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Wings

Specially Adapted Housing & Special Home Adaptation

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[Federal Register: December 18, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 242)]

[Proposed Rules]

[Page 67145-67149]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr18de09-25]

=======================================================================

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 3

RIN 2900-AN21

Specially Adapted Housing and Special Home Adaptation

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its

adjudication regulations regarding specially adapted housing and

special home adaptation grants. The proposed regulations would

incorporate certain provisions from the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003,

the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004, the Veterans' Housing

Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006, and the Housing and

Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The proposed amendments are necessary to

conform the regulations to the statutory provisions.

DATES: Comments must be received by VA on or before February 16, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through

www.Regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to Director, Regulations

Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave.,

NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026.

Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ``RIN

2900-AN21--Specially Adapted Housing and Special Home Adaptation.''

Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in

the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1063B, between the

hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays).

Please call (202) 461-4902 for an appointment. This is not a toll-free

number. In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed

online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://

www.Regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Kniffen, Chief, Regulations

Staff (211D), Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits

Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue,

NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-9739. (This is not a toll-free

telephone number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following public laws revised VA's

statutes regarding specially adapted housing and special home

adaptation

[[Page 67146]]

grants: The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, Public Law 108-183; the

Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-454; the

Veterans' Housing Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006,

Public Law 109-233; and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,

Public Law 110-289. To ensure consistency with statutory changes, we

propose to amend VA's regulations addressing eligibility for specially

adapted housing, 38 CFR 3.809, and special home adaptation, 38 CFR

3.809a.

Benefits for Members of the Armed Forces

Section 401 of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 added subsection

© to 38 U.S.C. 2101, authorizing VA to provide specially adapted

housing grants under section 2101(a) and special home adaptations under

section 2101(b) to members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty

who have a qualifying disability. This authorization is effective on

December 16, 2003. However, section 401 of the Veterans Benefits

Improvement Act of 2004, which significantly reorganized 38 U.S.C.

2101, did not retain the authority to provide these benefits to active

duty servicemembers. There is no indication in the legislative history

of the Act that Congress intended to eliminate eligibility for

specially adapted housing and special home adaptation for members of

the Armed Forces serving on active duty.

Further, section 105 of the Veterans' Housing Opportunity and

Benefits Improvement Act of 2006, as a technical correction, re-

inserted into section 2101 subsection © as added by the Veterans

Benefits Improvement Act of 2003 and then made amendments to that

subsection. The effective date is December 10, 2004, the effective date

of the amendment made by the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004.

Because the benefits were made available as of December 16, 2003, by

the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, this effective date provision in the

Veterans' Housing Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006

essentially means that the erroneous removal by the Veterans Benefits

Improvement Act of 2004 of the language authorizing benefits for active

duty servicemembers did not occur. Therefore, we propose to amend

Sec. Sec. 3.809 and 3.809a to incorporate the authority to grant

eligibility for these benefits to active duty servicemembers.

Section 2602 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

created new 38 U.S.C. 2101A for eligibility for specially adapted

housing and special home adaptations for members of the Armed Forces

who are serving on active duty. The provisions extending eligibility

for these benefits to such active duty members of the Armed Forces were

moved from 38 U.S.C. 2101 to the new section 2101A. No substantive

changes were made to the provisions. We would cite the new section as

the statutory authority for our regulations.

38 U.S.C. 1151

Section 304(a) of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004

amended 38 U.S.C. 1151, Benefits for persons disabled by treatment or

vocational rehabilitation, by adding subsection ©. Subsection ©

states that a qualifying additional disability under section 1151 shall

be treated as if it were a service-connected disability for purposes of

chapter 21 benefits (specially adapted housing) and chapter 39 benefits

(automobiles and adaptive equipment). This is an expansion of the

benefits to which veterans disabled by VA treatment or vocational

rehabilitation are eligible. This statutory amendment to 38 U.S.C. 1151

is applicable with respect to eligibility for these benefits and

services provided by VA on or after December 10, 2004. Public Law 108-

454, Sec. 304(b), 118 Stat. 3598, 3611. VA incorporated these changes

in its regulation regarding automobiles and adaptive equipment, 38 CFR

3.808, by final rulemaking published August 8, 2006, at 71 FR 44915. We

now propose to amend Sec. Sec. 3.809 and 3.809a to reflect the

statutory changes.

