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  1. So today my Vertigo claim status on Ebenefits moved to Pending Approval with an estimated completion range of Dec 28, 2018-Jan 8, 2019. As always these statuses mean squat as they can change. What I am monitoring will be the effects on the timeliness of our monthly checks and if the status extends past the dates listed. The VA is funded but the Treasury isn't and it is the Treasury that processes our checks out through the ACH to our banks and also prints any physical checks. In one of our past shutdowns I had a few days delay in a payment not related to the VA. The only department (involved in my payment) that was affected by that shutdown was the Treasury. They literally did not have enough people left to "push the button" on each of the transfer batches in their queues when the shutdown occurred. The money was pushed out about 3 days late if I remember correctly. Based on what I know and feel about the existing vertigo claim and what is in my cfile for the last 5 years on the subject, i suspect I will either be flat out denied (and have to fight) or be rated as Meniere's disease and at a high percent. Since I am already 100% on a single isssue, 60% or higher on Vertigo would/should move me to SMC S and if that happens the issue about the timing of our checks becomes more interesting. Personally I won't suffer if our checks are delay a few months, but so many other veterans will be harmed that even contemplating a negative effect of a shutdown is just disgusting. Once again "hurry up and wait" has affected my life and I can do nothing but find patience.
  2. Student Loan Disability Forgiveness for Disability (Changes) Please check out HR1, the new Tax Law just signed by President Trump. It appears, that if you have your student loans forgiven for being permanently disabled, the income tax liability has been removed. An copy of the law from the text of the new law is provided below. I do not claim to be an attorney, so please interpret it for yourself. PART IV—EDUCATION SEC. 11031. TREATMENT OF STUDENT LOANS DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF DEATH OR DISABILITY. (a) In General.—Section 108(f) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: “(5) DISCHARGES ON ACCOUNT OF DEATH OR DISABILITY.— “(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an individual, gross income does not include any amount which (but for this subsection) would be includible in gross income for such taxable year by reasons of the discharge (in whole or in part) of any loan described in subparagraph (B) after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, if such discharge was— “(i) pursuant to subsection (a) or (d) of section 437 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 or the parallel benefit under part D of title IV of such Act (relating to the repayment of loan liability), “(ii) pursuant to section 464(c)(1)(F) of such Act, or “(iii) otherwise discharged on account of the death or total and permanent disability of the student. “(B) LOANS DESCRIBED.—A loan is described in this subparagraph if such loan is— “(i) a student loan (as defined in paragraph (2)), or “(ii) a private education loan (as defined in section 140(7) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1650(7))).”. (b) Effective Date.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to discharges of indebtedness after December 31, 2017.
  3. I'll try to make this short, but my blood is boiling after receiving this bill, so excuse me if I go off on a rant. . 09/27/13 - Social Security makes a decision that I'm 100% disabled. They give me a lump sum check for time they said I should have received from SSDI, and I start getting a check each month. Of course, immediately upon receiving the check, every city, county, state, and federal agency/office/what-have-you wants part of it. I do my duty and pay all my "debts." I have been receiving VA medical care since about 2008. Before then, I didn't even know I was eligible, or that there was such a thing, until I needed a medication I could afford, applied through the pharmaceutical company for help, and they told me I was eligible for VA medical and needed to apply to VA to get it. I didn't believe them and thought they were wasting time. Turns out I was eligible, and had been since 1982, but was never told that. When I got out, I got my honorable discharge papers, a certificate for a VA home loan, and a swift kick in the butt. Since I've been getting VA medical care, I had never received a bill for medication nor for outpatient visits, etc., until about 6 months ago. That's when they started sending me outrageous bills for prescriptions. When I couldn't afford to pay the bills, they went to the Treasury Department and had them take it out of my SSDI checks, to the tune of over $100 a month! (If all you have is SSDI, you already know that you're only one step away from being homeless.) I told my doctor to cut off all my meds; that I wasn't going to take any of them anymore, because