefit at any time but not earlier than 6-months following separation or discharge.

Furthermore, if following examination in which reduction in evaluation is found to be warranted, the higher evaluation will be continued to the end of the 12th month following Separation or Discharge from Military Service pursuant to 38 CFR § 3.105(e). For further details or assistance, contact www.iava.org (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America).

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