VA believes that Congress intended the reference in 38 U.S.C.

1151©(1) to ``Chapter 21, relating to specially adapted housing,'' to

include both specially adapted housing under 38 U.S.C. 2101(a) and

special home adaptation grants under 38 U.S.C. 2101(b), based upon the

following analysis. The comma between ``Chapter 21'' and ``relating to

specially adapted housing'' in section 1151©(1) suggests that the

latter phrase is intended merely to describe the content of the chapter

rather than to impose a limitation referring to specific provisions in

the chapter. In fact, the heading for chapter 21 of title 38, United

States Code, which includes both the provisions authorizing specially

adapted housing and the provisions authorizing special home adaptation

grants, was, when Public Law 108-454 amended section 1151, and still is

``Specially Adapted Housing for Disabled Veterans.'' Clearly, Congress

intended the phrase ``specially adapted housing'' to comprise both

benefits. Also, it is a rule of statutory construction that statutory

provisions are to be read together. See, e.g., Coit Independence Joint

Venture v. Fed. Sav. & Loan Ins. Corp., 489 U.S. 561, 573 (1989). In

addition to adding subsection © to 38 U.S.C. 1151, section 304 of the

Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 added paragraph (2) to 38

U.S.C. 1151(b), which refers to chapter 21 benefits generally. Reading

section 1151(b)(2) and © together, we interpret the reference in

section 1151©(1) to include all chapter 21 benefits, i.e., special

home adaptation grants as well as specially adapted housing.

As stated, section 304© of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act

of 2004 amended 38 U.S.C. 1151(b) by adding paragraph (2). New section

1151(b)(2) provides that, if a judgment, settlement, or compromise of a

claim includes an amount specifically designated for a purpose for

which benefits are provided under chapter 21 or 39 of title 38, United

States Code, and after the judgment, settlement, or compromise becomes

final, VA awards benefits under chapter 21 or 39 for the purpose for

which the amount was designated, VA must reduce the amount of the

chapter 21 or 39 benefits payable by the amount specifically designated

for these purposes in the judgment, settlement, or compromise. Section

1151(b)(2) applies to a judgment, settlement, or compromise that became

final on or after December 10, 2004. Section 1151(b)(2) also requires

that, if the specifically designated amount received as a result of the

judgment, settlement, or compromise is greater than the amount of the

chapter 21 or 39 benefits awarded, the excess amount received will be

offset against benefits otherwise payable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.

In a final rulemaking published August 8, 2006, at 71 FR 44915, VA

incorporated these statutory changes for chapter 39 benefits by

amending 38 CFR 3.362, Offset under 38 U.S.C. 1151(b) of benefits

awarded under 38 U.S.C. 1151(a), for claims filed on or after October

1, 1997, and by amending 38 CFR 3.800, Disability or death due to

hospitalization, etc., for claims filed before October 1, 1997. We now

propose to amend Sec. Sec. 3.362(e) and 3.800(a)(4) to reflect the

statutory changes regarding chapter 21 benefits. We additionally

propose to expand current references to ``chapter 39'' in Sec. Sec.

3.362(e) and 3.800(a)(4) to ``38 U.S.C. chapter 39'' for the purposes

of clarity and consistency. We intend no substantive change with this

proposed amendment.

[[Page 67147]]

Loss, or Loss of Use, of Upper Extremities

Section 401 of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004

amended 38 U.S.C. 2101, authorizing specially adapted housing and home

adaptation grants for disabled veterans and active duty service

members, by adding ``the loss, or loss of use, of both upper

extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at or above the

elbows'' as a qualifying disability under 38 U.S.C. 2101(a). We propose

to amend Sec. 3.809 by adding Sec. 3.809(b)(5) to reflect the

amendment to section 2101.