it was going to drive me into homelessness! Of course, he freaked out, but I meant it. So, he sends me to a VA Social Worker who helps me fill out another Means Test and a request for a waiver of the prescription bill. VA only waived part of the prescription bill, and I can't pay it. If I don't pay it, they will have the Treasury take it from me again, and I'll have other things that don't get paid because of it. While I had a phone, and was talking to VA about the Means Test, they wanted to re-visit the onset of my SSDI checks, and that lump sum everybody had been chipping away at. One lady, very rudely told me that they were going to take another look at my means tests and may, in fact, charge me for all of the services I had gotten from VA because of that lump sum. I told the lady that I had put everything, truthfully, on every means test I have ever done, and that all my SSDI payments were on the Means Tests. Not only that, but they get reports from the IRS about all of our tax returns! So where is the problem? Is there a problem? It's not like this lump sum from SSDI was a million dollars or anything even remotely close to that! Not only that, but part of the reason I am so FUBAR'd now is because VA messed me around for 7 years on getting a knee replacement that they admitted I needed, back in 2008! 7 years, I fought with anybody and everybody at the Cheyenne VAMC and the Fort Collins and Greeley clinics! I even got my Congressman involved (though that didn't do much good). The only thing that got the VA moving on my knee, was when they got exposed for letting all those people die down in Arizona, because of lying about patient appointment times, waitlists, and waitlists for waitlists, WHICH, I was subjected to -- the "radar" or the "waitlist for the waitlist" as I was told. Only when VA got exposed nationally, and in the media, did the suddenly decide I could get my knee replaced at a civilian hospital -- so, on 9/16/2014, I finally got my knee replaced. Now, I also applied for VA Disability (they call it compensation, I think). I didn't think I qualified to do that either, so you see, I am not trying to take advantage. I always assume that I'm not qualified for anything, or I don't even know about it, and no one cares, so I should just shut up. But while the Vet's office at the local workforce center was trying to help me find a job (while I was all crippled up, and had been on crutches for years), they started talking to me about the physical things that are wrong with me and when those happened. They decided that I should file a Disability Claim through VA. They even helped with navigate through it and filled it out for me, while I was sitting there. A year and a half, or so, later, of course, VA denied everything in my claim. They said that, since I couldn't show a "continuity of care" for any of my claim items, they didn't exist, I guess. Of course, that's a bunch of bull-oney, because if your younger, have no health care for a period of time, and something is physically bothering you, you just tough it out because you can't afford to go to the doctor. That's what really happened. It didn't go away, I just couldn't afford to get medical attention. And, surprise! That's why I am disabled today! When you don't, or can't take care of yourself when you need to, it catches up to you when you get old. Go figure! So, my response to the rejection of the claim was to feel like my time in the service didn't matter to them, and that their lawyers were going to eat me alive if I even attempted to appeal. (Obviously, I can't afford a lawyer... I'm on SSDI!) So, even though I know, and VA knows for a fact that I was injured while on active duty (I kept copies of my active duty medical file), VA insists that those things never happened. So, VA is denying that I got hurt while on active duty, never notified me that I was eligible for VA healthcare until I found out by accident in 2008, I've been living below the poverty level since 2005, I'm 100% disabled, and the first time I get any extra money, VA decides to, retroactively charge me for all my doctor's visits for a whole year, and the hospitalization for my knee replacement, oh, and my prescriptions! I can't make ends meet now, and have to sell my plasma twice a week, to try to make ends meet, and each month, fall short. It's a never-ending cycle of stress, and now, VA wants me to pay them about $2,000??? Where in the world am I going to get the money to pay for that? I rarely leave my house as it is now, because I have no money... what do they want? My left arm? They say you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, but the VA can and will! They will go through the Treasury and take it out of my SSDI and make me fall short on all my other bills. What am I supposed to do about this? It's not like I can go get a 2nd or 3rd job, like I used to! Can someone please help with me some information about this? I don't even have a phone to call them! I can't even afford that!
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