Typographical Error

We propose to amend paragraph (4) of Sec. 3.809(b) by correcting a

typographical error in the current phrase ``loss of loss of use''. The

phrase throughout paragraph (4) should read ``loss or loss of use''. We

additionally propose to amend paragraphs (3) and (4) of Sec. 3.809(b)

by removing the periods at the end of those paragraphs and replacing

them with ``, or''. Section 2101(a) provides eligibility for veterans

with disability that meets any of the criteria listed in section

2101(a)(2)(A) through (E). The current omission of an ``or'' at the end

of Sec. 3.809(b)(3) is an unintentional typographical error. Our

amendments will adequately reflect the statute, and we intend no

substantive change.

Loan Guaranty Service

Section 101(b) of the Veterans' Housing Opportunity and Benefits

Improvement Act of 2006 amended 38 U.S.C. 2102 to allow three separate

grants of assistance under chapter 21. Prior to the amendment, the

benefit was a one-time benefit. We would also remove from Sec. Sec.

3.809 and 3.809a the provisions regarding how often the benefit is

available. Specially adapted housing and special home adaptation grants

are administered by VA's Loan Guaranty Service, although the Loan

Guaranty Service relies on the Veterans Service Centers' determinations

of disability to determine eligibility. There is currently a cross-

reference in Sec. 3.809 to the Loan Guaranty Service regulations

regarding specially adapted housing. We propose to add this same cross-

reference to Sec. 3.809a. We believe that a cross-reference to the

more comprehensive regulations pertaining to Specially Adapted Housing

is appropriate here.

Severe Burns

Section 2603 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

amended 38 U.S.C. 2101 by adding ``a severe burn injury'' to the list

of qualifying disabilities for specially adapted housing and special

home adaptation. The specific type of burn injury is to be determined

by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. We further propose to amend

Sec. Sec. 3.809 and 3.809a to comply with 38 U.S.C. 2101.

The skin provides protection against fluid and electrolyte loss,

infection, and radiation, and also provides thermal regulation. Through

skin contact, an individual is able to obtain information about the

surrounding environment via touch, perception of temperature, and pain.

In addition, skin appearance affects identity and interpersonal

interactions.

The skin is composed of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis.

The major functions of the epidermis are to keep fluid in and protect

against infection. The dermis provides the strength and flexibility of

the skin. It also has the vascular and neural plexus. The vascular

plexus is vital for temperature control, and the neural plexus gives

the skin the ability to sense the environment.

There are five types of burns defined by the amount of damage to

the epidermis and dermis. Our proposed amendment would not include

superficial or superficial partial burns because they heal without

residuals. The remaining types of burns are deep partial, full-

thickness, and subdermal. For the reasons outlined below, we propose to

consider these types of burns to allow eligibility for specially

adapted housing.

In the deep partial burn, there is complete destruction of the

epidermis and severe damage to the dermal layer. Healing occurs with

hypertrophic scars and keloids.

In the full-thickness burn, there is complete destruction of the

epidermis and dermis; there may also be some damage to the underlying

subcutaneous fat layer. Skin grafts are necessary for this type of

burn.

In the subdermal burn, there is complete destruction from the

epidermis down to and including the subcutaneous fat. In addition,

muscle and bone may be damaged. Extensive surgery is required for this

type of burn including the possibility of amputation.

The skin that has experienced the types of burns defined above

(deep partial, full-thickness, and subdermal) is never restored to

normal. Scar epithelium (skin) is thin, fragile, and prone to chronic

ulceration. Scars resulting from these burns cause disfigurement.

Residuals of these scars include loss of sweat gland function and nail

growth, pigment formation, sensory changes, physical limitations such

as cold and heat intolerance, difficulty with sun exposure, altered

sensation, and painful scars. Skin grafts have the same abnormalities.

The most frequent cause of impairment is burn scar contracture.

This residual prohibits movement of a joint in its normal range of

motion and influences not only the underlying joint but also the

adjacent joints. Burn scar contracture is not only limited to the

extremities but can occur as a result of burns to the trunk, resulting

in postural or respiratory impairments.

VA worked with military hospital resources to assess burn

disabilities for adaptive housing. In doing so, we have determined that

a severe burn injury is considered at least a deep partial thickness

burn. After a burn of at least this depth heals, the skin is no longer

capable of its normal function, requiring housing adaptation such as

temperature control and modified handles. Burns that are less severe

heal without scarring.

Our proposed amendments would provide that, for specially adapted

housing in Sec. 3.809, the criteria for eligibility are that the

veteran or active duty service member must have full thickness or

subdermal burns that have resulted in contractures with limitation of

motion of two or more extremities or of at least one extremity and the

trunk.

For special home adaptation grants under Sec. 3.809a, the proposed

eligibility criteria are that the veteran or active duty service member

must have deep partial thickness burns that have resulted in

contractures with limitation of motion of two or more extremities or of

at least one extremity and the trunk, full thickness or subdermal burns

that have resulted in contracture(s) with limitation of motion of one

or more extremities or the trunk, or residuals of an inhalation injury

(including, but not limited to, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and chronic

obstructive pulmonary disease).

We are proposing the additional eligibility criterion of residuals

of an inhalation injury for special home adaptation grants under Sec.

3.809a because inhalation injuries can result from the same incidents

that cause severe burns. Inhalation injury is due to breathing steam or

toxic inhalants such as fumes, gases, and mists present in a fire

environment. Toxic inhalants comprise a variety of noxious gases and

particulate matter that are capable of producing local irritation,

asphyxiation, and systemic toxicity. The Washington Manual of Medical

Therapeutics 752 (Wash. U. of St. Louis, 32d ed. 2007).

Some examples of toxic inhalants are acrolein, chlorine, phosgene,

and

[[Page 67148]]

nitrogen dioxide. Inhalation injuries can occur with or without burns

to the skin. However, a significant number of individuals with burns to

the skin also have inhalation injury, and the presence of inhalation

injury is a determinant of mortality. Inhalation injury can cause long-

term respiratory complications, including, but not limited to,

pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,

requiring home adaptation. The specific residuals of such injury would

determine the level of home adaptation. Residuals of inhalation injury

would be rated under the predominant disability and its evaluative

criteria.

Authority Citations

We additionally propose to amend the authority citations in

Sec. Sec. 3.809 and 3.809a to move the authority citations to the end

of each section and ensure the citations are the correct authority for

the regulatory provisions.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This document contains no provisions constituting a collection of

information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule will not

have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small

entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5

U.S.C. 601-612. This proposed rule would not affect any small entities.

Only VA beneficiaries could be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant

to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this proposed rule is exempt from the initial and

final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and

604.

Executive Order 12866

Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and

benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is

necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits

(including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety,

and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The Executive

Order classifies a ``significant regulatory action,'' requiring review

by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as any regulatory action

that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect

on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a

material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity,

competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State,

local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious

inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by

another agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of

entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and

obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy

issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or

the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy

implications of this proposed rule have been examined, and it has been

determined to be a significant regulatory action under the Executive

Order because it is likely to result in a rule that may raise novel

legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's

priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C.

1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and

benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by

State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the

private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for

inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule would have no such

effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private

sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers and Titles

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and

titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.106, Specially

Adapted Housing for Disabled Veterans; and 64.109, Veterans

Compensation for Service-Connected Disability.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3

Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Disability benefits,

Health care, Pensions, Radioactive materials, Veterans, Vietnam.

Approved: October 26, 2009.

John R. Gingrich,

Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.

For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38

CFR part 3 as follows:

PART 3--ADJUDICATION

Subpart A-Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity

Compensation

1. The authority citation for part 3, subpart A continues to read

as follows:

Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.

2. Revise Sec. 3.362(e) to read as follows:

Sec. 3.362 Offsets under 38 U.S.C. 1151(b) of benefits awarded under

38 U.S.C. 1151(a).

* * * * *

(e) Offset of award of benefits under 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38

U.S.C. chapter 39. (1) If a judgment, settlement, or compromise covered

in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section becomes final on or after

December 10, 2004, and includes an amount that is specifically

designated for a purpose for which benefits are provided under 38

U.S.C. chapter 21 (38 CFR 3.809 and 3.809a) or 38 U.S.C. chapter 39 (38

CFR 3.808), and if VA awards 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38 U.S.C. chapter

39 benefits after the date on which the judgment, settlement, or

compromise becomes final, the amount of the award will be reduced by

the amount received under the judgment, settlement, or compromise for

the same purpose.

(2) If the amount described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section is

greater than the amount of an award under 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38

U.S.C. chapter 39, the excess amount received under the judgment,

settlement, or compromise will be offset against benefits otherwise

payable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1151)

3. Revise Sec. 3.800(a)(4) to read as follows:

Sec. 3.800 Disability or death due to hospitalization, etc.

* * * * *

(a) * * *

(4) Offset of award of benefits under 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38

U.S.C. chapter 39. (i) If a judgment, settlement, or compromise covered

by paragraph (a)(2) of this section becomes final on or after December

10, 2004, and includes an amount that is specifically designated for a

purpose for which benefits are provided under 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 (38

CFR 3.809 and 3.809a) or 38 U.S.C. chapter 39 (38 CFR 3.808), and if VA

awards 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38 U.S.C. chapter 39 benefits after the

date on which the judgment, settlement, or compromise becomes final,

the amount of the award will be reduced by the amount received under

the judgment, settlement, or compromise for the same purpose.

(ii) If the amount described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section

is greater than the amount of an award under 38 U.S.C. chapter 21 or 38

U.S.C. chapter 39, the excess amount received under the judgment,

settlement, or

[[Page 67149]]

compromise will be offset against benefits otherwise payable under 38

U.S.C. chapter 11.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2))

* * * * *

4. Amend Sec. 3.809 by:

a. In the section introductory text, removing ``38 U.S.C. 2101(a)''

and adding, in its place ``38 U.S.C. 2101(a) or 2101A(a)'' and by

removing ``veteran'' and adding, in its place, ``veteran or a member of

the Armed Forces serving on active duty'';

b. Revising paragraph (a);

c. Revising paragraph (b) introductory text;

d. In paragraph (b)(3), removing ``wheelchair.'' and adding, in its

place, ``wheelchair, or'';

e. In paragraph (b)(4), removing ``with the loss of loss of use''

and adding, in its place, ``with the loss or loss of use'' and removing

``wheelchair.'' and adding, in its place, ``wheelchair, or'';

f. Adding paragraphs (b)(5) and (b)(6);

g. Removing paragraph ©;

h. Redesignating paragraph (d) as new paragraph ©; and

i. Revising the authority citation at the end of the section.

The revisions and additions read as follows:

Sec. 3.809 Specially adapted housing under 38 U.S.C. 2101(a).

* * * * *

(a) Eligibility. A veteran must have had active military, naval, or

air service after April 20, 1898. Benefits are not restricted to

veterans with wartime service. On or after December 16, 2003, the

benefit under this section is also available to a member of the Armed

Forces serving on active duty.

(b) Disability. A member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty

must have a disability that was incurred or aggravated in line of duty

in active military, naval, or air service. A veteran must be entitled

to compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code, for a

disability rated as permanent and total. In either case, the disability

must be due to:

* * * * *

(5) The loss or loss of use of both upper extremities such as to

preclude use of the arms at or above the elbow, or

(6) Full thickness or subdermal burns that have resulted in

contractures with limitation of motion of two or more extremities or of

at least one extremity and the trunk.

* * * * *

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1151©(1), 2101, 2101A).

5. Amend Sec. 3.809a by:

a. In the section introductory text, removing ``38 U.S.C. 2101(b)''

and adding, in its place ``38 U.S.C. 2101(b) or 2101A(a)'' and by

removing ``April 20, 1898,'' and adding, in its place, ``April 20,

1898, or to a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who is

eligible for the benefit under this section on or after December 16,

2003,''.

b. Removing the authority citation after the section introductory

text.

c. In paragraph (a), removing ``veteran'' each place it appears and

adding, in each place, ``member of the Armed Forces serving on active

duty or veteran'' and by removing the last sentence of paragraph (a).

d. Revising paragraph (b).

e. Removing paragraph ©.

f. Revising the authority citation at the end of the section.

g. Adding a cross-reference immediately after the authority

citation at the end of the section.

The revision and addition read as follows:

Sec. 3.809a Special home adaptation grants under 38 U.S.C. 2101(b).

* * * * *

(b) A member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty must have a

disability that was incurred or aggravated in line of duty in active

military, naval, or air service. A veteran must be entitled to

compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code, for a

disability rated as permanent and total. In either case, the disability

must:

(1) Include the anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands, or

(2) Be due to:

(i) Blindness in both eyes with 5/200 visual acuity or less, or

(ii) Deep partial thickness burns that have resulted in

contractures with limitation of motion of two or more extremities or of

at least one extremity and the trunk, or

(iii) Full thickness or subdermal burns that have resulted in

contracture(s) with limitation of motion of one or more extremities or

the trunk, or

(iv) Residuals of an inhalation injury (including, but not limited

to, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary

disease).

* * * * *

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1151©(1), 2101, 2101A, 2104).

Cross-Reference: Assistance to certain disabled veterans in

acquiring specially adapted housing. See Sec. Sec. 36.4400 through

36.4410 of this chapter.

[FR Doc. E9-30096 Filed 12-17-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8320-01-P

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      • 20 replies
    • If you are a Veteran, represented by MOPH, you need to know that MOPH is closing down its offices.  This can have a drastic effect on your claim, and it wont be good for you.  You likely need to get a new representative.  

      This station confirms MOPH is closing its doors:

      http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Waco--Purple-Heart-veterans-service-center-to-close-its-doors-480422933.html

       
      • 0 replies
    • Retroactive Back Pay.
      Retroactive Back Pay - #1Viewed Post Week of March 19. 2018

      My claim is scheduled to close tomorrow for my backpay.
      Does anyone know if it does close how long till the backpay hits the bank?
      Also does information only get updated on our claims whenever the site is down?
      • 44 replies
    • Examining your service medical records...
      * First thing I do after receiving a service medical record is number each page when I get to the end I go back and add 1 of 100 and so on.

      * Second I then make a copy of my service medical records on a different color paper, yellow or buff something easy to read, but it will distinguish it from the original.

      * I then put my original away and work off the copy.

      * Now if you know the specific date it's fairly easy to find. 

      * If on the other hand you don't know specifically or you had symptoms leading up to it. Well this may take some detective work and so Watson the game is afoot.

      * Let's say it's Irritable Syndrome 

      * I would start page by page from page 1, if the first thing I run across an entry that supports my claim for IBS, I number it #1, I Bracket it in Red, and then on a separate piece of paper I start to compile my medical evidence log. So I would write Page 10 #1 and a brief summary of the evidence, do this has you go through all the your medical records and when you are finished you will have an index and easy way to find your evidence. 

      Study your diagnosis symptoms look them up. Check common medications for your IBS and look for the symptoms noted in your evidence that seem to point to IBS, if your doctor prescribes meds for IBS, but doesn't call it that make those a reference also.
      • 9 replies
    • How to get your questions answered on the forum
      Do not post your question in someone else's thread. If you are reading a topic that sounds similar to your question, start a new topic and post your question. When you add your question to a topic someone else started both your questions get lost in the thread. So best to start your own thread so you can follow your question and the other member can follow theirs.

      All VA Claims questions should be posted on our forums. Read the forums without registering, to post you must register it’s free. Register for a free account.

      Tips on posting on the forums.

      Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery” instead of ‘I have a question’.


      Knowledgable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title. I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.


      Use paragraphs instead of one huge, rambling introduction or story. Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.



      Leading to:

      Post clear questions and then give background info on them.



      Examples:

      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?



      I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine but claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?




      B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?


      I was involved in traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?





      This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial from your claim?” etc.

      Note:

      Your firsts posts on the board may be delayed before they show up, as they are reviewed, this process does not take long and the review requirement will be removed usually by the 6th post, though we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.

      This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before they hit the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims and this helps us do that.
      • 2 replies
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